How to preserve fresh chicken?

Wondering how to store raw chicken? Just avoid this mistake and you can keep your meals safe and delicious.

Few kitchen jobs are more troublesome than dealing with raw chicken. (Especially if you know how to cut a whole chicken.) It’s so wet and sticky that it’s nearly impossible to turn on the faucet and wash your hands without soiling it. Fortunately, there are safe ways to handle and store raw chicken to keep it fresh and reduce the risk of salmonella. One of the easiest tricks is to store chicken in the refrigerator.

STORE CHICKEN AND TURKEY THE RIGHT WAY

Put it in the fridge – bottom shelf

Store raw chicken or turkey in their original packaging on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Just make sure the package is well sealed and away from other foods and cooked meats. Make sure your refrigerator is set to 0-5°C. This keeps your chicken — and everything in the fridge — fresher for longer.

Check the temperature in the fridge, you can freeze chicken and turkey!

If you don’t think you can cook it in time, you can always freeze raw chicken or turkey until its expiration date. Just place it in an airtight container, or wrap it in a freezer bag, freezer foil, or plastic wrap before freezing to keep the cold air from drying out. Write the expiration date on the container or bag so that when you defrost the chicken or turkey, you know how long it will be cooked and eaten. When the chicken or turkey is ready to use, remove from the refrigerator and thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting, or place in the refrigerator overnight. It’s important to make sure there aren’t any frozen lumps or cold spots in the center. Once defrosted, cook and reheat to hot within 24 hours.

If you have questions about the refrigeration and reheating of chicken or turkey, visit the Food Standards Agency’s Food Safety Guidelines.

How to Store Cooked Chicken and Turkey

It’s the top shelf in the refrigerator for cooked chicken and turkey. Follow these steps if you overcook your chicken/turkey or just want to save leftovers for later. After cooking, let the chicken/turkey cool, wrap tightly within two hours, and place on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Keep cooked chicken/turkey away from raw meat and eat it within two days. You can serve it cold in sandwiches or salads, or reheat it until warm—perhaps in curries, casseroles, or soups. (make sure to heat only once).

You can also freeze cooked chicken and turkey

Place cooked chicken/turkey in an airtight container or tightly wrap food in freezer bags, freezer foil or plastic wrap before freezing. Label it so you can remember what it is, when to freeze it, and put it in the freezer. When ready to use, take it out of the refrigerator and thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting, or place it in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure there are no lumps or cold spots in the center of the chicken/turkey. Then heat again until hot. Once thawed, chicken/turkey cooked before freezing can be processed into a new meal and then frozen for a day before eating.

Grilled, roasted or regular chicken, eaten alone or in savory dishes – it’s a versatile food. Here are some ideas to inspire you to cook every bite. You can also use turkey in most of these recipes.

How many days can you keep raw chicken in the fridge? (Cold Food Storage Chart)

Follow the guidelines below to store food in the refrigerator and freezer. A shorter period of refrigerating food at home helps ensure it doesn’t spoil or become dangerous. Frozen storage guidelines are for quality only – frozen foods stored continuously at 0°F or below can be stored indefinitely.

Food Type Refrigerator
(40 °F or below)
Freezer
(0 °F or below)
Salad Egg, chicken, ham, tuna, and macaroni salads 3 to 4 days Does not freeze well
Hot dogs Opened package 1 week 1 to 2 months
Unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Luncheon meat Opened package or deli sliced 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
Unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Bacon and sausage Bacon 1 week 1 month
Sausage, raw, from chicken, turkey, pork, or beef 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months
Sausage, fully cooked, from chicken, turkey, pork, or beef 1 week 1 to 2 months
Sausage, purchased frozen After cooking, 3-4 days 1-2 months from date of purchase
Hamburger, ground meats and ground poultry Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, chicken, other poultry, veal, pork, lamb, and mixtures of them 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork Steaks 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months
Chops 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months
Roasts 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months
Ham Fresh, uncured, uncooked 3 to 5 days 6 months
Fresh, uncured, cooked 3 to 4 days 3 to 4 months
Cured, cook-before-eating, uncooked 5 to 7 days or “use by” date 3 to 4 months
Fully-cooked, vacuum-sealed at plant, unopened 2 weeks or “use by” date 1 to 2 months
Cooked, store-wrapped, whole 1 week 1 to 2 months
Cooked, store-wrapped, slices, half, or spiral cut 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
Country ham, cooked 1 week 1 month
Canned, labeled “Keep Refrigerated,” unopened 6 to 9 months Do not freeze
Canned, shelf-stable, openedNote: An unopened, shelf-stable, canned ham can be stored at room temperature for 2 years. 3 to 4 days 1 to 2 months
Prosciutto, Parma or Serrano ham, dry Italian or Spanish type, cut 2 to 3 months 1 month
Fresh poultry Chicken or turkey, whole 1 to 2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces 1 to 2 days 9 months
Fin Fish Fatty Fish (bluefish, catfish, mackerel, mullet, salmon, tuna, etc.) 1 – 3 Days 2 – 3 Months
Lean Fish (cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, sole, etc.) 6 – 8 Months
Lean Fish (pollock, ocean perch, rockfish, sea trout.) 4 – 8 Months
Shellfish Fresh Crab Meat 2 – 4 Days 2 – 4 Months
Fresh Lobster 2 – 4 Days 2 – 4 Months
Live Crab, Lobster 1 day . Not recommended
Live Clams, Mussels, Oysters, and Scallops 5 – 10 Days Not recommended
Shrimp, Crayfish 3 – 5 Days 6 – 18 Months
Shucked Clams, Mussels, Oysters, and Scallops 3 – 10 Days 3 – 4 Months
Squid 1 – 3 Days 6 – 18 Months
Eggs Raw eggs in shell 3 to 5 weeks Do not freeze in shell. Beat yolks and whites together, then freeze.
Raw egg whites and yolks

Note: Yolks do not freeze well

2 to 4 days 12 months
Raw egg accidentally frozen in shell

Note: Toss any frozen eggs with a broken shell

Use immediately after thawing Keep frozen, then
refrigerate to thaw
Hard-cooked eggs 1 week Do not freeze
Egg substitutes, liquid, unopened 1 week Do not freeze
Egg substitutes, liquid, opened 3 days Do not freeze
Egg substitutes, frozen, unopened After thawing, 1 week or refer to “use by” date 12 months
Egg substitutes, frozen, opened After thawing, 3 to 4 days or refer to “use by” date Do not freeze
Casseroles with eggs After baking, 3 to 4 days After baking, 2 to 3 months
Eggnog, commercial 3 to 5 days 6 months
Eggnog, homemade 2 to 4 days Do not freeze
Pies: Pumpkin or pecan After baking, 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months
Pies: Custard and chiffon After baking, 3 to 4 days Do not freeze
Quiche with filling After baking, 3 to 5 days After baking, 2 to 3 months
Soups and stews Vegetable or meat added 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months
Leftovers Cooked meat or poultry 3 to 4 days 2 to 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties 3 to 4 days 1 to 3 months
Pizza 3 to 4 days 1 to 2 months
Cold Food Storage Chart

How many times can chicken be frozen?

Chicken can be kept in the refrigerator indefinitely, but its flavor will suffer. For best quality, freeze chicken in an airtight package at or below 0°F (-18°C) as soon as possible and use within 4-12 months.