Rotisserie chickens make for a convenient and delicious meal. Their flavorful, tender meat can be enjoyed hot off the rotisserie or used in various recipes. But if you don’t finish the whole chicken right away, you may wonder – how long can you safely eat leftover rotisserie chicken?
Proper storage is key to getting the most out of your rotisserie chicken and avoiding food waste. Read on for a complete guide to maximizing the shelf life and safety of rotisserie chickens.
How Long Does Rotisserie Chicken Last?
According to the USDA, fresh rotisserie chicken will last:
- Refrigerator: 3 to 4 days
- Freezer: 4 to 6 months
These timeframes apply to whole rotisserie chickens as well as cooked rotisserie chicken that has been portioned or shredded.
To maximize freshness and food safety, follow these guidelines:
- Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking
- Store in airtight containers or bags
- Freeze for longer term storage
With proper refrigeration, you can safely enjoy rotisserie chicken for up to 4 days after purchasing it cooked.
Does Rotisserie Chicken Go Bad?
Yes, rotisserie chicken can go bad if not stored and handled properly. Signs that rotisserie chicken has spoiled include:
- Slimy texture
- Discoloration or graying meat
- Off odors
Rotisserie chicken can also spoil if left out at room temperature for over 2 hours. Bacteria grow rapidly between 40°F and 140°F.
When in doubt, remember the old adage – “When in doubt, throw it out.” Don’t risk eating spoiled chicken.
Tips For Storing Rotisserie Chicken
Follow these best practices to store rotisserie chicken safely:
- Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
- Store in airtight containers or bags.
- Portion into smaller amounts for quick cooling.
- Place in coldest part of refrigerator.
- Use within 3-4 days for best quality.
- Freeze for longer storage up to 4-6 months.
Proper refrigeration and freezing are essential for rotisserie chicken safety and freshness.
How To Freeze Rotisserie Chicken
Freezing is great for long-term storage or keeping extras:
- Allow chicken to cool completely first.
- Portion chicken into airtight bags or containers.
- Remove as much air as possible before sealing.
- Label package with contents and date.
- Freeze for up to 4-6 months.
Freeze rotisserie chicken within the 4 day recommended refrigerator shelf life for best quality.
Thawing Frozen Rotisserie Chicken
To safely thaw frozen rotisserie chicken:
- Place sealed package in refrigerator overnight.
- Thaw in cold water, changing water every 30 mins.
- Thaw in microwave, then immediately cook.
- Cook from frozen in oven or instant pot.
Once thawed, use within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze chicken after thawing.
How To Reheat Rotisserie Chicken
Reheating restores rotisserie chicken to crispy, juicy perfection. Recommended methods:
Oven: Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until heated through.
Stovetop: Pan fry over medium-high heat until hot and crispy.
Microwave: Heat pieces in microwave-safe dish, checking often.
Reheat rotisserie chicken to 165°F minimum internal temperature. Discard chicken if reheating doesn’t restore appealing color, flavor, or texture.
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Be Left Out?
Cooked rotisserie chicken should not sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After this point, bacteria can multiply quickly and cause foodborne illness.
If the chicken has been left out longer than 2 hours, it’s safest to discard it. Don’t take risks with potential food poisoning.
Cooked Chicken Storage FAQs
How long does cooked rotisserie chicken last in the fridge?
Refrigerated properly, cooked rotisserie chicken lasts 3 to 4 days.
Can you eat rotisserie chicken after 7 days?
It’s not recommended to eat rotisserie chicken refrigerated for longer than 4-5 days, even if properly stored. Discard chicken refrigerated for 7+ days.
Is it safe to eat rotisserie chicken after use by date?
It’s best not to eat rotisserie chicken beyond the use by date printed on the packaging. This date accounts for food safety.
What happens if you eat bad chicken?
Eating spoiled chicken can cause foodborne illness symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headaches, and body aches. See a doctor if you experience these.
Storing Chicken Safely
With proper refrigeration and freezing, rotisserie chicken can be safely enjoyed for up to 4 days after purchasing. Follow the storage, thawing, and reheating tips in this guide to maximize freshness and avoid foodborne illness from spoiled chicken.
Eat refrigerated rotisserie chicken within 3-4 days and frozen chicken within 4-6 months for best quality and food safety. Be sure to discard any chicken that smells, looks, or tastes off. Bon appétit!