Chicken is almost everyone’s favorite food. Whether fried, grilled, or steamed, it is always there to adorn your dinner table.
Therefore, it is not surprising to have leftover chicken in the fridge after every dinner party. While it is okay to store chicken to use later, can you eat cold chicken?
If this is the question you seek an answer to, you are at the right place. Today we will tell you whether it is safe to eat cold chicken or not.
Let’s dive into it right away!
- Is It Safe to Eat Cold Chicken?
- Why Is Cold Chicken Safe to Eat?
- Why Keep Chicken Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit?
- Why is Cold Chicken Better Than Freshly Cooked Chicken?
- Can You Eat Undercooked Chicken?
- How to Know If the Chicken is Fully Cooked?
- Can I Eat Raw Chicken I Accidentally Left on the Counter the Night Before?
- How to Store Cooked Chicken Properly?
Is It Safe to Eat Cold Chicken?
The answer to can you eat cold chicken is straightforward. Yes! It is totally fine to consume chicken while it is cold. However, you must cook and store it adequately in order to consume it later.
According to studies, at room temperature, bacteria grows faster in warm or fresh chicken than in cold chicken. You may use cold chicken in salads, pasta, and sandwiches without a doubt in mind.
Ensure to cook the chicken thoroughly and preserve it appropriately to extend its shelf life.
Read on to learn suitable methods for cooking and storing chicken to extend its life. But first, let me tell you why it is safe to eat cold chicken.
Why Is Cold Chicken Safe to Eat?
Whether warm, hot, or cold food, it doesn’t become unsafe until bacteria start to grow in it. Similarly, no matter whether the chicken is cold or warm, if it is cooked and stored at the recommended temperature, it will remain safer to eat.
Consider the following points to ensure that your chicken meat is safe from germs and suitable to eat.
- Cook chicken meat to 165 or 180 degrees Fahrenheit to make it bacteria-free.
- After cooking, keep the chicken meat below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacteria growth.
- After storing the chicken, consume it within 3-4 days straight from the refrigerator.
Why Keep Chicken Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit?
The temperature above 40 and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the danger zone for your food. Harmful germs are more likely to flourish at this temperature. To guarantee that the chicken stays edible, keep it away from the danger zone.
How to keep chicken meat away from the danger zone? When you remove chicken from the refrigerator and place it on the counter, it rises to room temperature (which is typically within the danger zone). Do not leave chicken at room temperature for more than two hours. Otherwise, bacteria will grow and make it unsafe to eat.
Why is Cold Chicken Better Than Freshly Cooked Chicken?
As discussed above, cold chicken is way better than a warm one. But do you know why that is? Let me state a few facts that will make you refrigerate chicken more than you already do.
Same Nutritional Value
Cold chicken has the same nutritional value as the warm has. Cold chicken is also full of protein meat and has the same health benefits, if not more.
More Taste and Flavors
Since seasonings and flavors can develop over time in the refrigerator, cold chicken tastes better and has more flavor.
The Firmer Texture
Additionally, the texture of the cold chicken is a little tougher, making it a better choice for yummy salads and sandwiches.
Can You Eat Undercooked Chicken?
While it is perfectly safe for you to eat cold chicken, an undercooked chicken is a big NO. Raw or undercooked chicken is unsafe because it contains dangerous bacteria. Even a small amount of raw or undercooked chicken can result in food poisoning.
Therefore, cooking chicken until it reaches the appropriate internal temperature and becomes safe to consume is necessary to eat healthily.
How to Know If the Chicken is Fully Cooked?
Chicken must be cooked to recommended internal temperatures to eradicate bacteria. For whole chickens, they are 180 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas, for chicken chunks or patties, these temperatures are 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is also recommended to use a food thermometer. Put it into the thickest portion of the meat to check the internal temperature of your chicken to ensure it is fully cooked.
Can I Eat Raw Chicken I Accidentally Left on the Counter the Night Before?
You should seriously heed the salmonella warnings we have read about in the science period in school.
Salmonella grows uncontrollably inside your body. As a byproduct of its growth, it also releases a lethal toxin. The most important thing to note is that cooking has no impact at all on that poison.
As a result, compared to chicken left out for two hours, food left out for eight hours will have 1,000 times more bacteria on it.
These harmful food germs like salmonella are invisible and odorless. It is impossible to discover them until you have eaten the food and they enter your digestive tract. Vomiting and diarrhea, aka food poisoning, will tell you they have been there.
How to Store Cooked Chicken Properly?
Firstly, as established above, you must refrigerate the chicken within 2 hours of cooking if you want to keep it safe from germs. Follow these steps to store the chicken in the fridge.
- Before storage, make sure the chicken has somewhat cooled.
- Put the leftover chicken in an airtight container or securely packed in plastic wrap.
- Keep it away from any raw meat to avoid contamination.
- Divide the big batch into smaller portions and store them separately.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge when you’re ready to eat it or reheat it.
You must consume the refrigerated chicken within 3-4 days of storage. Remember, once the chicken is spoiled, reheating it will not make it safe to eat, as reheating cannot kill toxins produced by bacteria.
You can eat cold chicken, but you must be careful when cooling and storing it. Bacteria will start to grow during this time.
After cooking the chicken thoroughly, you must allow it to cool completely. Then store it in the fridge within 2 hours. Consume it within 3-4 days. Any longer than this, and you run the danger of getting sick from the bacteria growth and rotten chicken.