How Long Can Chicken Sit Out? Things you should know

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If you are a fan of chicken dishes, you will certainly not like bacteria or microorganisms clinging to them. 

Once contaminated with bacteria, the food is no longer as fresh as it was initially and, more seriously, is spoiled. 

So, how long can chicken sit out?

Our today’s article will answer you about the maximum time chickens can be outside and tips on how to choose to buy and store.

And if you want the answer to thawing frozen chicken, this article is especially for you.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out? 

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out

Except for portions of chicken that have been kept warm above 140°F, cooked chicken is susceptible to bacterial contamination if stored improperly.

You can safely use cooked chicken within 2 hours of reheating at room temperature and 60 minutes at 90°F. 

Chickens should not be left for more than 2 hours because E.coli and Salmonella bacteria are present in poultry between 40°F and 140°F. They double in 20 minutes. Imagine you need to eat chicken left out for more than 2 hours. 

So, what bad will happen? 

We hope you don’t care that cooked chicken takes longer than raw chicken. 

When left at the wrong temperature for a long time, whether raw or cooked, they are capable of producing the same amount of bacteria. 

Read More:  How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last In The Fridge?

How Long Can Raw Chicken Sit Out?

How Long Can Raw Chicken Sit Out

Unlike foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish are many times more challenging to preserve. 

As for the raw chicken, they are susceptible to bacteria if left outside for too long. 

Bacteria will usually multiply when live chicken temperatures are between 40-140°F. Some people have asked, is it possible to keep chicken in the refrigerator?

The answer is definitely yes. However, you can only leave it for a short time, and if you leave it for many days, bacteria will also be born to spoil the food. 

Inadvertently eating chicken with bacteria causes intestinal diseases and food poisoning. It is hazardous when you have small children or older adults in your home. 

According to the recommendations of the United States Department of Agriculture, the safe time for the raw chicken to stay at room temperature is at most two hours.

If the temperature fluctuates around 90°F, 60 minutes is the most suitable time, ensuring safety for users. 

Can You Refreeze Thawed Chicken?

Raw and cooked chicken can be refrozen if stored properly. 

A small tip for you is to refreeze raw chicken that has been defrosted in the refrigerator or chicken that hasn’t reached 49°F. 

Depending on the treatment, raw chicken is refrozen 2 days after thawing, while cooked meat takes 4 days before it can refreeze.

How Long Can You Leave Frozen Chicken In The Freezer?

How Long Can You Leave Frozen Chicken In The Freezer

Make sure you keep the chicken in the freezer constantly. We’re sure nothing bad will happen. 

Wrapped and individually wrapped chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 9 months. 

With egg-laying or ground chickens, it can be maintained for 3-4 months. Whole chickens keep frozen in the fridge for 1 year. 

As for cooked chicken dishes, 4 months is the maximum time for the dish to retain its delicious taste. 

Chicken nuggets or chicken rolls are more petite and are only safe in the range of 1-3 months. And, chicken with broth or gravy is about 6 months. 

There are different safe time frames depending on whether your chicken is cooked or not. 

Although it can be kept in the refrigerator for a long time, the food quality decreases the longer you own it. 

Not only that, but it also doesn’t retain its palatability. Therefore, eat before the allotted time.

Read More: How Long Is Chicken Good After The Sell-By Date?

How Long Does Chicken Take To Defrost At Room Temp?

With a typical chicken, it will take 2-3 hours to defrost at room temperature. A 1-pound chicken breast thaws in a minimum of 1 hour. However, the time depends on how long you have frozen it. 

Like bacon, if left in the freezer for a long time with a large amount of chicken, it takes longer, even more than the numbers we gave. 

Ensure to defrost and store the chicken properly to prevent harmful bacteria from entering.

How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out?

How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out

Fried chicken is a favorite dish of many people, especially children. But for the most part, that amount of fried chicken is often too much. 

Therefore, many have worried: Is it okay to leave fried chicken outside for a long time, and what is the maximum time to leave it outside?

According to the recommendation of the Ministry of Agriculture, leaving fried chicken outside will not have any effect if within 2 hours. 

After that time, the food is less safe than it was initially because of the bacteria attached. 

Although it is only left in the fried chicken for 15-30 minutes, if you want to eat it again, you should reheat for health and safety.

How Long Do Rotisserie Chickens Last In The Fridge?  

The chicken rotisserie can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It should not be kept for long because it will quickly breed harmful microorganisms. 

If you want your rotisserie chicken to last longer, storing it in the freezer is the best way.

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

The answer is not. Eating chicken left out overnight is the leading cause of food poisoning. Even if cooked, eating chicken overnight is not a wise choice. The reason comes from the room temperature we mentioned in the previous section. 

Can chicken be left out overnight to thaw?

Can chicken be left out overnight to thaw

People often leave the chicken out to defrost overnight to save time, mainly for breakfast. However, we do not recommend doing this. Because as we said above, you only need to leave it outside for more than 2 hours for bacteria to begin to enter the food. 

If you leave it for about 5-6 hours, when you eat it, the possibility of poisoning is very high. The best way is to defrost the refrigerator. Then you leave it for 30 minutes to 1 hour before processing it. 

Temperature is an essential factor for food. When meat needs to be available in a day, keep meat below 40°F. A small note is not to forget to remove the freezer bag when you see the meat. 

Although the bag has no odor, bacteria may live in it. Besides, the room temperature has increased higher on mild weather days than usual. 

At that time, the chicken will be perishable for 2 hours, especially during the picnic. Therefore, depending on the weather, you adjust for yourself a reasonable time to use to limit the worst from happening.

Tips to Avoid Buying Rotten Chicken 

You may have preserved it carefully, but why did the chicken spoil in less than 2 hours? 

The reason for this may be that you bought the wrong rotten chicken at first. To avoid the unfortunate happening, when you go to buy, you should look at the smell of the chicken and see if there is any slime. 

Always make sure that the packaging is intact and free of air. You should buy chicken from acquaintances or reputable people. Once purchased, briefly heat it above 165°F. 

As for the leftovers, it is advisable to put them in the freezer as soon as possible below 40°F. In case the meat turns gray or mushy, it should not continue to be available. It is a sign that the meat has gone wrong.


Chicken is a food rich in nutrients and gives our body a lot of energy to sustain the day. But if not stored correctly, eating it will lead to some dangerous health conditions.

So, through this article, we hope you have answered the question: How long can chicken sit out?

You can put these ideas into practice so that it becomes a dish that brings many benefits to the body. 

If you have any problems, leave a comment below.

We are always ready to support you wholeheartedly.