Wondering if the cooked chicken in your fridge is still edible? Here's how long it will last

·3 min read

Ever wondered how long the chicken you spent all that time and effort cooking would last?

While red meat and poultry have been going head-to-head for the top spot in the fight for the most consumed meat in United States, chicken is the clear winner, according to a study by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The increase in chicken consumption can be attributed to the increased availability of the meat over the years. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 65.2 pounds of chicken per person were available for Americans to eat in 2018, compared with 54.6 pounds of beef.

Here are some food storage guidelines for the next time you make that ravishing chicken dinner.

A dish made of cooked chicken and almonds.
A dish made of cooked chicken and almonds.

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How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?

USDA suggests that any cooked leftovers including chicken be consumed within three to four days, given the chicken has been refrigerated at 40°F or less during those days.

The risk of bacterial growth is imminent if the chicken goes over three or four days in the fridge. There are two types of bacteria that can cause your food to “go bad” – one is pathogenic bacteria which causes food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses while the other is spoilage bacteria which causes the food to have unpleasant taste, appearance and smell like the name suggests.

It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food that you’re putting in your body. USDA suggests never to taste food to determine whether it’s spoiled.

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How long does cooked chicken last in the freezer?

Cooked chicken can last up to four months in the freezer if the chicken has been kept frozen continuously.

If the chicken is covered in broth or gravy, the dish can be frozen for about six months, according to USDA. And if it’s chicken nuggets or patties, USDA recommends one to three months.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How long does cooked chicken last in your fridge or freezer