One of the awesome things about chickens is that cooking a whole one can make several meals worth of finger-lickin protein. However, whether fried, boiled, baked, or grilled, cooked chicken has a definite safe to eat window.
Youve heard of salmonella? Well, it doesnt only come from salmons. If thats news to you, then for the love of all things holy, read on before whacking that week-old KFC in the microwave.
As Vanilla Ice proved, nothing stays fresh forever. But the definition of fresh varies from person to person.
If, to you, fresh means safe to eat, the answer is 3 to 4 days. However, if you associate freshness with flavor and texture, Day 1 Fridge KFC probably tastes a lot fresher than Day 4 Fridge KFC. Both are safe by FDA standards, though.
If youre the kind of person that cant keep to such a tight schedule and needs to plan their reheated KFC and RuPaul nights well in advance, you can freeze that half-full bucket of the Colonels wings for a whole 6 months.
You can extend that to 6 months if you order a dozen pots of gravy to freeze them in.
Luckily for you, its super easy to tell if eating the chicken in your fridge is a one-way ticket to Diarrhea Town.
Even when sticking to the 1 to 4 days rule, chicken can sometimes go bad early for a whole bunch of reasons. If your cooked but cold poultry from Fridays BBQ is showing any of the following signs, its best to avoid chowing down on that sandwich you made for Mondays lunch:
We shouldnt have to say this, but we live in the age of the Tide Pod challenge:
Chicken is a high-risk food for bacteria growth. Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens They all love hiding in chicken so they can f*ck up your week with food poisoning.
Note the word poisoning. Normally, diseases like salmonella arent fatal, but theyre not never fatal. The fire youre playing with if you choose to eat risky chicken could burn you more than spending 1 or 2 nights with your head over the toilet bowl.
Again, for the people who somehow still havent grasped that week-old nuggets make you poop liquid:
Obviously, sometimes you can accidentally eat bad chicken. As we already pointed out, chicken (as with all foods) sometimes can go bad within the usual safe to eat window. We also lied when we said it was super easy to tell when chicken is bad (sorry). It usually is, but not always. Sometimes you dont find out until youre throwing it back up.
If youre feeling any of the below after eating some cooked chicken from the fridge, theres a high chance youve got food poisoning:
The food poisoning risks with chicken may be high. But theyre worth it, because chicken is f*cking delicious.
While its never possible to totally eliminate the risk of food poisoning, theres a whole bunch of stuff you can do to keep it pretty low. Theres a reason human beings havent gone extinct from chicken-borne diseases. Yeah, its easy to contract them, but its equally easy to make sure you probably wont.
Still unsure about the leftover popcorn chicken thats been eyeing you from the top shelf of the fridge for the past few days? Heres a last minute rundown of everything weve learned.
Cooked chicken can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days and still be safe to eat. Raw chicken for half this time. If you want to keep your cooked chicken longer, it can be frozen for 4 to 6 months (depending on whether its in sauce).
Food poisoning is no joke, and chicken is a big food poisoning risk food (raw or cooked). If your cooked chicken is a weird color, slimy, smells bad, or has a weird texture, dont eat it.
Its also important to prep and cook your chicken thoroughly. Undercooked chicken is a surefire way to give yourself a hella queasy tummy, no matter how well you refrigerate it.
You can store chicken in an airtight and leak-proof container to keep it fresh. This also reduces the risk of cross-contamination by keeping juices away from other food.