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How Long Can You Keep Defrosted Chicken in the Fridge?

How Long Can You Keep Defrosted Chicken in the Fridge?

Planning meals all week long is physically and mentally tiring. Not only do you have to plan what everyone will eat for the next week, you all have to buy, prep, cook, and store the food.

It’s easy to buy food in bulk and stick everything in the freezer until you need it. But once it is in the refrigerator, it’s like you’re on a timer until the food spoils. How long can you keep defrosted chicken in the fridge?

A frozen 5lb chicken takes about 24 hours to completely defrost in the refrigerator. But once the chicken is fully defrosted, you have two to three days to cook it before it goes bad.

If you have the time, it would be better to cook the chicken, let it cool, and then shred it and freeze it. That way, when you need a batch of chicken for dinner, all you need to do is simmer the cooked chicken in a bit of water or in the seasoning and it will be ready in just a few minutes.

How Long Can You Keep Defrosted Chicken in the Fridge?

From the moment you place raw or cooked chicken in the fridge, you only have a few days to cook and eat it. How long can you store defrosted raw chicken and defrosted cooked chicken in the refrigerator?

Raw Defrosted Chicken

First, it’s important to calculate thawing time. When you take raw chicken out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator, it will first defrost. Once it is completely defrosted, then you have about two days to cook the raw chicken.

Raw Defrosted Chicken

After two days have gone by, every 12 hours the raw chicken will grow more and more bacteria. It will become slimy and no longer be suitable to eat.

Cooked Defrosted Chicken

Cooked chicken defrosts at the same rate as raw chicken and you should never defrost cooked chicken and raw chicken on the counter. It’s better to place it in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw out completely.

Once the defrosted cooked chicken is completely thawed out, the thawed cooked chicken can sit in the refrigerator for up to four days. Much of the bacteria that causes salmonella and other food-borne pathogens have been killed in the cooking process, so it lasts longer in the refrigerator than raw chicken.

If you’re at the grocery store purchasing raw chicken, we recommend cooking the raw chicken first and then freezing it.

Not only will cooking the raw chicken right when you get home extend its refrigerator life, you won’t have to cook it when you’re cooking all the other ingredients for dinner. Cooking the chicken now will save you time in the future and we all need extra time for the future.

How to Tell if Raw Chicken is Spoiled

There are a few signs to look for to know if the raw chicken in your refrigerator is spoiled. Here are the signs:

  • The chicken meat has a very strong odor. However, if you stored your raw chicken with other types of raw food, then make sure that it is not the other raw food that has the odor.
  • If you touch the meat of the chicken, a slimy film will rub off on your hand.
  • The pink meat of the chicken is turning an ugly yellow color or a gray color. Also, the slightly yellow fat around the meat is becoming hard and rubbery.
  • If you press your finger on the meat of the chicken, the chicken meat leaves an indent and does not bounce back.

Conclusion to How Long You Can Keep Defrosted Chicken in Fridge

To speed up the defrosting time of a whole chicken, you can allow it to sit for several hours in the sink in cold water. Do not remove the wrapper from the whole chicken.

However, you should only keep a defrosted chicken in the fridge for a couple of days before cooking it.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.