Raw Chicken in The Fridge for Three Days? Here’s What Happens

You know those times where you feel inspired to make a chicken-based meal and you make a quick run to the store, but instead of cooking the chicken, you get caught up in the buzz of something else?

It happens to the best of us. 

Before you know it, you’re left with a bunch of unopened packets of seasoning and packages of raw chicken that you now have to store. 

Questions begin to spiral in your mind; how long do you leave the chicken in the fridge before it gets bad? How many days are ideal? 

Keep reading to see how long your raw chicken can last in the fridge.

What Happens When You Leave the Raw Chicken in The Fridge for Three Days?

Because raw chicken is still good up to 1-2 days in the fridge, minor signs of spoilage may surface on your raw chicken after three days in the fridge. When you leave the raw chicken in the fridge for three days, you should expect slight signs of spoilage, this means that the chicken has already begun to spoil so the signs might be a bit mild. 

What are these things that happen when you leave the raw chicken in the fridge for three days?

  • Minor color changes
  • Slight changes in smell
  • Some change in texture
  • Evidence of bacterial growth

However, raw chicken kept in the fridge for three days may not have experienced any of these changes mentioned if the chicken has not stayed raw beyond its sell-by date and/or expiration date. 

How long will raw chicken last in the fridge?

1-2 days. Raw chicken left in the fridge can last up to 48 hours. Leaving it for days after that will definitely cause it to start getting spoilt. Leaving the raw chicken for even three days in the fridge is not an A+ idea even if it is one day past the recommended number of days. 

Can I cook raw chicken that has been in the fridge for four days?

No, you really should avoid doing such. Raw chicken that has been in the fridge for three days or more is potentially problematic for your health. From its smell to its taste, its feel, and even its color, the health risks it poses are just one of the numerous issues with raw chicken that has been in the fridge for four days. 

Even if you did manage to make something out of such a chicken, I can assure you of a disappointing taste. After four days of staying in the fridge, its quality begins to diminish and no amount of salvaging can undo that. 

Read also: What Happens When You Keep Raw Ground Beef in The Fridge for Seven Days?

Can I cook raw chicken that has been in the fridge for a week?

No, you can’t. Raw chicken can last 1-2 days in the fridge. After this period, signs of spoilage begin to suffice. If your raw chicken has spent five days after the recommended number of days to preserve your raw chicken in the fridge, you may want to consider making a LeBron James and quickly toss the chicken into the trash. 

During the 48 hours recommended mark, if at any point you decide to postpone the usage of your raw chicken, transferring it to your freezer will serve you better. Individual sizes of raw chicken can stay up to nine months in the freezer while whole-sized pieces of raw chicken can be preserved up to a year in the freezer. This isn’t a ‘maybe’ situation, if you want your raw chicken preserved for a longer period, actively consider storing it in a freezer rather than a fridge. 

Read also: Does Ketchup Need to be Refrigerated After Opening?

How to tell when raw chicken is bad in the fridge

When storing perishables, it will pay you to always be on the lookout for signs of spoilage. 

Here’s how to tell when raw chicken is bad:

Check the expiration date

The expiration date on the packaging of the chicken can provide the manufacturer’s information on the health of your raw chicken. If the raw chicken has stayed raw beyond its expiration date, you may want to throw it out. 

In as much as this method is straightforward and quite accessible, it is still nice to employ your senses in checking the health of your raw chicken in the fridge because sometimes the chicken may still be okay even though it has crossed its expiration date.

Examine for bacterial growth

Colorful spots of mold begin to grow on the skin or fatty areas of the chicken when it starts to spoil. When you notice this, it is trash O’clock. 

Take a quick sniff

Taking a whiff of your raw chicken can give you information on it. Good raw chicken smells fleshy and a bit acidic. But the moment you get a concentrated acidic smell or an odor that indicates rotting, you should let that chicken go. 

Feel the texture

The texture of healthy raw chicken is not slimy or sticky. It feels soft and tender. The point where you start to get a slimy or sticky feel from your raw chicken in the fridge, that’s an automatic red flag. Please ditch that piece of chicken. 

Notice a color change?

If the color of your raw chicken changes from light pink to gray or green, it has gone bad and should not be eaten.

If you notice any of these things on your raw chicken, please don’t try to cook and eat it. It is not good for your health. 

Is Raw Chicken in Fridge For 3 Days Still Eatable?

Raw chicken will typically last in your fridge for 1-2 days. On the third day, it might still be good if your fridge is at 40-45 degrees F. However, we recommend checking it thoroughly to ensure it hasn’t gone bad before eating it. You can check the expiry date or check for bad smells, slimy texture, and color change. If you notice any of these, then it has gone bad and should not be consumed.

It is also important to note that some nasty bugs that might’ve developed in your chicken will not smell, look or taste bad. If you don’t plan on cooking the chicken right away, it is best to store it properly packed in the freezer. Raw chicken properly stored in the freezer can last for up to 9 months. Generally, to be on the safer side, it’s best to store raw chicken in the freezer and then let it thaw in the fridge and cook it within 2 days.

Can you leave the thawed chicken in the fridge for 3 days?

Yes, you can leave the thawed chicken in the fridge for 3 days. If the chicken was properly frozen and fresh when transferred to the fridge to thaw, then it should be fine for 3 days. The chicken would probably take about a day or two to thaw in the first place and it does not have to be cooked immediately if it was thawed in the fridge. If the chicken was thawed in water or a microwave, then it should be cooked immediately to prevent the growth of bacteria.

How Long Will Raw Chicken Last in The Fridge?

Raw chicken will typically last in your fridge for 1-2 days at 40-45 degrees F. If you are going to leave it in the fridge for longer, then we strongly recommend checking it thoroughly to ensure it hasn’t gone bad before eating it. You can check the expiry date or check for bad smells, slimy texture, and color change. If you notice any of these, then it has gone bad and should not be consumed.

It is also important to note that some nasty bugs that might’ve developed in your chicken will not smell, look or taste bad. If you don’t plan on cooking the chicken right away, it is best to store it properly packed in the freezer. Raw chicken properly stored in the freezer can last for up to 9 months. Generally, to be on the safer side, it’s best to store raw chicken in the freezer and then let it thaw in the fridge and cook it within 2 days.

Is Chicken Still Ok 2 Or 3 Days After Use-By Date?

It is generally advisable to eat the chicken before the use-by date to be safe. If it is properly packed and frozen before the use-by date, then it will be okay to eat it after being thawed for at most a day or two. Otherwise, it might still be edible 2 days after the use-by date but you should not eat it anymore 3 days after. It might’ve gone bad or gotten to a state where it’s dry, sticky, and unappealing.

The best way to decide if it’s still okay is by thoroughly checking it for bad smell, slimy texture, and color change. It is also important to note that some nasty bugs that might’ve developed in your chicken will not smell, look or taste bad. If you don’t plan on cooking the chicken right away, it is best to store it properly packed in the freezer.

What Happens When You Eat Out-Of-Date Chicken?

Out of date chicken could contain bacteria like salmonella, E Coli, campylobacter, clostridium, and listeria that produce toxins and cause food poisoning. Eating contaminated chicken can cause some scary symptoms like vomiting high fever, bloody stools, chills, dehydration, nausea, and diarrhea. In the worst cases, food poisoning can send a person to the hospital for a long time or even cause death.

How Can You Tell If Raw Chicken Is Off?

To confirm if the raw chicken has gone bad, you can check for bad smell, slimy texture, or color change. Raw chicken in an edible state should be light pink and have white fatty pieces. While mild color changes in the flesh of the chicken can be normal, gray or green flesh and yellow fatty pieces are clear signs of spoilage and it should not be eaten. Other obvious signs are mold growth, sulfur-like or sour smell, and very slimy or sticky texture.

How Long Does It Take to Get Food Poisoning from Chicken?

The symptoms associated with food poisoning from chicken may come on 8 to 72 hours after consuming bacteria-infested or spoiled chicken. The symptoms can range from mild to aggressive depending on body type and can last anywhere between 48 hours and several weeks depending on the severity and treatment.

Conclusion

“When in doubt, throw it out” is the only rule to go by when deciding if a raw chicken is still edible. If you don’t trust it, simply don’t eat it or risk getting infected. If you’re not going to use the chicken within 2 days, it’s best to still cook it and refrigerate it or freeze it until you’re ready to use it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.