How Long Can Chicken Sit Out- All You Need To Know

Chicken is the most common meat in almost all houses over the world. Almost everyone eats chicken at least once a week. As we use this protein almost every week that is why we should know how long chicken sits out for ourselves, and how long it is good for our family’s health.

So let’s see how long can chicken sit out.

We can only keep chicken in the fridge for a certain amount of time before it starts spoiling, it doesn’t matter the chicken is cooked or uncooked. Once the chicken starts spoiling without any doubt it is totally unsafe to eat.


How Long Can Chicken Sit Out


How long chicken can sit out

Usually, more than 2 hours of chicken should not sit out. Moreover, we should throw away cooked or uncooked meat if the meat is outside for more than 2 hours at room temperature. If the room temperature is 90 degrees or warmer, then the chicken should not sit for more than 1 hour because, the bacteria in the chicken release toxins. That is why the 2-hour rule is applicable.

Should We Toss Chicken Or Keep It

We all know that meats are perishable food, that is why chicken has to be preserved in an accurate way otherwise, it will no longer be viable for cooking or eating. It doesn’t matter the chicken is raw or cooked, food may already be contaminated by harmful bacteria long before its scent indicates spoilage.


How Long Can Chicken Sit Out


If any perishable food cooked or raw is outside at room temperature for more than two hours, then according to the rule the food should be thrown away. However, we should also remember that if the food is left in a warmer environment then this window of time is shorter.  Before purchasing the food we should always pay attention to the date on the package, not just sell by the date.


Can we eat chicken that was left outside overnight?

If your chicken was outside overnight then it is not safe to eat. It may harm you and your family. We often tempted to just cook it or reheat but the true fact is we can never know that how many bacterias have multiplied during the food was outside the whole night. As we know that those bacteria release toxins, you may think that you can destroy them by reheating them on the stove, but it never works. The toxins are still active enough to herm your stomach.


How Long Can Chicken Sit Out


It is a common incident that we often forget to put our food on the fridge after dinner and we fall to sleep, and when we get up from bed then reheat and eat that food, but it does not work that way. Reheated food may cause stomach pain and food poisoning. But if you properly store it, then reheating is not a problem. You will get a taste of freshly cooked chicken then.

How long you can keep cooked chicken at room temperature 

Usually, cooked chicken can sit outside for about 2 hours. However, if the temp is beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit,  it would be best if you leave it out for no more than one hour. If your cooked chicken is outside for more than two hours then you should throw it away for safety.

As we know now chicken or any food should not keep outside open all over the night. Now let’s see how long exactly we can keep outside cooked chicken at room temperature.

According to the USDA basically the range of temperature that is the most dangerous for food that is left out in the open.  The specific temperature range that is harmful is between 40 F to 140 F.


How Long Can Chincken Sit Out


How Long Can Frozen Chicken Sit Out

Generally, frozen chicken also can not sit out more than two hours as cooked or uncooked chicken. For safety, you can use a thermometer to check the chicken’s temperature.  If you see that the temp is below 45 f then the chicken is good to use.

If you keep your chicken inside a sealed container while out, there is a chance that the chicken is still good to go after a couple of hours. But remember that if the temperature is too hot then the chicken would not be good for use after a few hours.


Can We Left Chicken Out Overnight To Thaw

We should never be left out chicken overnight to thaw. Even frozen food can not be left out for more than two hours. We should always put thaw meat in the refrigerator, just take them out of the freezer. Before cooking the thawed meat we can put them outside to sit for around 20-30 minutes.


How Long Can Chincken Sit Out



Temperature is always an important factor for keeping or storing food to use later. Because it plays a big role in how soon spoilage can set in. Many of us want to store excess meat and use them after a couple of days. If you also want to use them after a few days then you should keep the meat in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you leave the chicken above 40-degree Fahrenheit it exposes to different bacterias. Also, leaving chicken meat or any protein for many hours on your kitchen counter then it can spread many bacterias there. Your kitchen counter would become an unhealthy place to prepare food for your family.

Any food that is outside of the fridge for more than 2 hours, is not safe to eat. During the hot summer days if we left out the chicken at normal room temperature cooked or uncooked can turn into bad in less than 2 hours.

In this case, 2 hours rule may not work that is why if you have any doubt then you should not take any risk by cooking it. We should always keep in our mind that food is highly susceptible to going bad at temperatures higher than 90  degrees Fahrenheit.


Refrigeration and freezing the chicken

Usually, the raw meat of a chicken can sit out for two days in the refrigerator. If your chicken is in the refrigerator for more than 2 days then it may get spoil and that protein may already be exposed to bacteria. It is better to throw it away.

On the other hand, cooked chicken can last long in the refrigerator for about three days. If the cooked chicken is longer than this then it would be unsafe to eat. If you can not cook your chicken, then I would suggest you put your raw whole chicken in the freezer. Raw chicken can last long for at least 1 year in the freezer. On the other hand, chicken cutlets can stay frozen for about 9 months.


How Long Can Chicken Sit Out


Cooked leftover chicken can stay for two to six months in the freezer. These will not also taste the same and good once deforested. That is why I would suggest you frizz your leftover foods only when it is necessary. But if you do so, keep it for a shorter period of time.


What happens when we eat rotten poultry

It is quite tough to guess that cooked chicken has gone bad because it does not give clear cues. Sometimes they do not always have a bad smell or visual signs. For safety, it would be best to throw away the chicken or other meat if you have doubts that they have left out for a long time.

Because if you eat rotten meat, it can lead to serious health problems like stomach pain, joint pains, fever, etc. These health problems are caused by bacteria pseudomonas, which is specially responsible for food spoilage.

Other health problems like vomiting, urinary tract infection, and nausea can be caused by bacteria putrefactions if you eat rotten meat. You may also get infected by salmonella bacteria. It can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting. Sometimes eating bad meat can cause kidney failure which can cause by E Coli.


How Long Can Chicken Sit Out


Tips to avoid buying rotten chicken

Sometimes by mistake, we buy rotten meats from the market and bring that unhealthy chicken to our home. This is just nothing but a waste of money. That is why today I will tell you some tips so that you can avoid this mistake.

As usual, 2 hours rule and proper storing may not work always, you may still end up with rotten meat. These things can happen at the grocery that is why you may purchase rotten meat.

At first, always make sure that packing is intact and it does not have any leaks or tears. Then check the expiry date and make sure that the chicken has been refrigerated properly. Examine the meat properly and make sure that it does not give an off odor or have slime formation.


How Long Can Chincken Sit Out


You can also buy chicken from reputable distributors or markets. You should always cook the chicken or other protein above 165-degree Fahrenheit. A proper way of cooking can kill the bacteria in the meat. Your leftovers, need to get chill quickly at temperatures below 40-degree Fahrenheit.

According to the suggestions of  USDA and Food and drug administration, you should always throw away rotten meat because it can lead to serious health problems. It does not matter if the chicken has been cooked properly, it still has dangerous health effects.

It would be a better idea to throw away the rotten meat.


Final words

Our digestive system can get badly affected if we eat rotten meat and can get sick. Rotten meat can also make our families sick. That is why always avoid cooking rotten meats. That is why when you buy food, always make sure that it is not rotten and always store your foods in a proper way by following the rules.

Hope this information will help you to have fresh chicken all the time.

Happy cooking!!!

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