How to Keep Leftover Chicken Roast Fresh for Longer

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No matter how you choose to roast your chicken, if you make more than you can handle, there are ways to prevent it from going to waste. Who doesn’t want some cooked chicken left in the refrigerator for use whenever needed?

No matter the dish, some leftover chicken roast can be added to it to spice things up. It can decorate your salads or transform them into an entire main course. You can slice, shred, boil, or heat it. You can even use it as a midnight snack when you have nothing else to eat.

It is best to use frozen chicken roast cautiously since there is no definite way to determine whether it has spoiled. Try to label your containers or plastic bags with the expiry date, which should be three to four days after storage.

1. Prepare for Freezing

Before you attempt to freeze a leftover chicken roast, you need to abide by the basic rules of roast chicken leftover storage. It is possible to freeze a roast chicken when it’s hot. However, that can ruin your refrigerator and decrease the life of the roast chicken.

It is best to allow the chicken to cool down by preparing an ice bath and letting it float in a container on top. If the chicken is too big to handle, try cutting it into smaller pieces first. Moreover, remove the chicken skin before freezing it since it can get rubbery.

2. Make it Airtight

After you have prepared it for freezing, procure a container or Ziploc bag to ensure the air doesn’t affect your chicken. When chicken is wrapped in airtight containers, it is free of contamination. This contamination can come from the air or the food around it.

Make sure to use a bag that is as big as the chicken. Large containers that store small amounts of roast chicken can also lead to the chicken spoiling in less time since the excess air can encourage moisture and bacteria.

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

3. Freeze it

Proper freezing techniques can lead to optimized roast chicken leftover storage. Uncooked chicken can be frozen for long periods (until its expiry date), and the best way to store it is in an airtight bag or container.

In the case of leftover chicken roast, you can wrap it in the same airtight container and freeze it. However, it will only last about three to four days before it spoils. It is best to write the expiry date on the container with a marker, so you know when to remove it.

A chicken roast can be defrosted in the oven or skillet. However, you must follow proper procedures when defrosting it. Discoloration or smell would mean that chicken has spoiled and should be avoided.

How to Re-Use Frozen Chicken Roast

Any cooked chicken, be it roasted, grilled, or baked, can be frozen in a freezer for up to four days if properly sealed. The same is true with fried chicken, but freezing will impact the experience. Frozen chicken, when thawed, tastes different. And you can forget that crunch you get with fresh fried chicken!

Reheating different kinds of chicken requires different techniques. A fried chicken will need to be crisped up in the oven, while you can get away with microwaving roast chicken. Trusting your instincts when it comes to chicken is best since bad chicken can land you in the bathroom, if not the hospital, for hours.

When Chicken Goes Bad

There are some telltale signs to spot spoiled leftover chicken roast. Here are some signs your frozen chicken isn’t fit for consumption;

  1. The chicken looks off and seems to spot mold or gray coloration.
  2. The chicken doesn’t smell that great. Chicken that has spoiled will often smell off, quite like the smell of rotten eggs. However, roast chicken is often marinated or drenched in sauces which can confuse your senses. In this case, move on to the third tip.
  3. Spoiled chicken will not feel the same as before. It will feel slippery and rubbery.

The best way to treat a chicken which might have spoiled is to throw it out. Tasting spoiled chicken may lead to food poisoning, which is a big price to pay for roast chicken!

Risks of Consuming Spoiled Chicken

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t consume spoiled chicken;

  1. You can get salmonella which will eventually lead to food poisoning.
  2. Food poisoning can cause extreme pain, fever, discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, and death in the worst cases.
  3. You will get infected with bacteria that can weaken your stomach.
  4. The bacteria present in spoiled chicken do not get removed when the chicken is cooked.

To Sum it Up

It is best to store roast chicken properly if you plan on consuming it for more than 24 hours. Avoiding food wastage is a great endeavor, and it is best to store and reuse foods that haven’t passed their expiration date.

Remember that stored chicken will last in the fridge for up to four days. It is best to still check the chicken for smells or discoloration and rule out the possibility of spoiling. Trust your expiry date, but be sure to follow your gut in the end.

Using leftover food in your soups or even your main courses is best. Throwing out a perfectly good roast chicken just because it was more than you could consume is a waste of resources. These resources could have benefited another hungry stomach. Cook and buy your food wisely and make sure to keep the poor in mind when consuming food every day.