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.
(40 °F or below)
(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|
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.