We’ve all been there: You pick up a nice-looking package of chicken from the grocery store, only to get home and realize you don’t want to use it quite yet. But what about the sell-by date? Can you still eat it if that date has already passed? If you’re wondering how long chicken is good after its listed sell-by date, then stick around!
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks on how to properly identify when your chicken has gone bad and also provide an answer as to how much longer after the sell-by date it can last. Let’s dive in!
So… How long is chicken good after sell by date?
After the sell-by date, chicken can usually last for as long as 2 days as long as it’s in your fridge. If you want to keep the chicken for a little longer than that, you could keep the chicken in your freezer for up to nine months.
What is chicken sell-by date?
The sell-by date for most chicken is the date by which the store that you bought it from had to sell it. Most stores in most countries have a number of different rules that they have to follow with regard to the freshness of their food.
They ensure freshness by buying fresh food, as well as ensuring that any food that’s less than totally fresh is removed from the shelves. That’s the reason that chicken’s sell-by date is there – to ensure that the food is as fresh as possible.
How can you tell if the chicken has gone bad?
There are generally two ways to tell whether or not chicken has gone bad. These are smell and texture.
As chicken goes bad, it will begin to smell bad, as if it’s been spoiled. It will typically have a sour, vinegar-like smell to it. This smell is typically quite similar to rotten eggs, since it’s the same bacteria responsible for both products going bad.
As chicken goes bad, it will also start to go slimy and grey. If chicken really does tend to discolor and become gross in this way, then you really shouldn’t eat it.
The risks of eating cooked chicken after use by date
The reason that raw chicken is so dangerous in a home kitchen is salmonella. This is a type of bacteria that can grow on food and, when eaten, make people sick. To avoid getting sick in this way, the best choice is to eat the food within its use-by date.
If you eat cooked chicken after the use-by date, then it’s quite likely you’ll develop food poisoning. Any salmonella bacteria should have been killed and destroyed during the cooking process.
Still, it’s not unheard of for further bacteria to develop after the food has cooled and been stored.
Raw chicken storage tips
Raw chicken should be stored in the fridge for an absolute maximum of 2 days before you use it. It should spend those 2 days in the coldest possible part of the fridge – typically very deep within its main body.
Keep it in the original container, where possible, ensuring that it’s totally covered. That will ensure that there is no cross-contamination between the chicken and other pieces of food in your fridge.
Cooked chicken storage and reheating tips
Allow cooked chicken to cool to room temperature before transferring it into an airtight container. Make sure the container is totally sealed, and then transfer the container to the coolest part of your fridge.
Once the food is in the fridge, it can be stored for three to four days. I wouldn’t recommend storing it there for any longer than that – bacterial growth is likely to render it unsafe.
To reheat the chicken, I’d recommend placing it in a microwave-safe container and then zapping it in increments of thirty seconds until it’s totally steaming hot throughout.
It must reach at least 165˚F internally to be safe to eat, so consider investing in a meat thermometer to ensure it’s as safe as possible.
Is raw chicken 2 days past use by date still safe?
2 days is the absolute maximum amount of time beyond the sell-by date that raw chicken cans till be used. That is only provided that the chicken has been totally sealed and kept in the fridge for the entire time that it has been beyond the sell-by date.
I would not recommend eating chicken, or any other product, beyond the use-by date. That date is typically included as it is an indicator of when the product could become spoiled to the degree that it could make you sick.
Can I eat chicken 5 days after sell by date?
No, 2 days is the maximum amount of time beyond the sell-by date that chicken can be eaten. Any further than that, and the chicken is exceptionally likely to make you sick.
If you’re dealing with chicken that is five days beyond the sell-by date, I would recommend throwing it out, and getting some new chicken.
Is raw chicken 4 days past sell by date still safe?
No, certainly not. The reason for this is that the maximum time beyond a sell-by date that you can consume chicken is 2 days.
Since 4 days is already way beyond this time frame, you cannot eat the chicken at that point. The meat will be too contaminated with bacterial growth, and would very likely lead to your getting food poisoning.
How long does chicken last in the fridge?
When you keep chicken covered and in the coolest part of your fridge, it can last for a maximum of 2 days. Beyond this time, the chicken will start to deteriorate, and cannot be eaten.
If you’re unsure how long chicken has been in your fridge, then that’s quite a bad sign. You can go based on the sell-by date, however.
If you’re within 2 days of the sell-by date, the chicken will generally be safe to eat. If you’re beyond that window, then the chicken will not be safe to eat.
Wrapping it up!
I hope that this article has helped you to consider whether or not the chicken that’s in your fridge is still great for eating or not! Happy cooking : )