Do you like to cook in bulk, or do you have leftover chicken? Learn how to safely freeze and thaw cooked chicken when you are ready to use it. Learn how long cooked poultry will last in your freezer, and find out some great recipes for defrosted chicken.
Many people love chicken for its versatility and taste. It also contains a lot of protein. You can store cooked chicken for a long time in the freezer, whether you like to batch cook or have leftovers of your Rotisserie Chicken. Learn how to freeze cooked chicken and then thaw it later.
Can you freeze cooked poultry?
You can freeze cooked chicken. It’s all about convenience when it comes to freezing cooked chicken and cooked food in general. Preparing meals in advance can save you time if you’re on a tight schedule. When you freeze leftovers properly, you reduce your food waste and save money over time.
Can you freeze cooked chicken of any type?
Yes, again. You can freeze cooked chicken in a form you want to use later or the way you intend to incorporate it into your recipe. You can freeze whole cooked breasts if you intend to use them in future meals.
If you plan to use leftover rotisserie meat for soups or stews or as a filling in savory pies without skin or bones, then consider freezing it shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces. You can use the bones for broth or stock.
How do you store cooked chicken in the refrigerator?
When freezing cooked meat, you should also consider the portion size. You’ll find it easier to manage smaller portions when you defrost them later, and there will be less food waste.
Consider these tips when storing cooked chicken in your freezer:
- You should not leave your chicken at room temperature for more than two hours. According to USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, you will have to throw it out if it’s been at room temperature longer than two hours. This is because bacteria can grow to levels that could make you sick if the chicken is left outside for a period of time beyond this.
- After the chicken has cooled, remove the skin, fat, and bones and then cut it into pieces depending on what you intend to use the meat for.
- Flash-freeze chicken on a baking tray lined with parchment paper for about an hour.
- Label your containers or bags and when you stow them away in the freezer. Label your bags or containers and use the method to store them in the freezer.
How long can cooked chicken be frozen?
According to the USDA’s Chart for Cold Food Storage, cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. The storage time is reduced to 2 to 3 months when the meat is added to soups or stews. The meat quality can decrease and become more susceptible to freezer burn after the timeline suggested.
How to defrost cooked frozen chicken?
You can thaw your cooked frozen chicken in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can defrost frozen cooked chicken in the microwave if you’re in a rush, but we don’t recommend this method. Look out for any cold spots on the meat’s center when using this method. If you notice that the edges of the meat are overcooked, it may be because they have been defrosted unevenly.
Reheat the meat on the stovetop, or in the microwave to a temperature of at least 73.9degC (165degF), as per USDA. Use a food temperature to measure the internal temperature.
It is not recommended to reheat frozen chicken in a steamer, slow cooker, or chafing plate because they are all food warmers. The food’s temperature will be hovering in the dangerous zone, between 40degF to 140degF (4degC to 60degC), which can lead to bacteria growth and increase the risk of food.
Can you refreeze previously frozen chicken?
You may still find yourself with leftovers even if you have tried to portion out your cooked frozen chicken. Can you refreeze cooked chicken that has been frozen?
It is not recommended to refreeze chicken meat that has been cooked, frozen, defrosted, and reheated. This is because bacteria can grow every time food is handled. It is best to only cook, defrost (or refrigerate), and reheat food one time. If you still have some unfinished, previously frozen chicken, it’s best to throw it out rather than risk food poisoning.
What can you do to ensure that frozen chicken is safe to eat after it has been cooked?
Look for signs of spoilage. Check for signs that the meat has spoiled. Has it changed color? Is there visible mold? Does the meat smell or look slimy when it is thawed? If you answered yes to any of these, it is best to throw out your cooked chicken.
How can I use frozen chicken?
After it has thawed, add the chicken to soups, stews, and casseroles. Add the chicken after it has been thawed to soups, stews, or casseroles. You can reheat them using an air fryer or an instant pot.
It’s a time-saver to have frozen cooked chicken on hand for weeknight meals. Knowing how to safely freeze cooked chicken can be very helpful. Browse our collection of recipes to see how you can use your thawed chicken, especially on those hectic days.