Can You Leave Cooked Chicken Out Overnight?

Can You Leave Cooked Chicken Out Overnight

Chickens are one of the most popular types of meat found in the kitchen. If you have cooked chicken for dinner and have no space to store in the fridge to store any leftovers, would leaving them out overnight safe to do?

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The answer is no, you cannot leave the cooked chicken out overnight. Bacteria can grow on the leftovers, making them unsafe to eat. People should take care not to leave food on the counter or in the sink after they are done cooking, especially if they have kids at home who may be able to get their hands on them before they go bad. If it’s been more than 2 hours, the chicken will most likely be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Cooked chicken that is left out at room temperature overnight should be discarded.

How Long Can You Leave Cooked Chicken at Room Temperature?

Though it is best to refrigerate your chicken, there are instances when you might need to leave it at room temperature.

When leaving your chicken at room temperature, be sure to use a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and wrap the chicken in aluminum foil. This way, bacteria will not have an easy time spreading from one container to another.

How Long Can You Keep Cooked Chicken in the Fridge?

In general, you can keep cooked chicken in the fridge for up to three days after cooking. However, if your family has a lot of meat lovers and they love their chicken with a side of vegetables, you might want to go ahead and grill some more than usual so that they don’t run out before the first night hit.

When cooking chicken, always cook it until it’s done, then let it rest before storing. During this time, use a meat thermometer to make sure that your meat is still within its safe range of temperature before refrigerating. If there is any concern that your food has reached unsafe temperatures, discard accordingly.

Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that you can freeze cooked chicken after it has been cooked, but the texture and taste will change, making the food less appealing to the senses.

After the chicken has been cooked, allow it to cool down to room temperature. Never store the chicken in the freezer while it’s still warm. The heat from the chicken will cause condensation and destroy the chicken. Also, the heat will cause other food around it to prematurely melt.

After it’s completely cooled down, place the chicken into the freezer bag. Press on the bag to remove any excess air before sealing.

Next, label the bag with the date of freezing and place the chicken into the freezer.

How Do You Know If Cooked Chicken Has Gone Bad?

Sometimes chicken is not meant to be eaten as it gets left at room temperature for slightly too long. What are the signs that it is time to throw away your chicken?

Some of the signs that your chicken has gone bad are if there is a strong smell. The smell will be enough to make you turn your head away.

Another sign is if the juices from the chicken turn dark. If you see this, bacteria have contaminated the chicken and could cause food poisoning if you eat it.

The last sign to look for is if there are green spots or mold on the chicken. It’s best to simply throw it away.

Will Reheating Chicken Kill the Bacteria?

The bacteria that are most commonly found in the chicken are Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, and Staphylococcus aureus. These bacteria can grow inside the chicken if it is not cooked properly.

Reheating chicken can kill the bacteria that naturally grow in raw chicken if done properly. The bacteria that grow on the raw chicken is a natural process and it will die once the food has been reheated to a safe temperature, typically 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final Thoughts

The most common risk of leaving cooked chicken out overnight is bacterial growth and the potential for bacteria to form a deadly toxin. When the chicken is cooked, it should only be stored at room temperature for no longer than 2 hours. Leaving them out any longer could be dangerous.