Whether you forgot about it on the counter or it hid in the back of the fridge, there are a few ways to tell if the cooked chicken is bad and not safe to eat.
While some are obvious and visual, others not so much so check out this post and decide if you should eat it or toss it!
What Does Spoiled Cooked Chicken Look Like?
Often, cooked chicken past its prime will have a weird color, slimy texture, and unpleasant smell. You may even detect a few splotches of mold, but it’s not always that evident.
To avoid biting into a piece of yucky chicken, ensure you properly evaluate the texture, color, and odor. And if, after evaluation, the chicken smells and looks fine, keep in mind the USDA recommends eating cooked chicken within 3 to 4 days.
Signs Cooked Chicken has Gone Bad
The most prominent signs of expired cooked chicken are its appearance, scent, and texture. While taste is another indicator- I don’t advise anyone to try a suspicious piece of chicken. Go with your gut on this one.
In the following text, we will cover things to keep an eye (and nose) on if you suspect your cooked chicken has gone past its prime.
Cooked chicken that’s gone bad will have a strange residue on the surface. This isn’t the same as the steam produced by refrigerating cooked chicken breast; it’s a slimy consistency that secretes a foul odor. Eeek!
The meat itself will be soft (not in a tender way) and even slimy… but hopefully, you don’t discover this from taking a bite.
To the eye, spoiled cooked chicken can have a gray or greenish color you can’t get past. Remember, not all expired chicken looks bad, especially if cooked in a sauce or stew.
If this is the case for you, check the texture. Worst case scenario, you ditch the chicken dish for something else.
If you notice a sour or off-putting smell like rotten eggs, my friend, it’s time to toss the chicken and cook some more! Fresh chicken has little to no scent, and when it’s cooked, it will smell mostly like the ingredients used for seasonings.
How Long Does Cooked Chicken Stay Good?
Refrigerating chicken is a short-term way to keep it fresh for a few days. Frozen chicken lasts much longer and is a perfect solution if you like to batch-cook chicken.
- In the fridge: 3-4 days.
- In the freezer: up to 3-4 months.
To avoid throwing out perfectly good food, try freezing cooked chicken in single or double portions. Frozen chicken stays good for a long time, and it’s easy to add to recipes like stir-fry, soups, and pasta.