Are you wondering how long cooked chicken may be left at room temperature before it becomes unsafe to consume?
Learn more about the safety advice and guidelines provided by the USDA by reading on. We have also included useful advice on how to store cooked chicken properly. In addition, what dangers may exist if it wasn’t kept at a safe temperature before consumption?
We’re hoping that by lowering food waste, we can keep you safe and help you save money.
The Cooked Chicken’s “Danger Zone”
The temperature range where hazardous germs have a chance of growing in chicken or any other perishable food is known as “the danger zone.”
The danger range for cooked chicken, according to the USDA’s official safety rules, is between 41 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The harmful bacteria will begin to develop at this temperature. The appearance, feel, and smell of the food are unaffected by this form of bacteria. Additionally, it can result in uncomfortable and even highly severe foodborne infections.
Even in cooler temperatures, the other form of bacteria, known as spoilage bacteria, can flourish.
This is why the USDA recommends that the chicken be stored in the fridge at temperatures up to 40 degrees for no longer than 3-4 days after being cooked.
When the food is kept hot before consumption, you should keep it at a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid the danger zone.
The rule of thumb is to either consume the chicken right after cooking it or refrigerate it within two hours.
In case the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, then the chicken-based meal should not be stored out of the fridge for more than an hour.
How to Safely Store the Cooked Chicken?
If you have leftover cooked chicken, you don’t have to throw it out. You can safely store it for up to three days in the refrigerator or for 2-4 months in the freezer.
To store the cooked chicken in the fridge, make sure that you place the meal in a sealed bag or container. This will help avoid it from drying out. In addition, this will help reduce the risk of cross-contamination with other food products. By covering or sealing the chicken, you will ensure it remains fresh and delicious, and most importantly – safe.
You can store the chicken dish at a temperature of a maximum of 40 degrees F for up to 3-4 days. As we mentioned above, even out of the danger zone, the spoilage bacteria will continue growing.
If you prefer long-term storage, then you can freeze the chicken. Make sure that the prepped dish has cooled down completely, and place it in an airtight container or bag before freezing it.
You can store the ready chicken in a freezer for two to up to four months.
It is crucial to pack it properly. You can use a tightly sealed container or bag in your refrigerator. This helps keep the freshness in and also prevents the food from drying out.
Can You Eat Cooked Chicken Which Has Been Left Out Overnight?
If you have forgotten the cooked chicken out of the fridge for over two hours, then it is not safe to eat. The USDA recommends that you abstain from consuming perishable foods which have remained in the danger zone for more than two hours.
Pathogenic bacteria like salmonella and e.coli will begin to grow at the danger zone temperatures. And their numbers will double every 20 minutes you leave the dish at unsafe temperatures.
What Will Happen if You Eat Chicken That Has Been Left Out Overnight?
There is a high risk of suffering from food poisoning, or at least a stomach ache.
To reduce the hazard of getting food poisoning, throw out any perishable food which has been left in
As you can see, leaving cooked chicken on the countertop overnight is not a good idea.
Remember to store it at safe temperatures if you don’t eat the dish immediately after preparing it.
This will help keep you and your family safe. And it will allow you to enjoy the chicken meal in the next several days without worrying about getting a foodborne disease.