Top 5 Tips To Store Cooked Chicken
Image Credit: Cooked Chicken Storage Tips | Freepik

Everybody loves cooking with chicken, especially Indians. It is one of those lean proteins that can adapt to countless recipes effortlessly. And when it comes to a weekend family brunch or dinner, chicken dishes always remain a staple for the table.

In the heat of excitement, you may often tend to make a few portions extra so everyone can eat to their heart's content. But this also invites the possibility of chicken being left over. At times like these, many might stumble upon how to store it properly in the fridge to keep it from being a host of bacteria.

Even if the chicken is cooked properly, there may be chances of it being attacked by harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. Therefore, it is necessary to store it properly and at the right temperatures to keep it fresh and ready to eat for a few days. Learn about these necessary tips on how to store chicken dishes.

5 Tips To Keep In Mind For Storing Cooked Chicken

1) Keep Chicken Warm Before Storing

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Leaving cooked chicken on the counter for more than 2 hours after cooking can make it a host for harmful bacteria, which don't get killed easily even after cooking at high temperatures. And they thrive in low temperatures. Therefore, it is necessary to keep cooked chicken warm before storing it in the fridge. And make sure you store it within 2 hours of cooking.

2) Store Chicken in Pieces

Cooked whole chicken lasts for about 1–2 days in the fridge because the density is much higher and if one part gets affected, the entire chicken is spoiled. Therefore, it is beneficial to store cooked chicken in pieces. Unlike whole chicken, chicken parts last for up to 3–4 days in the refrigerator. And cooked ground chicken can be stored for up to 3–4 months!

3) Seal The Cooked Chicken Dish Properly

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It is recommended to place the chicken dish in a clean bowl and seal the bowl with clean wrap. This helps in avoiding contact with air, reducing the chances of spoilage. Also, store chicken in small quantities in different bowls or freezer bags to prevent the pieces from being tightly packed and prevent the accumulation of excess moisture, which can lead to sogginess and loss of flavour. Additionally, storing chicken in separate bowls helps with better organisation and allows for easier access when reheating or serving portions.

4) Check The Temperature

Cooked chicken left on the counter for more than 2 hours can lead to spoilage, as mentioned above. Even though you keep it for 2 hours or less, make sure the room temperature is right, not so humid, and constant at all times. During hot summer days, avoid keeping chicken on the counter for more than an hour.

Before keeping cooked chicken in the freezer, make sure you don't keep it directly. First, lower its temperature gradually in the refrigerator and then freeze it. Also check if the temperature of your fridge is below 40° F (4° C) and your freezer is at 0° F (-17.8° C).

5) Avoid Keeping it in Fridge For Too Many Days

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While frozen-cooked chicken can last for months, it is always beneficial to consume it as soon as you can. If you've kept cooked chicken in the fridge, make sure to eat it within 3–4 days. And if you are planning to store it for months in the freezer, first let the chicken chill in the fridge with a loosely wrapped seal, and then air-tighten it before you freeze.

With all of these tips in mind, you can enjoy your carefully crafted chicken recipes for days. It may seem like a lot of work, but it's very simple to follow.