How Long Can Cooked Chicken Be Left Out At Room Temperature?


10 Answers

Lia Louis Profile
Lia Louis answered
How long can cooked chicken be left out at room temperature?
  • The general rule of thumb is that food shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Once you have feasted on the chicken, you must cool any leftovers as quickly as possible, not more than two hours at the most, and put them in the fridge.
  • After 2 hours, unfriendly bacteria starts to grow on the meat, making it unhealthy.
  • Also, you must avoid using any leftovers that have gone beyond the age of 48 hours.
Bacteria are present in our environment and the food, naturally. Food like poultry and eggs contain salmonella bacteria. This kind can cause food poisoning and typhoid fever, if present and consumed in large numbers. To practice food safety, store perishable foods like, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs quickly. These must be refrigerated as soon as possible. They must not spend more than two hours at typical room temperature, i.e., 78F (26C) or more than one hour at the temperature above 90F (32C). The food is likely to survive outside in winters, but in the middle of a heat wave, it doesn’t. The "danger zone” exposure should be minimized in order to keep the food healthy and edible.

The "danger zone” is a temperature range, specifically meant for food items, where the food borne bacteria multiply at a very fast rate. The danger zone is typically considered to be between 40°F (4.4°C) and 140°F (60°C). However, according to the 2005 FDA Food Code, the danger zone is defined as 41°F - 135°F (5°C - 57°C). The optimum temperature for bacteria to multiply is the mean of this range, i.e., 37C, where bacteria double in number about every 20 minutes.

Leaving cooked chicken out unrefrigerated over night can be enough to cause the bacteria to grow and increase the risk of food poisoning. Room temperature is perfect for breeding bacteria and anything over 40 degrees F will see bacteria multiply at an insatiably fast rate. As a general rule, all food (particularly items that contains meat) should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking. This time should be less still if it is a particularly hot day. The longer that the food is left out of the fridge, the more time the bacteria have to multiply.

After cooking meat, including poultry, you should always make sure it is securely wrapped and sealed before putting it into the fridge. This will help maintain the quality of the food but more importantly stop the juices dripping onto any other food. Poultry should be cooked or frozen within two days of purchasing and kept at a temperature of 40 degrees F or below. Thawing poultry can be done in the fridge, through being immersed in cold water, or in the microwave. The refrigerator is the safest way to defrost meat; however, no matter method you decide to use, make sure that you cook the meat immediately afterwards. When cooking poultry, it should reach the safe minimal internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Any cooked leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and stored in shallow containers. Try to use any leftovers within four days, but if you can’t it is perfectly safe to freeze them, where they can be kept for three to four months.

If you are unsure about how long chicken has been left out of the refrigerator, whether uncooked or cooked, it is recommended that you do not eat it. Eating chicken that is full of bacteria can cause severe food poisoning, leaving you quite ill.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Legally, In the UK:

Cold food can be left for 4 hours and hot food can be left out for 2 hours. Generally you should be able to tell by the smell, texture, appearance of the meat. If it has a slime like liquid its too bad to eat.
nerreece love Profile
nerreece love answered
No, it is not perfectly fine! When you leave food out over night it grows bacteria. You always, always keep your food in the fridge especial after you cook it. In fact as soon as your done cooking 5-10mins later then but it in the fridge. You can get sick from leaving meat out too long. Trust me I know what I'm talking about. Good luck.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
"In fact as soon as your done cooking 5-10mins later then but it in the fridge."

NO! That is the worst idea ever!!
When you put hot food into your refrigerator, it causes the internal temperature of the refrigerator to go up; which then puts ALL of your food in the refrigerator at risk!
NEVER put hot food in your refrigerator for this reason!
Ryan Profile
Ryan answered
I've done it plenty of times.  

I've eaten lots of things I've left out overnight without an issue.  Pizza, chicken, amongst other things.

I doubt I'd put it back in the fridge and save it for later after spending the night incubating in a warm room though.

Lakshmipriya Nair Profile
Most of the cooked foodstuffs should not be kept in room temperature for more than two hours. It is safer to discard foodstuffs that have been warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and for more than two hours. This rule applies for chicken also. It should and can be left only for a time san for two hours at room temperature. After that it starts spoiling due to chemical reactions and microscopic organisms.

Chicken left for a long time causes food borne diseases if consumed. It is due to the occurrence of harmful fungi, parasites, viruses and bacteria which are known as pathogens. Non- vegetarian food usually decomposes and spoils even earlier than vegetarian foods. Thus it wouldn't take more than two to three hours to spoil and hence shouldn't be left out in room temperature for longer periods of time.
Fabe Na Profile
Fabe Na answered
I leave chicken out for 24hrs and still eat it an been doing it for years. It covered, smell good, eat it. Your immune system gets weak from being too careful. Back in the day they ate it days after and  complained.  If you get bad chicken then it's bad!
Penny Kay Profile
Penny Kay answered
Well, even though these processed foods are inundated with preservatives, The general rule is 2 hours for chicken to be safe. Anything beyond that and you are taking chances on getting salmonella poisoning.
Sam O'Gara Profile
Sam O'Gara answered
I cannot believe people have to ask how long a cooked chicken can be left out. The answer is: If it is uncooked (you do not specify whether the meat is raw or cooked) under no circumstances eat it as you will contract a very nasty form of food poisoning which could even be fatal for a very old person or someone with another condition.
If it is already cooked it is still risky, but I would leave it up to you based on the smell of the meat. There is a specific rule for poultry called 40/140/2 which specifies that if poultry is left between 40 degrees F and below 140 degrees F for more than 2 hours it will be unfit to eat. Poultry poisoning is far worse than poisoning by red meat.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Only a couple hours. Otherwise it will start to get mould on it if you are not careful. You could also get sick from the chicken even if it looks like it doesn't have mould on it. I would not even leave it out more than 30 min.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Bacteria sets in between the temperatures of 41 and 140* F.

If it is a hot day - refrigerate within 15 minutes

normally - no more than 30 minutes

better safe than sorry

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