How Long Can Chicken Sit Out?

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Baked chicken is the most popular food in my house, and I can eat it any time of the day or night.

Yet, I have encountered mold on chicken breasts or even spoiled meat in my refrigerator several times.

I would lose track of how long the chicken had to stay out.

So, I’d end up tossing it out.

Nevertheless, there are guidelines on how long you can leave your chicken out before cooking or serving it.

So, how long can chicken sit out?

Chicken should not sit out for longer than two hours.

Moreover, when the temperature exceeds 90°F (32.2°C), eating the chicken after an hour of sitting out is unsafe.

Bacteria that cause illnesses multiply rapidly at temperatures ranging from 40 to 140°F.

So, if the chicken sits out longer than 2 hours, dispose of it.

This article examines how long chicken can sit out before it becomes unsafe to eat.

Also included in the article are tips for turning baked chicken into a juicy treat that everyone will enjoy.

How Long Can Chicken Sit Out

What is the maximum time that raw chicken can be left out?

You can safely leave the raw chicken out at room temperature for two hours.

However, ensure it’s not in direct sunlight or extreme heat. 

If the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken should only be out for one hour or less.

The longer you wait, the more bacteria can multiply and cause illness.

What is the maximum time that cooked chicken can be left out?

After cooking chicken, you can let it sit at room temperature for not more than two hours.

However, if the temperature exceeds 90°F, ensure it doesn’t stay out for more than one hour.

If you leave cooked chicken out beyond this time, it will become unsafe to eat.

You should discard cooked chicken left out for one or two hours if the temperature exceeds 90° F.

This is because bacteria can proliferate at such temperatures.

Moreover, if you need to store the cooked chicken for more than 24 hours, freeze it in parts or pieces.

Is it safe to consume chicken that has been left out overnight?

Bacterial growth and foodborne illnesses can occur if a chicken is left out overnight.

Bacteria like salmonella and E. coli can spread quickly and cause an infection when you consume such chicken.

Moreover, no amount of reheating will destroy the toxins released by these bacteria.

Any chicken left out overnight loses its natural antioxidant value, a process known as lipid hydrolysis.

In addition, the meat no longer has the same moisture level as it did when the chicken was fresh.

Both factors contribute to foodborne illness as well as dryness.

So, throw out any chicken you left out since it’s no longer safe to consume.

Is it safe to leave the chicken out overnight to thaw?

When you’re thawing chicken or any other frozen meal, ensure that you don’t leave it out overnight.

There may be exponential growth and multiplication of bacteria within.

Instead, let frozen meat thaw in the fridge before cooking it.

Remove the frozen chicken from the freezer.

Then, let the chicken rest in the fridge for 40 minutes to one hour before cooking or warming it.

How Long Can Chicken Sit Out? 1

How to Refrigerate and Freeze Chicken

You can refrigerate your cooked chicken for up to four days or freeze it for 3 to 4 months.

This guide will show you how to refrigerate and freeze chicken safely.

To refrigerate your chicken:

  1. Wash your chicken inside and out before putting it in the refrigerator.
  2. Put your chicken in a tightly sealed plastic bag or container so that the air can’t escape, and keep it cold until ready to use.

The cold temperature will slow down the bacteria’s growth.

Moreover, it can help stop the meat from drying out or getting too soft.

To freeze your chicken:

  1. Wash the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch pieces or smaller if possible.
  3. Place each piece of raw chicken in an airtight freezer bag, seal tightly, and place in your freezer. You can also use a container with a gallon-size resealable food storage bag over the top. It will help keep out air.

You should consume frozen leftovers within two to six months of freezing.

However, these leftovers are seldom as delicious as when they were first prepared.

Thus, don’t freeze leftovers unless it’s necessary.

How to Bake Chicken Breasts with a Succulent, Tender Texture

Baking chicken is not only quick but also easy.

Here’s how to make delicious chicken that everyone will love:

Ingredients

  • Brown sugar(packed), one tbsp
  • Paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Dried oregano/rosemary/thyme/parsley, 1 teaspoon
  • Salt, one teaspoon (use chicken salt, seasoned salt, or adobo salt to enhance the flavor)
  • Garlic powder, half a teaspoon
  • Onion powder, half a teaspoon
  • Approximately 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, depending on your taste
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or one teaspoon chili powder for an extra kick of heat.
  • Large chicken breasts, 4, each weighing 7 oz. or 200 g.
  • Olive oil, 1 tbsp.

Optional:

  • Butter, 3 tbsps.
  • Two minced or finely chopped garlic cloves
  • Freshly cut parsley, two teaspoons

Directions

  1. Preheat a standard oven to 425°F or 220°C. If you have a fan-forced or conventional oven, preheat it to 390°F or 200°C.
  2. Prepare the chicken breasts by pounding them to 0.8 inches or 2 cm at the thickest points using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Ensure all the filets have a similar thickness for even cooking.
  3. Put sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, powders, and oregano in a bowl and mix well. If you’re using chili, add it too.
  4. Place aluminum foil or baking/parchment paper on a baking pan. Prepare your chicken breasts by putting them in the pan and seasoning them. Apply the oil and coat evenly with seasoning.
  5. Using a meat thermometer, ensure to bake the chicken at 165°F (75°C) for 16-18 minutes in a preheated oven. Ensure the edges are crisp and golden.
  6. Discard the parchment paper. For a golden and crisp result, broil (grill) the food for 2-3 minutes on high heat.
  7. When the chicken is done cooking, remove the meat from the oven and place it on serving plates. Allow this juicy meat to rest for at least six minutes before you serve it.

Optional:

The chicken can also be topped with melted butter.

To accomplish this: 

  1. Heat butter over low heat in a small skillet while the chicken bakes.
  2. Heat a pan and sauté the garlic until it’s fragrant. Sautéing should take approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Add parsley and pour the butter mixture into the pan juices. Stir well to ensure all the flavors combine.
  4. Drizzle the pan juices over the chicken and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Tips for Baking Delicious Chicken Breast

Baking chicken breasts is an easy yet time-consuming task.

This is because some effort and time are involved in baking chicken the right way, but the results are worth it.

Here are some tips for baking a delicious chicken:

  1. Use whole chicken breast. You can get more meat with less fat. Additionally, whole chicken breasts are easier to cook than boneless or skinless chicken breasts.
  2. Bake your chicken breasts at a lower temperature than you need to cook them on the grill or in a pan. This will help keep the meat moist and tender while keeping it to a safe internal temperature before overcooking.
  3. Be generous with your seasoning. Season the bird with salt and black pepper inside and out. You can add more seasonings to enhance flavor, but avoid overdoing it.
  4. Ensure your chicken breast is cooked through but not overdone. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken.
  5. Use any oil during baking. For instance, olive oil is a good choice because it adds flavor without adding too much fat or calories. However, avoid using canola oil. When exposed to high heat, canola oil turns rancid rapidly, causing your chicken breast to taste and smell bad.

Side Dishes to Serve with Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are a great way to add protein to your diet.

However, they can be hard to work with when trying to add variety to your meal.

Still, there are so many ways to make chicken breasts extra special.

Here are some of our favorite side dishes for chicken breasts:

Green Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms 

Green beans with mushrooms are a classic combination that’s hearty and flavorful.

The mushrooms add an earthy flavor to the dish, which pairs well with the smoky flavor of the chicken.

On the other hand, the sweet flavor of the green beans will balance out the richness of the chicken and make it even tastier.

Rosemary Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes

These smashed potatoes will surely blow your mind with their rich garlic butter flavor.

Moreover, they are incredibly simple to make; you must put everything into a pan and bake.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

A cheesy scalloped potato is classic comfort food that goes great with baked chicken.

If you want something hearty on hand for your guests, this is an easy side dish to whip up.

Conclusion

You shouldn’t let the chicken sit out for more than two hours.

However, avoid the risk altogether by never leaving cooked chicken at room temperature for more than one hour.

To keep bacteria at bay, you should only store chicken in the refrigerator or freezer.

When possible, consume freshly cooked chicken right away.

How Long Can Chicken Sit Out

How Long Can Chicken Sit Out? All You Need To Know

Baked chicken is the most popular food in my house, and I can eat it any time of the day or night.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 335 kcal

Equipment

  • oven

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat a standard oven to 425°F or 220°C. If you have a fan-forced or conventional oven, preheat it to 390°F or 200°C.
  • Prepare the chicken breasts by pounding them to 0.8 inches or 2 cm at the thickest points using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Ensure all the filets have a similar thickness for even cooking.
  • Put sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, powders, and oregano in a bowl and mix well. If you’re using chili, add it too.
  • Place aluminum foil or baking/parchment paper on a baking pan. Prepare your chicken breasts by putting them in the pan and seasoning them. Apply the oil and coat evenly with seasoning.
  • Using a meat thermometer, ensure to bake the chicken at 165°F (75°C) for 16-18 minutes in a preheated oven. Ensure the edges are crisp and golden.
  • Discard the parchment paper. For a golden and crisp result, broil (grill) the food for 2-3 minutes on high heat.
  • When the chicken is done cooking, remove the meat from the oven and place it on serving plates. Allow this juicy meat to rest for at least six minutes before you serve it.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 56gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 695mgPotassium: 1002mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 202IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg
Keyword How Long Can Chicken Sit Out? All You Need To Know
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