How Long Can Cooked Chicken Be Left Out at Room Temperature?


Question: How long can you let cooked chicken sit out before it becomes unsafe to eat? I cooked some chicken breasts for dinner and accidentally left them out overnight. Are they still safe?

Answer: Unfortunately, your chicken breasts are no longer safe to eat.

Leaving Cooked Chicken Out of the Fridge

You can safely leave cooked chicken out at room temperature for two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — says the United States Department of Agriculture.

Cooked chicken that has been sitting out for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour above 90° F) should be discarded. The reason is that bacteria grow rapidly when cooked chicken is kept at temperatures between 40° F and 140° F. To prevent foodborne illness, try to refrigerate the cooked chicken as soon as you can.

You can safely keep cooked chicken in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days; it will also keep well in the freezer for at least 4 months.

See Also:

Do You Have to Thaw Frozen Chicken Before Cooking It?

How Long Does Thawed Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Is It Necessary to Rinse Raw Chicken Before Cooking It?

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