When it comes to stocking up food in the freezer, frozen cooked chicken is not left behind. Cooked chicken can freeze very well, and it needs to be handled and prepared correctly to avoid food-borne diseases.
But how long can you freeze cooked chicken to avoid spoilage? Freezing cooked chicken is an excellent way of reducing food waste and the perfect shortcut for dinners during busy weekdays since it is also the best way to guarantee freshness and long-term preservation.
Like many people who keep cooked chicken in the freezer, you may have wondered how long can you freeze cooked chicken?’ Let’s read on to find out the answer in the next paragraph.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?
The good news is that cooked chicken kept in the freezer constantly at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will be safe to eat indefinitely, but there is a difference between “good to eat’’ and “safe to eat.’’
Cooked chicken shouldn’t be left in the freezer for too long to prevent freezer burn due to the texture of the chicken. The longer it is kept in the freezer, the more it will become stringy and spongy.
Therefore, a cooked chicken will be at its best for about 2-4 months; the chicken is still safe to eat, but the quality will diminish. However, over time all frozen food will deteriorate in quality and become unappetizing to eat when frozen for too long.
Frequently Asked Question
Is It Safe to Freeze Cooked Chicken?
Sometimes, you might want to freeze your leftover chicken for later consumption. Thankfully, you will be able to freeze it and use it later. However, cooked chicken can remain indefinitely and be safe to eat as bacteria will not grow on the chicken.
It is crucial to put cooked chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing. Once defrosted, you can turn it into a new meal and freeze it again to eat another day.
What If Cooked Chicken Is Frozen Beyond 2-4months?
Frozen cooked chicken beyond 2-4months is perfectly safe to eat, but it can be off texturally, and the danger of freezer burn will rise. However, it will be safe to eat with freezer burn, but it will not be very pleasant because the taste and flavor will have been lost.
How to Use Frozen Cooked Chicken?
Make a wonderful supper out of your frozen cooked chicken to take it to the next level. Add the chicken to stews, casseroles, and soups once it has thawed. Have chicken wings cooked in the freezer? Use an Instant Pot, oven, or air fryer to reheat them.
How Do We Freeze Cooked Chicken Properly?
- Make sure it is newly cooked.
- Place the cooked chicken on a plate and let the temperature cool, but do not let it sit out longer than 2 hours to avoid bacterial growth.
- Cut it into smaller pieces and put it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Squeeze out air from the bag and seal tightly; double wrap the bag or container with aluminum foil to prevent air leakage.
- Before putting the bag or container in the freezer, note the expiration date on the label.
- Ensure you keep the freezer at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to keep it fresh and safe for consumption.
How Do We Know When Frozen Cooked Chicken Has Gone Bad?
When defrosting chicken, there are a few warning signs to look out for. If you see these signs, it would be best to dispose of the chicken as it has likely been affected by bacteria, and eating it could lead to severe health conditions.
- The chicken might have discoloration, which is a sign that the chicken has been affected by bacteria.
- It might turn grey-green, which is a sign that it might be affected by green spots and indicates mold growth.
- If the chicken is affected by bacteria, it will develop a slimy feel or texture. The most common warning is that the chicken will start to develop an unpleasant smell and off appearance.
To avoid food wastage, cooked chicken can be frozen for 2-4months if the proper method and all the steps involved in preserving it are appropriately followed.
However, while you can technically freeze cooked chicken indefinitely, there will be a drop in freshness over time. That is also why I recommend constantly freezing it with a storage label; this way, you do not end up keeping it in the freezer for too long.