How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out: The Safe Time Limit

When you’re cooking chicken, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t leave it out for too long.

This blog will give you some background information on the dangers of leaving cooked chicken out for too long, and it’ll also teach you how to store cooked chicken safely.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

It is not safe to leave the cooked chicken out for more than 2 hours. Even if it has been refrigerated, the bacteria that causes botulism can grow on it before you know it and make you sick.

Foodborne illness from eating contaminated food can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and headaches.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Stay In The Fridge?

Once cooked, chicken can be stored in a fridge for up to three days. When it comes to cooking meat, refrigeration is key.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out

The Dangers Of Leaving Cooked Chicken Out For Too Long

Harder than you think – according to the USDA, poultry may contain bacteria that cause food poisoning and other illnesses such as salmonellosis when left at room temperature for two hours or more. The bacteria can grow in the chicken and make you sick.

Factors That Affect The Length Of Time Cooked Chicken Can Sit Out

Time Of Day

During the day, it is more likely to be exposed to sunlight and other external factors, which can increase its temperature. This will cause the cooked chicken to spoil faster. Higher temperatures support bacteria growth.

The Amount Cooked

If it has been cooked in a smaller amount, there are fewer juices for the bacteria to grow on. It is also easier to refrigerate it when needed as well as easier for someone to eat a smaller portion than a large portion.

The Size Of The Chicken

Using smaller pieces of cooked chicken will not only make it easier to refrigerate, but it is also easier to eat in portions.

Food Safety Knowledge

If someone knows how long cooked chicken can stay out and the dangers of leaving cooked chicken out for too long, they are less likely to leave it out for too long.

Form Of The Chicken

Raw chicken is typically in a solid form but once cooked, it can be shredded or cut into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces of meat are easier to store and put away than larger ones.

The Way It Was Cooked

Certain cooking methods use different cooking times than others. Therefore, a cooked chicken that has been roasted, fried, or barbequed will be safe to eat in less time than a piece of chicken that was breaded and then fried.

How To Store Cooked Chicken Safely?

Cold food should be kept on the fridge’s top shelf, whereas hot food should be stored on the lower shelves. When preparing to take the cooked chicken out of the fridge, it should be heated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.

Storage time may be reduced if cooked chicken has been marinated or stored in a container that has not been airtight. Leaving cooked chicken out for too long is not safe, but there are ways to store it safely so that you don’t get sick from botulism.


Whether you’re cooking chicken or turkey, knowing how long it can sit out before it spoils is crucial to the safety of your food. When keeping cooked food in the fridge, use these tips if you need help storing your food properly.

Publisher at Foods Kitchen
I am Naznin, the recipe creator and blogger behind Foods Kitchen (since 2021). I like to try new recipes, especially when they are delicious, so those are my recipes... Hope you like it! Thank you for your time!
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