Freshness Guide: Raw Chicken Fridge Lifespan

how long does raw chicken last in the fridge

Storing raw chicken in the fridge is crucial for keeping it fresh and safe to eat. This guide covers the fridge life of raw chicken. It also offers tips on selection, storage, and handling.

Key Takeaways:

  • Raw chicken can last in the fridge for one to two days.
  • Storing raw chicken in the freezer can extend its shelf life.
  • Cooked chicken can last for three to four days in the fridge.
  • Pay attention to signs of spoiled chicken, such as foul smell and slimy texture.
  • Use raw chicken within one to two days of purchase for optimal freshness.

Tips for Choosing and Storing Raw Chicken

Choosing and storing raw chicken correctly is key to keeping it fresh and safe. Here are some tips to guide you:

1. Choose Fresh and High-Quality Chicken

Look for raw chicken with light pink flesh. It should feel firm and moist, not hard or dry. Dark or grayish chicken might be spoiled, so avoid it.

2. Keep Chicken in Original Packaging

Keep raw chicken in its first packaging. This packaging keeps the chicken safe from bacteria and keeps it fresh. Only move it to another container if you really need to.

3. Store Chicken at Proper Temperature

Store raw chicken in the fridge, making sure it’s below 40°F (4°C). This temperature slows bacteria growth. Always put it on the bottom shelf to stop cross-contamination.

4. Consider Using a Disposable Bag

Use a disposable bag for storing raw chicken in the fridge. This step adds extra protection and keeps the fridge clean.

5. Practice Safe Handling and Hygiene

Good hygiene is a must when handling raw chicken. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after. Use separate utensils and cutting boards for chicken to avoid contaminating other foods.

In short, proper selection and storage of raw chicken are crucial. These steps help keep your chicken fresh and lower the chances of foodborne illnesses.

Important Tips for Storing Raw Chicken
Choose fresh chicken with light pink-colored flesh
Keep chicken in its original packaging until ready to use
Store chicken in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C) on the bottom shelf
Consider using a disposable bag to prevent leakage
Practice safe handling and proper hand hygiene

Understanding “Pack Date” and “Best if Used By Date”

The USDA demands that raw poultry show a “pack date” and a “best if used by date” on its package. These dates are key to knowing how fresh and good the chicken is.

The “pack date” helps track the chicken in case of a sickness outbreak. It lets officials find where the chicken came from. They can then act to keep people safe. This date is key for raw chicken to keep our food safe.

Meanwhile, the “best if used by date” shows when the chicken will taste best. This date, set by the maker, shows the last day the chicken will have its best flavor and quality. But, chicken doesn’t become unsafe or bad right after this date.

Even with these dates, you should use raw chicken within one to two days after buying it. This keeps you safe from bacteria and foodborne sickness.

Always use your senses to check if chicken has gone bad. Look at its smell, texture, and color. The timing for chicken spoilage can change. It depends on how you store and handle it. So, make sure to follow good fridge guidelines for chicken.

Knowing about “pack date” and “best if used by date” helps you keep chicken fresh and safe. Always store and handle it right for the best meals.

Storing Chicken in the Fridge

Storing raw chicken in the fridge needs care to keep it fresh and safe. You should keep it for one to two days in its original package. To keep it at its best, though, there are extra steps to take.

Wrap Individual Chicken Pieces

Wrap each chicken piece alone to stay fresh and avoid spreading germs. Use tight plastic wraps or bags, like Glad® Press’n Seal® or Glad® FLEX’N SEAL™ Food Storage Quart Bags. This keeps the chicken safe and sealed tight.

Store on the Lowest Shelf

Always put raw chicken on the fridge’s lowest shelf. This stops leaks from reaching other foods if the package breaks. With it on the bottom shelf, any drips won’t touch foods you eat without cooking or other items.

Freezing Chicken for Extended Storage

If you don’t plan on using chicken soon, freezing it is best. Freezing helps keep it fresh for later. Follow these tips to freeze chicken right:

  1. Prepare the chicken: Before freezing, ensure the chicken is fresh and clean. Trim off extra fat or skin and dry it with paper towels.
  2. Wrap individual pieces: Wrap each piece in freezer-safe wrap to avoid freezer burn and keep quality. This keeps the chicken safe from moisture loss and bad smells.
  3. Use airtight freezer bags: Put wrapped chicken in airtight bags, like Glad® FLEX’N SEAL™ Freezer Quart Bags. Push out all air before sealing to reduce ice crystals.
  4. Label and date: Label each bag with the freezing date. It helps track freshness and ensures you use the oldest stock first.

Whether it’s parts or a whole chicken, know how long to store it:

Chicken Type Storage Time
Chicken parts Up to nine months
Whole fresh chicken Up to one year

Freezing chicken extends its life, but use it within recommended times. After too long, it might lose taste and texture.

With these tips, you can store chicken in your freezer for the future. Always use the oldest chicken first to avoid waste.

Thawing Chicken Properly

Thawing chicken right is key to keeping it safe and tasty. The USDA says to use safe thawing ways. This keeps the chicken fresh and safe to eat.

To thaw chicken in the fridge, put the frozen chicken on a plate there. It might take up to a day to thaw this way. Even so, this method is safe and keeps the chicken cool.

Once thawed in the fridge, you can keep the chicken there for one to two more days. This helps with planning meals. It makes sure the chicken stays fresh until you cook it.

If you’re in a hurry, you can thaw chicken faster in cold tap water. Put the chicken in a waterproof bag and dunk it in cold water. Remember to change the water every 30 minutes. This way thaws chicken quickly, but you must cook it right after to stop bacteria.

Using a microwave is another quick way to thaw chicken. Just follow your microwave’s guide on defrosting chicken. Cook it right away after thawing. Sometimes, this method might cook parts of the chicken. Make sure to cook it fully for safety.

No matter how you thaw it, always cook chicken right away. This stops bad bacteria from growing.

To sum up, thawing chicken right matters for safety and quality. The fridge method is best, letting the chicken thaw slowly. But, if needed, cold water or microwave methods can also work. Just cook the chicken at once afterward. Following these tips lets you enjoy safe and yummy chicken dishes.

Safety Precautions for Handling Chicken

Safety is key when handling raw chicken. Follow the right tips to cut the risk of bacterial contamination. This makes sure the chicken is fresh and safe to eat.

Washing Your Hands Properly

Washing your hands well is crucial when dealing with raw chicken. Always scrub with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds after touching raw chicken. This removes harmful bacteria from your hands.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Keep raw and cooked foods apart to avoid foodborne illnesses. Use different cutting boards and tools for raw chicken and other items. This prevents raw chicken bacteria from spreading.

Clean and Sanitize Surfaces and Utensils

Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and utensils that touched raw chicken is important. First, wash them with hot, soapy water. Next, use a mix of one tablespoon of bleach and one gallon of water to sanitize. This kills lingering bacteria and stops it from spreading.

“Proper handling and hygiene practices are essential for keeping raw chicken fresh and free from harmful bacteria.”

By keeping these safety tips in mind, you can safely handle raw chicken. This assures it stays fresh and safe. Now, let’s look into how to keep chicken fresh and prevent sickness.

Safety Precautions for Handling Chicken Actions
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after handling raw chicken.
Avoid Cross-Contamination Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw chicken and other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Clean and Sanitize Clean and sanitize surfaces and utensils that come into contact with raw chicken to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Maximizing Freshness and Preventing Foodborne Illness

Keeping raw chicken fresh and safe is crucial. Proper storage and handling prevent illnesses. To do this, follow refrigerator guidelines closely.

Always refrigerate raw chicken below 40°F (4°C). This stops bacteria from growing and keeps the chicken good. Place it on the refrigerator’s bottom shelf. This stops juices from dripping onto other food and lowers cross-contamination risks.

Using Raw Chicken Fridge Guidelines

Use raw chicken within one to two days of buying it. This is vital regardless of the package’s “best if used by date.” Even though the date is about quality, using it quickly ensures safety and freshness.

If your chicken smells bad, is slimy, or changes color, throw it out. Using your senses is key to judge if chicken is still good.

Here are some tips to keep chicken fresh:

  • Keep the chicken in its original packaging to maintain freshness. This limits air and contaminant exposure.
  • For longer storage, wrap the chicken tightly in plastic or use an airtight container. This protects it from air and contamination.
  • Wash your hands well with soap for 20 seconds before and after handling chicken. This reduces bacterial spread.
  • Use different cutting boards and utensils for chicken and other foods. This avoids cross-contamination.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces and utensils that touch raw chicken regularly.

In summary, careful storage and handling of raw chicken is key. Following these guidelines ensures your chicken stays fresh. Plus, these steps keep you safe and healthy.


It’s key to keep raw chicken fresh and safe. Make sure to use it one to two days after putting it in the fridge. This helps it stay fresh. Look for bad smells or slimy texture to see if it’s bad.

Store raw chicken correctly in the fridge. Keep it under 40°F (4°C) and put it on the bottom shelf. This stops it from touching other foods. Wrap it in plastic or airtight bags to keep it fresh and stop leaks.

Good food safety habits are important. They stop bacteria from spreading and keep your chicken safe to eat. Always wash your hands well after touching raw chicken. Use different cutting boards and tools. Also, clean any surfaces that touched the chicken. Follow these tips for worry-free, tasty meals.


How long does raw chicken last in the fridge?

Raw chicken lasts one to two days in the fridge. This info comes from the Cold Food Storage Chart at

What is the shelf life of raw chicken in the fridge?

In the fridge, raw chicken stays good for one to two days.

How should I store raw chicken in the refrigerator?

Keep raw chicken in its original packaging in the fridge. The temperature should be below 40°F (4°C). Place it on the bottom shelf to stop it from contaminating other foods.

Does raw chicken have an expiration date?

Raw chicken comes with a “best if used by” date. Still, it’s best to use it within one to two days after buying for the freshest taste.

How can I keep raw chicken fresh?

Choose raw chicken that looks light pink and feels a bit firm. Keep it in its packaging until use. It should be smooth, moist, but not slimy.

What are the guidelines for storing raw chicken in the fridge?

Store it below 40°F (4°C), on the bottom shelf. Keep it in its original pack. You might also wrap it in a disposable bag to catch drips.

How can I determine if raw chicken has spoiled?

Spoiled chicken smells bad, feels slimy, and might change color. Trust your senses to tell if it’s gone bad.

How should I store raw chicken in the fridge to prevent cross-contamination?

Wrap chicken pieces in airtight plastic. Put it on the fridge’s lowest shelf. This stops leaks onto other foods.

Can I freeze raw chicken to extend its shelf life?

Yes, you can freeze raw chicken. Wrap each piece in freezer wrap. Then put them in airtight freezer bags. Chicken parts last up to nine months, a whole chicken up to a year.

How should I thaw frozen chicken?

Thaw chicken in the fridge by putting it on a plate. Or, thaw it in cold water or a microwave. Cook right away if you use these last two methods.

What safety precautions should I take when handling raw chicken?

Wash your hands before and after handling raw chicken. Use different cutting boards for raw and cooked foods. Make sure to clean any surfaces and tools that touched raw chicken.

How can I maximize the freshness of raw chicken and prevent foodborne illness?

Keep chicken below 40°F (4°C) in the fridge. Use it within one to two days. Be careful how you store and handle it to keep away bacteria and prevent illness.

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