How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

How long can cooked chicken sit out

Many people have been in a situation where they are in a hurry and have left their cooked chicken outside for some hours. Now the problem arises that can we consume that chicken.

If not, then what is the time period for consuming the chicken. Some people might even think why it matters and it matters because it is related to our health. A person who is health conscious will definitely want to know the answer. So, let’s read the following article to know about the answers related to these questions. At the end of the article, you must be getting all your answers.

Is It Safe To Consume a Cooked Chicken Left Out For 2 Hours?

how long can cooked chicken sit out?

Sometimes when we are in a hurry we cook chicken and forget to keep it in the refrigerator or leave it outside for more than 2 hours. Now here is the question which arises, “is it safe to consume a cooked chicken that is left outside for 2 hours.” And the answer is yes, if the chicken is outside for 2 hours, then you can consume it within 2 hours. It will not harm you. You can safely eat it. But make sure to consume it within the time period of 2 hours. Now, let’s move forward to the next question which is related to if the chicken is out for 4 hours, is it safe to consume?

Is It Safe To Consume a Cooked Chicken Left Out For 4 Hours?

The answer is no, it’s not safe at all. If the food is left out at room temperature of above 32 degrees C, then it should be consumed in less than 2 hours. If you consume cooked chicken that is left outside for 4 hours, then it will be dangerous for your health. If you consume it can lead to foodborne illness. It can even lead to food poisoning which will result in diarrhea, vomiting and if massive can lead to death as well. So, before consuming you need to make sure that you know when the chicken is prepared.

One more question that got stuck in mind is that reheating can protect your chicken? Let’s get the answer.

Can We Eat The Left-Out Chicken After Reheating?

how long can cooked chicken sit out

The answer is a big no because if the chicken is outside for more than 2 hours, then it doesn’t matter if you reheat it or not. The time period at room temperature does not exceed 2 hours.

So, reheating will not make the chicken safe to consume because when it is left outside for more than its extended period, toxins or poisons form, and even after reheating, the toxins will not destroy. So, reheating cannot help the chicken. Reheating can be helpful if you have put your chicken in the refrigerator. Now, let’s move forward to the question: how can we store our cooked chicken?

How Can We Store Our Cooked Chicken?

The best and the only way to store your cooked chicken is to refrigerate it. After cooking the chicken, cool it within 2 hours and put it in an airtight container or seal it with a good quality sealing plastic, so that the moisture won’t enter. And after this, you can place it in the refrigerator. But even after refrigerating, you need to consume it within 3-4 hours. Just make sure that your refrigerator is set to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just keep in mind that the chicken should be cooled within the period of 2 hours for storing. It will be better for you to put the date of packaging on your chicken. And in case you didn’t get time to consume the chicken within 3-4 days, make sure to freeze it. Just make sure that it’s properly sealed before freezing as it will increase the life of a cooked chicken.

Even if you store the chicken for 6 months, it will not get spoiled until and unless it is properly sealed. It is recommended that you just consume the frozen chicken within 3-4 months, otherwise, its texture will start deteriorating. Don’t think of skipping this step as it is very important if you are not eating your cooked chicken in 1-2 hours.

What If The Chicken Still Looks Smooth And Smells Fine?

how long can cooked chicken sit out and remains healthy

The chicken will definitely not show the signs of spoilage even if it’s out for 4-5 hours. Even if it is outside for a whole night, then as well it will still look perfect and smell delicious. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe to consume. Every kind of meat should be discarded if left for more than 2 hours at room temperature. Don’t even try to taste it because it can lead to food poisoning even if you only took a small bite as well. The life of a cooked chicken does not exceed 2 hours.

Why Does It Matter How Long Chicken Is Left Out?

It matters because anything which is related to our health is our first priority. When chicken is cooked and left outside for more than 2 hours, bacteria starts to grow and if it’s left for a long time then there will be toxins in the meat. Without your knowledge bacteria and toxins can be present in your food. and if you eat that, your life will be in danger. You need to make sure before eating any cooked meat that when it’s been prepared.

What Is The Time Limit For Leaving Out Cooked Chicken?

The time limit is two hours here. You can leave the cooked chicken for two hours. When the meal is ready, leave it to make it cool. Then package it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.

How Does Bacteria Spread When Food Is Left Out?

If you leave the meal at room temperature for more than 2 hours, bacteria will spread very fast. The amount will double every 20 minutes, which makes the meal harmful to the human body.

How Do You Tell If Cooked Chicken Is Spoilt?

You can easily understand if the cooked chicken is spoiled. First, it gives a very odd or sour smell. The color of the meal will be changed and the thickness will be a bit slimy, as well. If you feel the cooked chicken is spoiled, just discard the meal. Because spoiled chicken can bring different foodborne diseases.

what do you think, how long can cooked chicken sit out

Can You Get Food Poisoning From Leaving Cooked Chicken Out?

The answer is a big YES! You can easily get food poisoning from leaving the cooked chicken for a long period of time. The common symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, etc. If it gets worse, the result can be even death.

How Long Does Cooked Chicken Stay Before It Goes Bad?

It depends on the temperature. If you leave the cooked chicken at room temperature or 32°C, the chicken will go bad after 2 hours. If you leave the chicken at more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken will go bad after one hour. But, it doesn’t mean that the chicken is spoiled. In such a situation, you can still have the chicken after properly reheating the chicken.

How Do I Reheat My Refrigerated Cooked Chicken?

If you store cooked chicken in the refrigerator, make sure that you reheat the chicken well before eating. A microwave is a great option for that. Just put the refrigerated chicken in a microwave-proof bowl and reheat the meal.


To keep yourself, your family, and your guest healthy and safe, you need to prepare the fresh chicken and serve it immediately. If you are unable to consume the chicken on the above-stated guidelines, then you should properly seal it and put it in the refrigerator. Don’t take any kind of risk with your health and with your family members’ health.

Our first priority is to consume safe and healthy food. So, make sure to keep the above-mentioned things in your mind before preparing chicken.

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