How Long Can You Leave A Cooked Chicken Out?

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It is quite common to lose track of time when you are working in the kitchen with so many other chores up your sleeves. But when you have cooked a chicken and kept it aside, you need to be wary of how long it has been out.

cooked chicken in a pan

We all hope that grilled or boiled chicken can stay out for a longer time than we thought. However, that is not true, and definitely has a time limit before it can go bad. 

The cooked chicken can be set aside at room temperature only for a maximum of two hours and not more than that. 

Continue reading the article to get to know the factors that impact the cooked chicken sitting out. The temperature and the layering also have some effect on how long it can sit out.

If the cooked chicken stays out a long time, it is bound to go bad and the right time duration for the chicken has to be followed.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

chicken

The cooked chicken cannot be kept out for more than 2 hours. It needs a temperature above 140 degrees F for it to be warm enough to reside at room temperature.

If you are going to leave the cooked chicken out for more than 2 hours, you can as well immediately throw it out without any second thought.

Sometimes you might also prefer to take the cooked chicken on your trip, in which case you have to be careful that the temperature is not above 90 degrees F.

The high temperature is bound to spoil the chicken and make it unsafe to eat.

The 2 hours time duration is based on the susceptibility of the cooked chicken to attract millions of bacteria.

The bacteria which breed on the surface of the chicken actually multiply so fast that by the time you want to eat, it would have assimilated millions of bacteria in its layers. 

Can The Covered Cooked Chicken Be Safe If It Is Kept Out?

storing cooked chicken

This is a misconception that people have when it comes to preserving chicken. They keep the chicken covered at room temperature wishing that it doesn’t go bad. Well, it does.

It really does not matter if the chicken is covered or not since bacteria find a way to penetrate the skin irrespective of whether it is sealed or covered. 

The chicken covered or uncovered cannot be kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours at any cost. The bacteria would muster around the surface, in either case, rendering it a poison when consumed.

Can Marination Or Coating Preserve The Chicken?

chicken wings

The bacteria effectively grows between the temperature of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F which is by standards called the danger zone. It does not matter if the chicken is coated or marinated because neither layer can protect the chicken by any means.

A cooked chicken marinated sitting out for a long time is bound to get spoiled. The main fact about this cooked chicken is that you cannot even find out whether the chicken has been spoiled if it was covered with a coating.

There is no slightest chance in heaven that a chicken kept overnight would be good enough for eating even if it is marinated or coated.

What Happens If The Chicken Is Reheated?

cooked whole chicken

This question will pop up for the chicken that has been kept out for a long time. The point is that the chicken cannot be reheated in the first place if spoiled. Although reheating kills lots of bacteria, it would not kill all of them for it to be rendered safe to be eaten. 

Reheating the cooked chicken that has stayed out becomes so redundant since it has already been affected and no amount of heating is going to revert back its freshness.

What Happens If We Eat The Chicken That Is Kept Out For A Long Time?

spoiled chicken

This will open up chances for you to get sick and consume a lot of bacteria which might ultimately lead to food poisoning. It can give you a variety of symptoms that might put you at risk of catching an infection or fever.

So it is better to stay away from the chicken that has been kept out longer than 2 hours. If you plan to cook the chicken, then do it immediately as soon as it is purchased or taken out from the refrigerator.

Storage Of Chicken

cooked chicken in the fridge

1. Don’t Keep It At Room Temperature

The chicken cannot be kept at room temperature for a long time. It cannot be kept outside for more than 2 hours. The chicken cannot be kept outside for more than 1 hour if the temperature is more than 90 degrees F.

The chicken is bound to get spoiled if it is not followed.

2. Cooling Off The Cooked Chicken

The cooked chicken which is hot has to be cooled before it is shown into the fridge or freezer. Cooling the cooked chicken in the fridge puts other items in the refrigerator at risk.

The temperature in the fridge will rise above and hence all the other foods will get damaged. The chicken also over time will spoil if cooled in the refrigerator immediately after being cooked.

3. Wrap It In An Airtight Container

Cooked chicken after it has been cooled should be kept in an airtight container or wrapped inside plastic bags without any intrusion of the outside air.

This will retain the quality of the chicken and will also prevent it from any eventual damage that could spoil it.

4. Duration Of The Chicken In The Fridge

The cooked chicken can be placed in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and not more than that. If you shove it inside the freezer, it can go on for up to 6 months.

The specified allowed duration should not be flouted and the chicken needs constant validation of whether it has been spoiled or not. 

5. Placement Of The Chicken

The place where the chicken is stored definitely matters the most. The cooked chicken has to be kept far away from the raw chicken to avoid any possibility of cross-contamination.

The cooked chicken can be kept on the upper shelf where the temperature is the coolest of all. The raw chicken can be stored on the bottom shelf where no external intrusion is possible. 

Conclusion

Preserving a chicken right deems useful for us to make dishes of a different variety. Sometimes the cooked chicken is leftover for many reasons, and eventually, it can be stored so that it can be consumed fresh another day.

Keeping it fresh for a long time demands some protocols to be followed. It is also important to know how long a cooked chicken can sit out before getting spoiled.

This document will be a nice guide for such an elaboration where you will also get to know some effective storage methods that help a great deal in preserving the cooked chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can cooked chicken sit out?

The cooked chicken cannot be kept out for more than 2 hours. It needs a temperature above 140 degrees F for it to be warm enough to reside at room temperature. If you are going to leave the cooked chicken out for more than 2 hours, you can as well immediately throw it out without any second thought.

Can the covered cooked chicken be safe if it is kept out?

The chicken covered or uncovered cannot be kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours at any cost. The bacteria would muster around the surface, in either case, rendering it a poison when consumed.

Can marination or coating preserve the chicken?

The bacteria effectively grows between the temperature of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F which is by standards called the danger zone. It does not matter if the chicken is coated or marinated because neither layer can protect the chicken by any means.

What happens if the chicken is reheated?

This question will pop up for the chicken that has been kept out for a long time. The point is that the chicken cannot be reheated in the first place if spoiled. Although reheating kills lots of bacteria, it would not kill all of them for it to be rendered safe to be eaten. 

What happens if we eat the chicken that is kept out for a long time?

This will open up chances for you to get sick and consume a lot of bacteria which might ultimately lead to food poisoning. It can give you a variety of symptoms that might put you at risk of catching an infection or fever.

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