How long can fried chicken sit out?

How long can fried chicken sit out

Sometimes we are caught in a situation where we have to leave our food out. And it’s a common rule to know cooked food should be sitting out for more than two hours. Especially at room temperature, if you are leaving your cooked meal just like that, it’s not good for our health system.

USDA ( United States Department of agriculture) advises that cooked food should not sit out or leave like that at room temperature for more than two hours. It can be harmful.

Leaving your food to sit out at room temperature is certainly fatal to your health. USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture) refers to this as the “Danger Zone,” which is between 40°F and 140°F.

But what about fried chicken? Can it sit out like that? Because fried chicken is also a cooked meal, so it is obvious that the general rules will apply to it. The general rule has this idea of logic is that at room temperature bacteria get multiplied and left out food can be harmful and unsafe to eat.

USDA suggests that the food sitting out at room temperature should be left out for more than two hours. The bacteria which multiply at room temperature on the left-out foods are not only harmful to our health but can affect many parts of our stomach leading to food poisoning, vomiting, etc.

The Importance of Food Safety

Food safety is of utmost importance when it comes to handling and storing any kind of food, including fried chicken. Maintaining proper food safety practices can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and protect the quality of the food we consume.

There are several steps you can take to ensure food safety, such as washing your hands before handling food, storing food at the correct temperature, and properly heating or cooking food to the recommended temperature.

When it comes to fried chicken, it’s crucial to store it properly both before and after cooking to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This includes keeping the chicken at the correct temperature and minimizing the length of time it sits out at room temperature.

By prioritizing food safety and following best practices for handling and storing food, you can enjoy delicious fried chicken without compromising your health.

How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out?

The best part of fried chicken is its hot, spicy, and crispy taste. No matter how much you eat, you can never get enough of that crunchy, crispy, hot taste and tenders that slide off the bone with each bite into your mouth like hot and delicious silk-like.

How long can fried chicken sit out also in fridge

That is why many people love to store their fried chicken so that they can enjoy it later. But have you ever wondered whether showing the fried chicken sit out or whether you can keep them at room temperature for how much longer?

So essentially, fried chicken can sit out for two hours at room temperature or above 32° C after preparing it. It’s not advisable to leave your fried chicken for more than an hour if the temperature of the room is above 90° Fahrenheit.

According to the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cooked meal which is kept for more than 2 hours a room temperature should not be consumed and should be thrown away or discarded.

This is the reason it is referred to as a ‘Danger zone’ because these bacteria present in the left-out food at room temperature can cause foodborne illnesses such as food poisoning which can be very harmful to our health and immunity system. Therefore it’s advisable to not sit out your fried cooked chicken at room temperature, instead, it should be kept in the refrigerator.

  • According to guidance from the United States Department of Agriculture, it’s suggested to safely leave your cooked chicken out at room temperature for up to two hours.
  • If the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, one hour should be the time limit for allowing your cooked chicken to sit out. You should eliminate cooked chicken sitting out for longer than 2 hours or 1 hour above 90°F.

How Long Can Fried Chicken be Stored in the Refrigerator?

Fried chicken can be stored easily in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days without any harm. So, you can easily eat them up after heating them once and can enjoy your delicious, fried chicken.

But you can also preserve these chickens for up to 4 months in the freezer by wrapping them up safely with foil and storing them in a container and then keeping them in the refrigerator.

When storing meat in the freezer, use airtight containers or zip-top bags. Don’t allow any excess air to remain in the bag, or the leftover meat will be prone to freezer burn. Label the containers with the date and the contents, making sure to note which seasonings or sauces you used, if any.

So now when you have to eat the refrigerated chicken than before eating your chilled fried chicken, you should reheat it in the microwave. It will be easily done by placing the foiled fried chicken in a microwave-proof bowl and reheating it. Re-heating the fried cooked chicken will make it even better to be eaten out. The best thing about reheating the chilled fried chicken is that its taste will not change. That spiciness and taste will remain the same. But the condition is that when you will keep that fried chicken safely in the refrigerator by doing the procedure of storing it.

Signs of Spoilage in Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a beloved dish that can be enjoyed in many settings. However, it is important to know how to tell if your fried chicken has gone bad to avoid foodborne illnesses. Here are some signs that your fried chicken may have spoiled:

  • Strange odor: If your fried chicken has a foul odor, it is likely spoiled and should not be consumed.
  • Discoloration: If the chicken has darkened or grayed in color, this indicates that it has been left out for too long and should not be eaten.
  • Texture changes: If the chicken has become slimy or sticky to the touch, it is an indication of bacterial growth and should be discarded.
  • Mold: If you see mold growing on the chicken, it is a clear indication that the chicken should be thrown away.

It is important to note that even if none of these signs are present, it is still crucial to adhere to safe storage guidelines and throw out any chicken that has been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature. By being vigilant and taking proper precautions, you can enjoy delicious and safe fried chicken every time.

How to Store Fried Chicken in the Refrigerator?

How long can fried chicken sit out?

Proper storage of fried chicken is essential to maintain its quality and safety. Here are some helpful storage tips:

1. Refrigerate promptly:Once the fried chicken has cooled down to room temperature, it should be refrigerated within two hours. This will help slow down bacterial growth and prevent spoilage.
2. Separate into smaller portions:If you have a large batch of fried chicken, divide it into smaller portions before storing. This will help it cool down faster, and you can take out only what you need to prevent wastage.
3. Use airtight containers:Use airtight containers or wrap the fried chicken in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent air from getting in and drying it out.
4. Label and date:Label the container or packaging with the date when the fried chicken was cooked or stored and use it within four days. This will help you keep track of its freshness and avoid consuming it past its best-by date.
5. Reheat properly:If you plan on reheating fried chicken, make sure it is heated through thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any bacteria that may have grown. Reheat in the oven, microwave, or air fryer until crispy and hot.

By following these storage tips, you can help extend the shelf life of your fried chicken and prevent foodborne illnesses. Remember to always prioritize food safety and discard any fried chicken that looks or smells suspicious, or has exceeded the recommended time at room temperature.

Reheating Fried Chicken

Leftover fried chicken that has been sitting out needs to be heated thoroughly before consumption to prevent the risk of foodborne illness. Follow these guidelines for safe reheating:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • Remove the fried chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Place the fried chicken on the baking sheet, leaving some space between the pieces.
  • Cover the baking sheet with foil, creating a tent-like structure to help trap in moisture.
  • Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes until heated through.
  • Remove the foil covering and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes to crisp up the skin.
  • Check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. It should read at least 165°F.
  • Once the chicken is heated through and crispy, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

It’s important not to use a microwave to reheat fried chicken as it can result in uneven heating and a rubbery texture.Tip: To ensure your reheated fried chicken stays crispy, avoid covering it with a lid or wrapping it in foil after it comes out of the oven. Instead, let it cool on a wire rack to help preserve its texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

The United States Department of Agriculture advises that you can leave cooked chicken outside for two hours. But, you can do this only at room temperature. If the temperature is more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you can keep it out for only one hour. So, discard the cooked chicken that is set out for more than two hours in such a situation.

What Happens If I Eat Fried Chicken That Has Been Sitting Out For More Than 2 Hours?

If you eat fried chicken that has been sitting out for more than 2 hours, it could lead to foodborne diseases. Generally, the bacteria in the chicken multiply with time if you keep it between 40° F and 140° F temperature. So, leave the fried chicken in the refrigerator until you are eating it.

Is Fried Chicken Okay If Left Out Overnight?

Did you leave the fried chicken out overnight? Just throw away those pieces right now. As we said before, leftover chicken for more than two hours is not suitable to eat anymore. So, don’t even think of eating the full-night leftover chicken.

Does Storing Fried Chicken In The Refrigerator Change Its Taste?

No at all. If you wrap the chicken pieces in foil paper nicely and then store in an airtight box, the chicken will be even way tastier. Just reheat the pieces before eating. That’s it!

How Do I Heat My Refrigerated Fried Chicken?

You can reheat the foiled chicken pieces just by placing them inside a microwave. Just keep the pieces in a microwave proof bowl and leave it to get heat.

How long can fried chicken sit out after cooking?

Fried chicken should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After this time, it is recommended to refrigerate or discard the chicken to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

What happens if I leave fried chicken out for too long?

Leaving fried chicken out for too long can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses. Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, leading to potential food poisoning if consumed.

Can I leave fried chicken out overnight?

No, it is not safe to leave fried chicken out overnight. The 2-hour rule applies, and anything beyond that can pose a risk to your health.

How can I tell if fried chicken has gone bad?

Signs of spoiled fried chicken include a sour or off smell, slimy texture, or unusual discoloration. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the chicken to avoid potential illness.

Can I reheat fried chicken that has been sitting out?

It is generally safe to reheat fried chicken that has been sitting out, as long as it has not exceeded the 2-hour limit. Make sure to heat it thoroughly, reaching an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), to kill any bacteria that may have started to grow.

How should I store leftover fried chicken?

To store leftover fried chicken, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking. It is advisable to eat the leftovers within 3-4 days for best quality and safety.

Can I freeze fried chicken?

Yes, you can freeze fried chicken for longer storage. Ensure the chicken is properly wrapped and sealed in freezer-safe containers or bags. When ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.


Before eating left-out chicken, it’s essential to know how long can fried chicken sit out. It is suggested that you should check the time to see if it has exceeded the 2 hours general rule which was advised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Fried chicken which has been left out for more than two hours can be unsafe to eat and can cause foodborne disease and can make you ill with food poisoning and more.

The favorable means of preserving your fried chicken is to store it in the refrigerator. And refrigerated fried chicken can stay for up to 5 days before going bad. That means you can finally enjoy your fried chicken with great satisfaction! Take good care of your leftover chicken, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for a few more days.

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  • Desmond

    Fried chicken is life, but I worry about food safety. Thanks for the peace of mind.

  • Lucia

    How long can I leave fried chicken at room temp during a picnic before it’s risky to eat?

  • Mia

    Fried chicken left out for too long? I’d still eat it… judge me!

  • Amelia W

    I once forgot fried chicken on the counter overnight. It became the neighborhood legend!

  • Oliver

    Can you share a fictional tale of a fried chicken’s adventure after being left out too long, ChefD?

  • Ava Hooper

    Only 2 hours? That’s shorter than I thought! 😮

  • Georgia Jenkins

    I’ve left chicken out longer and been fine. 🤷‍♂️

  • Ellie Whittaker

    Great info, very helpful for my next BBQ! 🍗🔥

  • Lara Sims

    This is really eye-opening. As someone who loves to cook, and especially enjoys preparing fried chicken, it’s crucial to know how long it can safely sit out. It’s interesting to see that the general consensus among multiple sources is two hours at room temperature. This is definitely a good rule of thumb to remember, not only for fried chicken but for other cooked foods as well. I also appreciate the emphasis on the dangers of bacteria growth, which is something many of us may overlook. Thanks for this informative piece! 👨‍🍳👏

  • Katie Smith

    I’ve always refrigerated my leftovers immediately, just to be safe. 🧊🍗

  • Megan Osborne

    Two hours seems so short. Is this really accurate? 🧐

  • Phoebe Ross

    This is making me rethink those leftovers I ate yesterday… 😬

  • Jennifer Harper

    So no midnight snacks from the chicken I fried for lunch? 😭

  • Alisha Sheppard

    Good to know! No more food poisoning for me! 💪

  • Shannon Baxter

    Always trust your nose. If it smells off, don’t eat it! 👃👌

  • Rebecca Quinn

    Can’t believe people would risk their health by leaving chicken out for so long. 😡

  • Caitlin Haynes

    So if I leave my chicken out for 3 hours, will I definitely get sick? Seems a bit dramatic to me. 🙄

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