How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge Before It Goes Bad?

The freezer is not the only place to store your raw chicken for later use. If you’ll need the raw chicken in a few days, save yourself the time you’d spend thawing and keep it in the fridge. This way, the chicken is fresh but not frozen. You can just grab the chicken, cut it up and add it to your dish.

Chicken is one of those things almost everyone loves to stock up on. Therefore, you must know how to preserve raw chicken. You should know how long you can keep the raw chicken in the refrigerator and how to go about it.

How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Raw chicken should not go beyond one or two days in the refrigerator, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is regardless of whether it is whole or has been cut into the different parts.

How Long Does Vacuum-Sealed Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Vacuum-sealed raw chicken can last up to two weeks or even more in the refrigerator. Storing meat via vacuum sealing is your best bet at keeping them two times longer than they would if they are not sealed.

In a vacuum-sealed bag, there is no air around the raw meat to foster bacterial growth. Moreover, these bags are thick because they have several layers that protect the meat from spoilage and contamination.

SEE: How to Make Chicken Softer With These Simple Tricks

How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge After Opening?

Once you have opened a pack of raw chicken, you should not keep it in the refrigerator beyond two days. After opening, the raw meat is exposed to contamination and bacterial growth. The longer you keep it open, the more likely it is to get spoilt quickly.

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How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge After Sell-by Date?

If you have an unopened pack of raw chicken past its sell-by date, you can still eat it if it has been in the refrigerator. However, you should not refrigerate it beyond two days.

How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge After Freezing?

While thawing, raw chicken can keep up to two days in the refrigerator. For a large chicken, it may take more than two days for it to thaw fully in the refrigerator. In this case, the chicken can keep up to three or four days.

Once the chicken is fully thawed, you should consume it as quickly as you can.

SEE: Can You Freeze Rotisserie Chicken to Keep It Fresh and Edible?

How to Tell Raw Chicken Is Bad

Check the printed date

The first way to check if the raw chicken is still good is to check the printed date. The best-by, sell-by, or best-before date will tell you if it’s still good for food. If the chicken is many days past its printed date, you might not want to eat it.

If the packaging has any damage or if the bag has been opened before, do not eat the chicken.

The color

When you just purchase a pack of raw chicken, it looks pinkish, plump, and very fleshy. But when it begins to go bad, the pink color will look grey or greenish. It could also look dull or extra shiny. These are telltale signs that you should trash the chicken.

Touch the chicken

Touch the chicken. If the chicken has gone bad, it will feel slimy when you run your hands over it. The slimy feel is a sign that there is bacterial growth. You may want to rinse off the slime, but that will not kill the bacteria. It also won’t reverse its impact on the taste of the chicken.

The safest thing to do when you notice your chicken is slimy is to throw it away.

SEE: This List of Foods You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

Smell the chicken

If your chicken emits a pungent, foul odor, it belongs in the bin. The smell is also a result of bacterial action on the chicken. If you go ahead to eat it, you risk getting food poisoning.

How to Preserve Raw Chicken

  • Buy the freshest raw chicken you can find
  • Also, keep the chicken in the packaging you bought it in until you are ready to use it
  • Keep chicken in a bag that is still intact
  • In addition, the temperature of the refrigerator should be 40°F or lower
  • Most importantly, do not keep the raw chicken in the fridge beyond two days. If you realize you won’t be needing it soon, freeze it

SEE: How Long Raw Meat Sit Out Before It Goes Bad


How fast does raw chicken go bad in the refrigerator?

Raw chicken will begin to go bad after two days in the refrigerator.

Should you freeze raw chicken?

Yes, you should. If you want to keep raw chicken beyond two days, the best option is to freeze it. Wrap the chicken in a plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure there is no air in the wrap, container, or bag before you freeze it.

How long will raw chicken last in the freezer?

Frozen raw chicken can keep up to six months or a year. A whole chicken can stay frozen for up to one year, the parts can keep for up to six or nine months, while ground chicken can be kept frozen for three to four months.


The best way to preserve raw chicken is to keep it in the fridge or freezer. Freezing raw meat can extend its shelf life up to a year. Refrigerating, on the other hand, keeps the meat only for days. But it comes in more handy when you have an everyday need for chicken meat.

Most importantly, package the chicken properly. When you take it out, examine it carefully for signs of spoilage. If you notice any deviation from its freshness, throw the chicken away.

Thanks for reading.

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