Important: Know How Long Can Chicken Sit Out


Meat can not last fresh when left outside at room temperature and poultry is no exception to that. Chicken can quickly go bad whenever it is left outside for a long duration. so, what it is that makes the chicken go bad or what can we do to prevent the freshness of the chicken we want to use for the meal.

Spoiled chicken never tastes good no matter how hard you try or how delicious the recipe is cooked. It will, in fact, spoil the whole food, and it often gets hazardous for health. So, it is imperative to look out for the signs and avoid using the spoiled chicken at all costs.

The preferable practice is to store the chicken in such a way that it would stay fresh for a longer time and learn about the importance of timings.

chicken on board

How long can chicken sit out?

Chicken can sit out for no more than two (2) hours. That’s the simple answer to how long we can leave chicken sit out at home. Realistically though, it fully depends on the room temperature. You would have noticed that in summer, the chicken or any other meat for that matter quickly gets spoiled compared to the winter. The reason being the temperature difference. It is safer to transfer it to the refrigerator or the freezer before that. If the external temperature is higher than 90 degrees F, then do not leave it outside even for 1 hour. Otherwise you’re in for a foul smell.

1. Temperature
Important: Know How Long Can Chicken Sit Out 1

Temperature plays a vital role in deciding how long can we leave the chicken outside. it is the temperature that allows different bacteria or microorganisms to grow in the meat and spoil its texture and taste.

Normally a temperature greater than 40 degrees F is enough to promote bacterial growth in the food. Any perishable food, therefore, should not be left out at this temperature or higher. Uncooked chicken is more prone to bacterial invasion, and hence it should be protected from it.

2. Exposure
Besides temperature, there is one another factor that leads to quick spoilage of the meat and that is the air exposure. Whether the meat is left out in the kitchen or kept in the refrigerator, if it is not covered properly and is exposed to contaminated air, the bacteria will grow more quickly. That is why is it is always suggested to keep the meat covered when not in use.
3. Refrigeration and Freezing Chicken
To preserve the chicken for a longer duration, refrigeration and freezing are two main methods. Clearly, we can’t leave the fresh chicken on our kitchen counter. To keep it fresh, you need to preserve it in a sealed container. Uncooked chicken cannot last fresh in the refrigerator for more than a day. refrigeration can only be used when you want to thaw the frozen chicken, marinating it, or keep it temporarily until you are ready to cook it.

Freezing is the appropriate method to store the chicken without spoiling it. To freeze the chicken, you can either use a sealable container or simply use a Ziplock bag. Before storing the chicken, make sure that the meat is completely washed, it is clean and all the water is drained. Excess water, when left in the meat, can also sometimes cause quick spoilage. The cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, but it should be sealed properly in a container.

The uncooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for as long as nine months, whereas the cooked chicken should only be stored for six months in the freezer. The cooked chicken carries other ingredients as well, so that may lead to quicker spoilage than uncooked chicken.

Is it safe to eat chicken that was left out overnight?

chicken left out

If you think that you can leave the chicken overnight and just simply reheat it in the morning to eat it, then that is a big risk for your health. It is never safe to eat the chicken when left out overnight. This duration is long enough for bacteria to grow in the food and spoil it. Even when there are no visible signs of spoilage and sometimes you might not even recognize the foul smell, still that food is not considered appropriate to eat and it can cause digestive problems.

It is suggested to keep the left-over chicken in the refrigerator right after the dinner, even when you are not planning to leave it outside overnight, accidents can still happen. So, go for the safer option and refrigerate!

How long can cooked chicken stay out at room temp?

The cooked chicken is also vulnerable to bacterial invasion, contamination and spoilage, especially when left on high temperature. If it is left outside for more than two hours, it may not smell bad at first, but the chicken then is not considered as fresh and healthy as it originally is.  The temperature range between 40 to 140 degrees F is most dangerous for the poultry to be left out. Even experts from the United States Department of Agriculture also term such a temperature range “Danger Zone” as it leads to dangerous and quick spoilage of the food.

Can chicken be left out overnight to thaw?

Even leaving the frozen meat or food at room temperature overnight is not good for the food. Outside the food will be exposed to air, contaminants like bacteria and the temperature variation can quickly spoil it. Instead of leaving it outside overnight, transfer the frozen food to the refrigerator, and then allow it to thaw. And before using the meat for the meal, just leave it for 30 minutes at room temperature.


Next time you find a chicken lying on your kitchen counter, do not wait around and quickly store it in the refrigerator or the freezer to preserve it. The longer a chicken stays outside at high temperature, the more it will get spoiled. So, think wise and act smartly then use the above-given techniques to store the chicken well in time. And don’t forget to write to us with your suggestions, views, feedback, and recommendations. Leave your comments below.


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