Who doesn’t love the convenience of a rotisserie chicken? It’s already seasoned, cooked, and ready to go. If you are in a hurry or just want an easy meal, grabbing one from the store can make life a little simpler.
Maybe you grabbed a rotisserie chicken for lunch and want to use the leftovers for a casserole the next day. Is that safe to do? How long does a rotisserie chicken actually last? Let’s look at some of the things that cause a rotisserie chicken to go bad and how you can make one last longer.
How Soon Does A Rotisserie Chicken Go Bad?
Rotisserie chicken that is warm should be eaten immediately as it will only last at room temperature for a couple of hours. If you are going to eat the chicken at a later time, you can refrigerate it as soon as you get home from the store and expect it to last for up to five days. Freezing, if done shortly after cooking, can keep it good for up to nine months.
What Is The Best Way To Store Rotisserie Chicken?
The best way to store a rotisserie chicken is to remove it from the bones and shred it. Once shredded, place it in a sealed bag or airtight container and store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. In most cases, this is the bottom shelf towards the back of the fridge.
If you want to freeze the chicken, you should use an airtight container that is meant for freezer use. Refrigerating or freezing the chicken as soon as possible will reduce the chances of bacteria and other contaminants making their way to the food, and will help it last longer.
How Should You Reheat Rotisserie Chicken?
Rotisserie chicken can be baked to rewarm it – though that tends to dry it out – or fried to get a better texture and flavor. Simply remove the shredded chicken from the refrigerator or freezer, let it come to room temperature, and add it to a greased skillet or baking dish.
You can use reheated rotisserie chicken in a variety of different recipes. It works best in soups, casseroles, and sandwiches. Leftover rotisserie chicken – even though it was previously cooked–should be reheated to 165 degrees to be considered safe to eat.
Once chicken has been reheated, it should not be frozen or refrigerated again. If you are not able to eat it all, the leftovers should be thrown away.
Can Rotisserie Chicken Be Frozen?
Rotisserie chicken can be frozen if you want to use it at a later time. While a whole rotisserie chicken can be frozen, it’s better to remove the chicken from the bone and freeze it.
Freezing the whole chicken leaves more room for air to get into packaging and cause freezer burn.
Removing the bones and shredding the chicken makes it possible to divide it into small bags for easier portions. If stored properly, the chicken can last in the freezer for up to nine months.
What Causes Rotisserie Chicken To Go Bad?
When rotisserie chicken is exposed to pathogens, it starts to go bad. Pathogens that can cause foodborne illness are common in our environments. Contamination can come from dirty hands, dirty utensils, mold spores, or food-borne bacteria.
These things can enter the chicken through the packaging or when it is being prepared. There’s no way to ensure that your chicken hasn’t been exposed to potentially dangerous pathogens. Instead, you need to handle it in a way that reduces bacterial growth.
The contaminants feed on the proteins in the chicken and spread. Bacteria thrives in warm, moist environments and if the chicken is not refrigerated, it will go bad quickly.
Tips To Make Rotisserie Chicken Last Longer
Rotisserie chickens can last for several days if stored and refrigerated properly. It’s best to prepare the chicken as soon as possible so you can enjoy it at its freshest. There are a few things you can do to help increase the longevity of your chicken.
Choose A Good Chicken
The best way to ensure your chicken lasts as long as possible is to choose a chicken that is fresh from the start. Choose a chicken that is still on the rotisserie if possible, so you know you are getting it as soon as it is finished cooking.
If you are choosing a rotisserie chicken that has already been cooked and is in the refrigerated section, check to see the time and date when the chicken was packaged and placed on the shelf.
Avoid chickens that are more than a day old and try to choose the freshest one possible.
Cut It First
Cutting the chicken off the bone makes it easier to store in an airtight container and also helps reduce the bacteria growth.
Meat tends to decay faster when left on the bone, because many of the bacteria that live in the bones of the chicken can spread to the meat.
Removing it before you store it will slow down the decay and help the chicken last longer.
Refrigerate It Quickly
The longer the chicken is left at room temperature or is not refrigerated, the more likely it is to go bad. Refrigerating the chicken within two hours of it being cooked will help prevent bacteria growth and help slow down the decay process.
Bacteria do not grow or reproduce well in cooler temperatures. Some types of bacteria can not grow in cool or cold temperatures at all and others experienced slowed growth in cooler temperatures.
Salmonella Enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes are the most common types of bacteria found on chicken. While all can grow in cooler environments, they grow must faster in warmer temperatures.
Move It To Different Packaging
Rotisserie chickens are usually packaged in bags or plastic containers with air holes. While these are okay for short-term storage, they are not meant for storing the chicken for more than a few hours.
Before you store the chicken in the refrigerator, move it to a better container. Air carries bacteria so it’s important to choose a container that is airtight. Freezer bags are another option. Sealing the chicken helps prevent and delay bacteria growth so the chicken lasts longer.
Is It Safe To Eat Rotisserie Chicken After The Expiration Date?
In some cases it is okay to eat a rotisserie chicken even after the expiration date – but we cannot promise that it will be safe.
The expiration date – or sell-by date on meat products – is the seller’s expectation of the time frame in which the chicken will be safe to eat, if it was handled properly.
If it sat at room temperature for several hours, or if it was exposed to contaminants, it could go bad even before the expiration date.
How Can You Tell If A Rotisserie Chicken Has Gone Bad?
Rotisserie chicken is already cooked before you buy it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to eat.
You really have no idea of how long a chicken was kept before it was cooked, or if it was stored or refrigerated properly before it was sold. It’s best to inspect the chicken closely before you eat it, so you can be sure it has not gone bad. Here are some things to look for.
A cooked rotisserie chicken should be a dull white color with no signs of mold growth. While the outside skins of the chicken may be dark due to browning or seasoning used in the cooking process, the meat itself should not have any color.
If the meat appears gray, green, or brown, it means it has started to decay and is no longer safe to eat.
One of the easiest ways to tell if chicken has gone bad is to check for a foul odor. When meat starts to rot, the bacteria begin to break down the meat and this creates a bad odor.
Many people compare the smell to a dead animal or rotten eggs. Cooked chicken should not have much of a scent at all. If it smells strong or has any type of odor, it’s best to throw it out and not eat it.
The expiration date on the rotisserie chicken can give you an idea of whether or not the chicken is safe to eat. While the expiration date itself is not a determiner of whether or not the chicken is fresh; it should be used for guidance.
If the chicken is out of date, take the time to inspect it thoroughly for other signs that could tell you if it is good or bad. It’s always better to err on the safe side and not consume expired chicken.
The texture of a cooked chicken should be firm and moist. Some white meat chicken can be dry. The chicken should not be overly wet or sticky.
If it has any type of slime or gelatinous material attached to it – other than the gelled collagen-rich juice at the bottom of the container – or if the meat seems to be gooey or soft, or if it is too dry, it may be going bad and should not be eaten. Nobody wants to eat a slimy, soft chicken, so if something seems off about it, throw it away.
Rotisserie chicken is a tasty and convenient meal option. You can find this precooked poultry at most grocery stores or order it from some restaurants. If you don’t plan to eat the chicken immediately, it will need to be refrigerated if you want to keep it good until you are ready to eat it.
A rotisserie chicken can last up to five days in the fridge and nine months in the freezer. The chicken should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and stored in an airtight container for the best results.
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