Picking up a rotisserie chicken is an easy solution when you don’t have time to cook. But a lot can happen between the time the chicken was prepared and when you put it in your mouth.
According to the Government of Canada, salmonella is one of the most common causes of food-borne illnesses — especially when it comes to chicken. When their internal temperature dips below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella thrive. Some signs that your rotisserie chicken may have entered the “danger zone” between 140 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit? If it’s slimy or smells bad, Still Tasty reports.
So how long is cooked chicken good for?
“Cooked chicken, including rotisserie chicken, stays fresh in the fridge for three or four days,” says Christy Brissette, MS, RD, and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition. Make sure the temperature of your refrigerator is set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder to stay out of the danger zone.
There are other precautions you can take to make sure your cooked chicken lasts as long as possible.
Start in the store with the selection of chicken, says food safety consultant Jeff Nelken. “Go for the ones that are hotter as opposed to the ones that are cooler, because you know this one has been receiving adequate temperature,” he told Fox News 11. “And usually they’ll even have a dot that tells you how long that chicken has been there.”
Once you’ve got your chicken, make sure you get it home as soon as possible. Then, either eat it or refrigerate it within two hours. If you decide to store it, removing the meat from the bones can help it cool more quickly. (Make sure to try out our Coconut-Crusted Chicken Nugget recipe.)
Not going to be able to eat your chicken within three to four days either?
Freeze it. That gives you an additional two to six months to eat it, Brissette says. Then when you reheat the chicken, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating. Now that you know how long cooked chicken is good for, find out the most germ-infested things you touch every single day.