Sell-by dates help us to ensure that we eat food while it is fresh and at its absolute best. But, sometimes, it can be quite difficult to adhere to those sell-by dates.
Trying to plan meals ahead of time, based on these dates can be very difficult and time-consuming to do, and, inevitably, we end up consuming them well past those days.
Luckily, modern conveniences such as freezers allow us to extend the lifespans of otherwise perishable foods, to help prevent wastage, and to make meal planning that little bit easier! But how long after the expiry date will chicken last?
Is it safe to eat chicken past its expiry date? And can you even put chicken into the freezer?
These questions will soon stop cycling around and around your head, as we’re about to investigate just how long chicken can last after its sell-by date, and what you can do to help it last beyond there. Read on below to get all of the juicy details you need to know!
How Long is Chicken Good For After the Sell-By Date?
Chicken can perish very quickly, as it is a very moist food product. If you have purchased any kind of chicken product, you should make a point of eating or freezing it within two days of your original purchase.
Chicken products already have lots of bacteria, hence why you should never eat raw chicken, and this amount of bacteria will only multiply over time in a room temperature environment.
Your chicken will only last for up to two days if you ensure that you place it into your refrigerator. Of course, you can significantly increase the lifespan of a chicken product by freezing it.
If you freeze a chicken product, you should aim to have used it within six months of placing it into the freezer, as, past this point, many food products can experience freezer burn, and lose their taste.
If you have a raw chicken product that has been in the freezer for around six months, but you aren’t yet ready to use it, then here’s a quick fix. Take the chicken out from the freezer, and allow it to thaw fully.
From there, cook it to completion, and then allow it to cool down. Once it’s cooled down, place it into a freezer bag, and then place it into the freezer again. By cooking the chicken you alter its molecular structure and give it a new lease of life.
Is it Safe to Eat Chicken After Its Sell-By Date?
Yes. It can be safe to eat chicken products that have exceeded their sell-by dates. However, you should make sure to exercise some caution. Check to see how long past the expiry date your chicken is.
If it is more than two days past that date, it is recommended to not attempt consuming it. Past that point, it will not only taste and feel horrible in your mouth, but it could also potentially lead to you feeling ill, with symptoms like a stomach ache
If it is close to the expiry date, then you can definitely eat it safely, and it is very unlikely that you would experience any adverse symptoms.
However, the chicken will taste and feel slightly different from how you might expect, and it may well be slightly rubbery. You’ll know if it is ‘too bad’ to be safely consumed, as it will be so unappetizing that you won’t be able to finish it!
How Long is Cooked Chicken Good After its Sell-By Date?
If you have cooked some raw chicken, or you have previously purchased a cooked chicken product, it can definitely last a lot longer, especially when kept in the refrigerator.
Cooked chicken should be eaten within four days of when you originally cooked it. Cooked chicken products should be eaten no later than four days after the expiry date.
Although cooked chicken can last a lot longer than raw chicken, it will still decay at a similarly quick pace. This is because even once cooked, chicken has plenty of moisture, which makes it a perfect place for bacteria to thrive and copulate.
Eating a cooked chicken product, or even raw chicken, well past the expiry date will cause you to run the risk of consuming the bacteria, and thus becoming ill. You will most likely experience a stomach ache as a result of food poisoning, but you also could develop much worse problems.
Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?
Yes. If you have cooked a chicken meal, but find that you still have plenty leftover, you can very safely place it into the freezer for later use! This is a great way to ensure that there is little food wastage.
Again, you should make sure to use up any cooked chicken that has been placed in the freezer within six months of placing it there. Past that, the chicken will likely suffer freezer burn, lose its flavor, and develop a very dry texture.
Chicken perishes rather quickly, thanks to its very moist consistency. Thus, you should aim to eat it as soon as you can, once you have purchased it.
We recommend only picking chicken up when you have a concrete idea of when and how you are going to use it so that you do not risk putting it to waste.
But if you do find that you have a little bit too much, or you want to save some raw chicken for later, you can keep it for a bit longer, provided you eat or freeze it within two days of its sell-by date.
Anything past there, and you’ll experience very disgusting chicken that could even risk making you very ill!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Out Of Date Chicken Smell Like?
Out of date chicken smells very sour. It is a very unappealing smell, and you will notice it right away with just one sniff. Normally, raw chicken has very little odor at all, so if you notice any odor from your chicken, it may be because it has exceeded its sell-by date, and should probably not be consumed.
Is Smelly Chicken OK To Cook?
Chicken begins to smell once it starts to spoil. Luckily, if you consume chicken within two days after which it starts to spoil, then you will be totally fine. Just make sure to cook it fully, to kill off all of the nasty bacteria!
How Can You Tell If Cooked Chicken Is Spoiled?
Similar to raw chicken, when cooked chicken spoils, it takes on a very sour and foul smell that will definitely be enough to convince you that it has gone bad.