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Is Canned Chicken Already Cooked?

Is Canned Chicken Already Cooked?

Canned chicken is one of the best convenience foods on the planet. Canned chicken makes it easier to get dinner on the table. However, is canned chicken cooked, or is it raw? 

Is Canned Chicken Real Chicken?

There is a common assumption about canned meats, chicken included. Some people believe canned chicken isn’t real chicken. However, canned chicken is real chicken.

Unless it explicitly says canned chicken breast, canned chicken usually features white or dark meat or a combination of the two. 

If you are still unsure whether canned chicken is real, you can check the ingredient list on the back of the canned chick to see if the ingredient list contains chicken. 

Is Canned Chicken Already Cooked?

Yes, canned chicken is already cooked. Generally, the chicken is already cooked before it goes into the can. 

The cooked chicken is packed in water. There are two methods for canning chicken: hot packing and raw packing. 

Hot packing canned chicken involves placing the cooked chicken into jars. The chicken is simmered in water, broth, or another liquid before being canned. 

Most of the container is mainly filled with chicken, but some space is between the top of the can or jar and the chicken. Next, hot water or syrup is added to eliminate any remaining air, and the containers are sealed.  

The canned chicken is then placed into a pressure canner and heated to sterilize the chicken. The pressure canner extends the shelf life of the chicken and reduces the chances of the chicken spoiling. 

In contrast, the raw pack method may also be called the cold pack method. Cold packing chicken involves placing cubed or sliced raw chicken into canning containers. 

Water or syrup is added to the chicken once the containers are mostly full. The canning containers are then sealed and placed into a pressure canner. The canned chicken is then processed until it is cooked thoroughly. 

The only downside of raw packing canned chicken is that it will have more air bubbles.

In addition to this, the chicken at the top of the can may change colors, or its flavor may change due to its exposure to air. Nevertheless, the canned chicken will still be safe to eat. 

It’s only natural to wonder if raw packed canned chicken is fully cooked. The USDA mandates that all canned chicken be completely cooked. So, whether you are eating cold-packed or hot-packed chicken, it is fully cooked and safe to eat. 

How To Store Canned Chicken 

Canned chicken can be stored along with your other canned goods. However, it’s best to keep canned chicken in a place that’s not too hot or too cold. 

Ultimately, it’s best to store the canned chicken in a cool, dry area. This will prevent the cans from getting rusty. 

For example, the pantry or the basement are ideal environments for storing canned chicken. However, you can also keep canned chicken on a countertop. It should be fine if the canned chicken is not next to the stove or air conditioner. 

How To Store Opened Canned Chicken

Once you open the canned chicken, it drastically shortens its shelf life of the chicken.

Essentially the chicken is just like any other meat and becomes much more likely to spoil if it is not stored correctly. 

Place the canned chicken into an airtight container or ziplock bag. Once the can is opened, do not leave the canned chicken in it. The plastics from the seals can leach any chicken that comes into contact with it. 

Furthermore, storing chicken in an open can may cause its flavor and texture to change. Therefore, once you open the chicken, remove the chicken from the can immediately. 

Opened canned chicken cannot be stored at room temperature. The canned chicken must be stored in a cool environment.

Therefore, it’s best to keep opened canned chicken in the fridge for 1-2 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months. 

If you are freezing the canned chicken, make sure you label the package with today’s date and the words ‘canned chicken’ before placing it in the fridge.

This way, you won’t have to guess what’s in the package. 

How Long Does Canned Chicken Last 

Usually, chicken left at room temperature for more than two hours would be filled with too many bacteria, makings it unsafe to eat. However, canned chicken is different. 

Canning chicken creates an airtight seal, and it protects the chicken from bacteria that can contaminate it.

This allows the canned chicken to last for a long time instead of 1-2 days in the refrigerator. 

The chicken will not spoil until you open it due to the canning process. Once the canned chicken is opened, it will only last for 1-2 days. 

How To Tell If Canned Chicken Is Bad

The appearance and odor are the best determinants of whether canned chicken is spoiled or good.

If the canned chicken has an unpleasant, rancid odor or it looks unappetizing, it is rotten and must be thrown in the trash

If the canned chicken has mold, it should also be tossed in the trash. In addition to this, discard all leaking, bulging, dented, or rust cans of canned chicken into the garbage. 

Although you may think the chicken inside of the cans is still good, the can’s seal may be broken, and the chicken may be unsafe to eat.

For example, if a can of chicken is rusty, the rust could create little holes that let bacteria in, depending on the severity. Therefore, you should toss all damaged cans of chicken in the trash. 

Final Thoughts

Canned chicken is the underdog. Most people prefer cooked chicken, but canned chicken can make your life easier. 

Not only is canned chicken super easy to prepare, but it is delicious and tasty. Best of all, you don’t even have to cook it.

It’s already cooked. So, if you’re feeling lazy, you can crack the can open and eat the chicken straight from the pan.