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Home Health - Immune System How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

Thousands of people around the world are having questions like: 

  1. How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?
  2. What makes poultry products go bad quickly?
  3. How Long Can Chicken Sit Out?
  4. How do you properly handle these products to ensure that you and your family are safe from foodborne illness?

As a matter of fact, I know most of the people doesn’t now the answer of such type of questions. Today I decided to provide you some information about “How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?” and other following questions. So here we go…

When it comes to spoiled chicken, it doesn’t matter if the chicken is cooked or uncooked. You can only keep it in the fridge for a certain time before it starts to spoil. When this happens, obviously the food is no longer safe to eat or cook.

However, these signs can be very subtle. How do you know exactly when you are saving yourself and your loved ones from getting sick or when you are wasting money and resources throwing away good food? Here are ways to find out.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?


The chicken should not go out for more than 2 hours. As a general rule, you should throw away cooked or raw meat that has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the room or environment is 90 degrees or warmer than chicken, it should only be exposed for 1 hour.

Should you throw it away or keep it?

Perishable foods like meats must be properly preserved or they will no longer be viable for cooking or eating. Whether raw or cooked, food can already be contaminated by harmful bacteria long before its odor indicates spoilage.
The general rule is to dump cooked or raw perishable food if it has been left at room temperature for more than two hours. This period of time is shorter if the food is left in a warmer environment. Also, always pay attention to the package date, not just the expiration date.

Is it safe to eat chicken that was left out overnight?

No, it is not. You may be tempted to cook or reheat it, but the truth is, you never know how many bacteria have multiplied during the time it was put aside overnight. These bacteria release toxins, and no matter how much you reheat it, it won’t destroy toxins.

Most people think that even when food is left out overnight, all you have to do is reheat it and you’re ready to go. Except it doesn’t really work that way. I know it can be very frustrating when you accidentally drop food. You may have actually fallen asleep inadvertently and before you know it, it’s already morning and your food is out. I’ve been there, done that.

How long can cooked chicken rest at room temperature?


Cooked chicken can only sit for up to two hours. Also, if the temperature is above 90 F, it is best to leave it outside for only an hour. If your cooked chicken has been away longer, you should unfortunately throw it away.
Now that I have established that chicken or almost any cooked food cannot be left outdoors overnight, let’s find out how many hours exactly cooked chicken can stay at room temperature.

There is this term that the USDA calls the danger zone. This is basically the temperature range that is the most dangerous for food that is left outdoors. The specific temperature range that is harmful is between 40 F and 140 F. This is the temperature range where any cooked food is most vulnerable to bacteria.

How long can frozen chicken sit before it spoils?

And as a general rule, frozen chicken shouldn’t be out for more than two hours. To be safe, I only use a thermometer to measure the temperature of your chicken. If the chicken is still below 45 F, then your chicken is still ready to eat.

The answer to this depends on a number of details. Assuming you kept your chicken in a sealed container while you were out, there is a chance that it is still good to go after a couple of hours. However, I would advise you not to risk it. This also applies at a temperature that is not warm. If it’s too hot, then it’s probably already thawed after a few hours.

Can you leave the chicken overnight to defrost?

Chicken should not be allowed to thaw overnight. I would advise against this. Frozen food cannot even be left outside for no more than two hours, much less overnight. It is always better to defrost frozen meat in the refrigerator. Just take them out of the freezer. You can let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.

Temperature role in Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

Temperature plays an important role in how quickly deterioration can occur. If you plan to use it in a couple of days, it’s best to keep the meat at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Leaving the chicken at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit exposes it to different bacteria. Leaving your chicken, or any meat product, on your kitchen counter creates the ground for bacteria to reproduce.

Raw or cooked food that has been removed from the freezer, freezer bag, refrigerator, or icebox for more than two hours should be discarded. Even if the food doesn’t smell, it is very likely to breed bacteria.

Be careful with picnic food too, if the food has been taken out of the fridge or icebox for more than two hours, chances are it is no longer safe to eat.

On temperate days, however, even two hours can be too long. Sometimes the room temperature can be so high that chicken, cooked or not, can go bad in less than two hours.

Since the meat does not smell at this time, there is no way of knowing if it is still good or not.

Since the two-hour rule may not apply in this case, you can resort to the second rule, that is, if you have any doubts, discard it. You shouldn’t take chances with foods that have probably gone bad.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that food is very susceptible to temperatures higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chilling and Freezing Chicken?

The general rule of thumb is that raw meats, specifically chicken, can stay for a day or two in the refrigerator. If the meat has been in the fridge for more than that, it is better to throw it away.

Cooked chicken, on the other hand, can stay three to four days in the refrigerator. Longer than this, it is probably not safe for consumption.

If you can’t cook the chicken you bought right away, you can freeze it. Whole raw chicken can remain frozen for up to a year. Raw chicken chops, on the other hand, can remain frozen for up to nine months.

Cooked leftovers don’t stay in the freezer that long. Frozen leftovers should be consumed within two to six months. Frozen cooked leftovers won’t taste as good once they’re thawed, either. Therefore, freeze leftovers only when absolutely necessary.

Rotten Poultry Leads to these health problems?

Unfortunately, spoiled chicken, especially when cooked, may not give clear signs that it has become bad. They don’t always have a bad smell or visual signs. In some scenarios, you may have even forgotten how long chicken or other meats have been left out.

To be on the safe side, it is best to throw away anything that you suspect has been left out for too long. Remember that eating or cooking meat that has worsened leads to serious health problems, such as fever, joint pain, and chills.

These problems are caused by the Pseudomonas bacteria, which is responsible for food spoilage.

Other health problems include urinary tract infection, vomiting, and nausea can be caused by the Putrefaciens bacteria. Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting are possible symptoms of ingestion of the Salmonella bacteria.

In some cases, contamination in meat also leads to kidney failure, which is caused by E. coli.

Tips to avoid buying rotten chicken

Sometimes even if you stick to the two-hour rule and proper refrigeration and freezing, you still end up with rotten meat. This is because there may be problems with the meat you bought in the first place.
To avoid this, examine the meat properly and make sure it does not give off a bad smell or slime. Make sure the packaging is intact and free of leaks or tears. It is also important to make sure that the bird has been properly refrigerated.

One way to do this is to buy chicken from reputable distributors or markets. Cooking the meat to over 165 degrees Fahrenheit is highly recommended. Proper cooking of meat kills bacteria.

For leftovers, food should be chilled as soon as possible to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheits.
The USDA and the Food and Drug Administration warn of the dangers of eating spoiled meat. Any meat that is already in bad shape, even if cooked properly, still has dangerous health effects. Only consider cooking meat if it shows no signs of thinness or grayish. These colors could mean that the chicken is in the danger zone.

Also, if you can spot ammonia or some sort of rancid meat odor, don’t risk it and just throw it out.

To sum up

Our digestive system is not in a position to handle bacteria from rotting food. That is why special care must be taken when buying, storing and cooking the food we eat. Remember that eating rotten food can have lethal consequences.
At the end of the day, it is better to throw away foods that are no longer good for consumption than to suffer the consequences.

Related Article:

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Be Left Out at Room Temperature?



How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?
Mustafa Rangoonwala
I'm Mustafa Rangoonwala having more than 10 years of working experience in the Health and Wellness Industry. I love to write articles on Ganoderma Lucidum, Health and Wellness, Relationship, SEO, Digital Marketing etc


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