How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out? (Explained)

How long can fried chicken sit out? This is a popular question when we have leftover fried chicken after a meal.

It’s a fact! almost everyone loves fried chicken, Hence, you might not get leftovers after serving fried chicken to the family or guests.

However, there are times you fry in excesses to help your busy schedules. If you have a leftover fried chicken, how long can fried chicken sit out before it goes bad?

This article answers these questions. It also aims to answer questions concerning storing your fried chicken such as How Long Can Fried Chicken Keep in the Fridge, and lots more.

Let’s get started!

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), any food that sits out for over two hours is no longer fit for consumption. If you keep food out for over two hours, it will accumulate many bacteria, which may harm the body.

The point of two hours is referred to as a ‘Danger Zone’. It is because if bacteria build up during that time, it can cause food poisoning and other illnesses. The alternative to keeping your food out is to preserve it in the fridge.

Why Shouldn’t Fried Chicken Be Left Out For Too Long?

It is wrong to keep fried chickens longer than necessary because of their nature. Typically, fried chicken can quickly go worse than any other meat. It is because fried chicken flesh contains moisture and moist food has a long history of gathering bacteria.

Certain bacteria like e-Coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella quickly proliferate in moist, protein-based foods. Hence, your tasty fried chicken offers all the conditions to get them multiplied.

How Long Can Fried Chicken Keep in the Fridge?

You can keep your fried chicken in the fridge for up to three to four days. The most suitable place to store it is on the fridge’s top-shelf. Try to keep it away from uncooked chicken or meat. This is because they can breed some bacteria.

However, when you cook them, the bacteria can be destroyed by the temperature of the fire. But fried chicken may not have the opportunity to pass through the fire again. In addition, bacteria are effortlessly transferable, no matter the position you place them.

So, putting the fried chicken near raw chicken or meat in the refrigerator can get contaminated.

How Should You Store Fried Chicken?

It can stay longer if you store the fried chicken in an airtight, sealed container or Ziploc bag. Keep the container or bag open until the content is slightly warm. Closing the container or bag with the steam will cause the chicken to decay fast.

Besides, try to expel the air before locking it. You can also partition your chicken into separate parts to make it cool more quickly. Make sure to separate the pieces of chicken using cling wrap. It will help prevent them from gumming together and making a wreck of the coating.

How Long Can Fried Chicken Stay Out the Fridge?

Several factors can determine the length of time you can keep fried chicken outside the fridge. The primary factor is the interior temperature. Keeping the chicken out for only two hours is safe at a temperature of 85ᵒF. Nevertheless, if the temperature is warmer than that, you can consume it at once or keep it refrigerated for an hour.

Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

Your fried chicken does not take time to freeze. So, you can cook a great quantity and store the excess in the freezer. This is one way you can simplify things and manage your time. If you are busy, the best way to manage your time is to fry your chicken and freeze it. It is something to be grateful for.

How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out

How Do You Thaw Fried Chicken?

You are not to leave your fried chicken to defrost overnight. If you do so, bacteria can proliferate fast. Also, the chicken may decay when you keep it for long at room temperature. The best thing is to place the frozen chicken in your fridge and allow it to unfreeze overnight.

Again, if you could not remove it from the freeze and have an urgent need to thaw it, you can use the microwave. However, you may lose some of its essence and crispiness. So, the best thing to do is keep it in your microwave to defrost without applying heat.

How to Reheat Defrosted Fried Chicken

After thawing the chicken, you can reheat it in the oven using either the fridge or microwave. Set the range at around 350ᵒ F and leave for 15 to 20 minutes. If the pieces are significant, they may require a longer time to heat well.

How to know if Fried Chicken Is Bad?

If there is a suspicion of the chicken getting bad, there is no need to try to taste it. Not to worry, there is a way you can know without having to eat it. Below are some of the ways to make your discovery:

  • Smell: Freshly cooked chicken has a unique odor. But if it has started decaying, you will notice a sour or repulsive smell.
  • Touch: If your chicken is getting spoilt, it will become slimy when you touch it. But if it is still fresh, it will be dry.
  • Color: Freshly cooked chicken can be white or tan, depending on the part of the meat. But when it gets bad, the color will change to grayish-green. If it has stayed longer, it may grow mold.

Should I Eat Fried Chicken That Has Been Left Out For Long?

No, You may fall critically sick if you eat spoilt chicken or any food. However, you may only experience food poisoning if the chicken has only started getting bad. When food poisoning occurs, you may feel cramps in your stomach, vomit a little and feel better afterwards.

Again, allowing the chicken to sit out for several hours will attract bacterial growth. As a result, you may become severely ill to the extent of getting admitted to the hospital.

What to Do If You Get Food Poisoning

If you accidentally eat fried chicken that had stayed out longer than necessary, probably because you were not sure when it was fried, you will feel bad for some hours. If the problem did not affect you, you might only have to drink enough water and get some rest. After that, you will feel better.

Nevertheless, if the situation worsens, you may start vomiting and running to the bathroom. Then, it means you need to visit the hospital. If you have diarrhea and vomit often, you may experience extreme dehydration. And this can lead to something else if you do not take immediate action. At this point, you may have to take some medication and be rehydrated through an intravenous injection.

Frequently Asked Questions – How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out

How long can fried chicken sit out before it goes bad?

You can allow your fried chicken to sit out for as long as two hours. It can be one hour, depending on the temperature (above 90ᵒF). If you let it stay outside longer, it will only be better for the bin. If you eat it after keeping it long, it may affect your health.

Can I eat a fried chicken that’s left unrefrigerated for 24 hours?

You should not leave the chicken out for over an hour if the room temperature is over 90ᵒF. As advised by the USDA, any food that sits longer than two hours is no longer fit for consumption.

Can you eat chicken left out overnight?

Any fried chicken that has stayed over two hours outside is no longer healthy for your body. So, if you leave your chicken overnight at room temperature, it will not be safe for you to consume. The best option is to refrigerate or freeze them within two hours. Additionally, you should not let it sit out for more than one hour at a temperature is over 90ᵒF.

How can you tell if fried chicken is bad?

The surest way to know if the chicken is decaying is to check the odor and appearance. It will start smelling, become slimy and look dull if it gets bad. There is no need to taste it if you see the signs on the body.

Can you leave cooked chicken out for 3 hours?

The USDA reported that you may leave cooked chicken for only two hours at room temperature. But if the temperature is warmer, you can leave it for less than two hours at room temperature

Can you eat fried chicken after 6 hours?

If you keep the fried chicken in a tight container or Ziploc, it does not matter how long it has stayed that day. But if it stays outside for more than two hours at room temperature, it is not safe for eating.

How long does KFC last in the fridge?

The KFC’S reheating secret for leftovers is: always store it in your fridge immediately and let the temperature be around one to five degrees Celsius. At this rate, you can keep the food for as long as three days before reheating and consuming it.

Conclusion – How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out

If you have made plans to fry your chicken, or it has already been fried, you must find out how long it can stay out. However, if you keep it out for long, it may result in something else when you consume it.

So, apply safety rules when frying and storing it in your fridge or freezer. If you do so, you will enjoy your tasty fried chicken without having to fret about anything.

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