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Is raw chicken OK in the fridge for 5 days?

For many people, chicken is a staple food that is a part of many meals. It is versatile, affordable, and easy to prepare. However, there are concerns about the safety of raw chicken, especially when it comes to how long it can be stored in the fridge.

The question that often arises is whether or not raw chicken is okay to keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. To answer this question definitively, we must look at several factors that affect the shelf life of chicken.

Factors That Affect the Shelf Life of Chicken

When it comes to the shelf life of raw chicken, several factors can affect its safety and how long it can be stored. These factors include temperature, packaging, and storage conditions.


One of the primary factors that can affect the shelf life of raw chicken is temperature. The USDA recommends that raw chicken should be stored at a temperature of 40°F or below (1). This is because bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses can grow rapidly in temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F. Therefore, it is essential to keep raw chicken at the right temperature to prevent illness.


Another factor that can affect the shelf life of raw chicken is how it is packaged. When purchasing chicken, always check the expiration date and look for packaging that is intact and not damaged. Chicken that is wrapped in airtight packaging will last longer in the fridge than chicken that is not.

Storage Conditions

The storage conditions of raw chicken can also affect its shelf life. When storing chicken, it should be kept on the bottom shelf of the fridge to catch any juices that may leak out, preventing cross-contamination with other foods. Additionally, chicken stored in the fridge should be kept away from other foods to prevent contamination.

How Long Can Raw Chicken Be Kept in the Fridge?

The USDA states that raw chicken can be kept in your fridge for approximately 1–2 days (1). While this is a general guideline, other factors like temperature, packaging, and storage conditions can all play a role. However, it is recommended to cook or freeze raw chicken within 2 days after bringing it home from the grocery store.

Is It Safe to Eat Raw Chicken After 5 Days in the Fridge?

While chicken that has been stored in the fridge for 5 days may still look and smell okay, it is not safe to eat and should not be consumed. Bacteria that can cause foodborne illness can grow at temperatures as low as 40°F. Therefore, it is important to use or freeze raw chicken within the recommended time frame to ensure safety.

How to Store Chicken Safely

To ensure that raw chicken stays fresh, it is essential to store it properly. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Put it in the fridge or freezer immediately

As soon as you get home from the grocery store, put your chicken in the fridge or freezer. This will ensure that the chicken stays at a safe temperature.

2. Keep it at the right temperature

As previously mentioned, raw chicken should be stored at a temperature of 40°F or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer to verify that your fridge is at the correct temperature.

3. Store in airtight packaging

Chicken should be stored in airtight packaging to prevent bacteria from entering and contaminating the chicken. If the chicken isn’t airtight, rewrap it in plastic wrap to ensure that it is sealed securely.

4. Use it or freeze it within 2 days

It is recommended to cook or freeze raw chicken within 2 days after purchasing it. This will help to prevent bacteria from growing and making you sick.


In summation, raw chicken is not okay to keep in the fridge for 5 days. While the USDA recommends that raw chicken should be stored in the fridge for no more than 1–2 days, they also suggest cooking or freezing the chicken within 2 days after bringing it home from the store. Proper storage, handling, and cooking of raw chicken can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria. Therefore, it is essential to follow the recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of your food and to protect the health of you and your family.


Can I use 5 day old chicken?

Cooked chicken can be kept refrigerated for up to four days and frozen for up to three months, according to the USDA guidelines. After that time, it’s best to dispose of it.

Eating cooked chicken after five days might seem tempting, especially if it looks and smells okay. However, even though cooked chicken can last a while in the fridge, it can still harbor dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria.

Bacteria can grow at temperatures between 41 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, known as the danger zone. After four hours in the danger zone, cooked chicken becomes unsafe to eat. If you have any doubt about the safety of your chicken, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

It’S recommended to use cooked chicken within three to four days to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. To ensure that your chicken is safe to eat, always store it properly in an airtight container and keep it at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long can chicken stay in the fridge after thawing?

Once you have thawed your chicken in the refrigerator, you might be wondering how long it is safe to keep it in there. The answer depends on several factors.

Firstly, it is essential to ensure that your chicken has been thawed safely. The recommended method is to thaw chicken in the refrigerator, as it allows for slow and even thawing, preventing bacterial growth and maintaining the quality of the meat. To do this, remove the chicken from the freezer and place it in a shallow dish on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. It is recommended to allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of chicken, so make sure to plan ahead.

Once your chicken has thawed, it is safe to keep it in the refrigerator for a few days, but not indefinitely. The exact amount of time depends on a few different factors, including the type of chicken you have and how it has been prepared.

For example, cooked chicken will generally last longer in the refrigerator than raw chicken. Cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days, whereas raw chicken should be used within two days of thawing. This is because raw chicken is more susceptible to bacterial growth than cooked chicken, which has already been heated to a temperature that kills bacteria.

Similarly, different types of chicken may have different storage times. Ground chicken, for example, should be used within one to two days of thawing, while whole chicken pieces (such as breasts, thighs, or wings) can be stored for up to three to four days.

It is also important to note that the temperature of your refrigerator can play a role in how long your chicken will stay fresh. The FDA recommends that your refrigerator be set to 40°F or below, as temperatures above this can encourage bacterial growth.

While foods are in the process of thawing in the refrigerator, they remain safe. After thawing, use ground meats, poultry, and fish within one or two additional days, and use beef, pork, lamb, or veal (roasts, steaks, or chops) within three to five days. Remember to always practice food safety and discard any chicken that appears or smells off.