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Can You Put Hot Chicken In The Fridge?

Can You Put Hot Chicken In The Fridge?

Yes, you can store hot chicken in the fridge. However, storing scorching hot chicken is not advisable as it can alter the fridge’s temperature, thawing other foods. Super hot chicken can also cause internal damage to the refrigerator. It would be best to let it cool for 2 hours before storing it in the fridge or freezer.

In this article, we’ll look into how to store hot chicken, how to freeze it, and the tips and tricks to better refrigerate hot chicken. So let’s get into it.

How Hot is Too Hot?

While warm and hot are subjective terms, you should differentiate them to avoid chicken spoilage and tampering with the fridge temperature. “Hot” can scald the skin and have a fast withdrawing effect when touched. According to USDA hot food standards, hot chicken has a temperature of 135 degrees F.

On the other hand, warm chicken has a slightly higher temperature than room temperature. Even though it is higher than room temperature, its heat can’t scald the skin.

Can You Put Hot Chicken In The Fridge?

It is advisable to let the chicken rest for 2 hours before storing it in the refrigerator.

For accuracy, use a food thermometer. The ideal temperature for cooked chicken is between 375 F and 450 F, which is too hot to put in the fridge. So you should allow it to cool to about 160 F, where you should immediately refrigerate it. Use a food thermometer to track the temperature of the chicken as it drops.

Further cooling between 40F and 140F is a danger zone for bacteria growth. Using a food thermometer will help you monitor temperature for storage in the fridge and ensure that chicken is safe for consumption.

The 4-hour/ 2-hour Rule

The 4-hour/2-hour rule is a global rule of thumb that dictates how to store cooked food in the fridge. You’ll often find it as you research food storage. It’s based on the speed of food spoilage and bacteria growth.

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The rule states that it is safe to consume food that stays at room temperature for two hours. After 4 hours, the food is still good but not ideal, and is considered unsafe for consumption and should be discarded. Always be conscious of this preventive measure as you prepare to store your chicken in the fridge.

How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge?

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), chicken takes 3-4 days in the refrigerator. This is because the cold air in the fridge slows down bacteria growth and reduces the production rate. However, the chicken will spoil after four days and should be thrown away.

Consumption of spoiled chicken could lead to bacterial infection. The sign for spoiled chicken is a weird odor, silky texture, and color change.

If you want the chicken to last longer, store it in the freezer. The freezer has a temperature of 0 F, creating an unconducive environment for bacterial growth, allowing the chicken to last up to 1 year.

What is the Best Way to Store Hot Chicken?

As we’ve seen, safety and temperature are the factors to consider when storing chicken in the fridge. So here’s the best way to store it:

Let it Sit at Room Temperature

After removing your chicken from the oven or wherever you’ve cooked it, unwrap the foil and allow it to sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Ensure that you don’t let it surpass 2 hours under room temperature as bacteria would begin forming and spreading more every 20 minutes.

If you are in a hurry to wait for 2 hours, you can use a fan or put it under cold air to quicken the cooling process.

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How Hot is Too Hot

Cover it Adequately

After sitting at room temperature:

  1. Cover it using a cling film or plastic or put it in an air-tight container.
  2. Avoid shallow plastic containers, for the coils release some chemicals, thus contaminating the chicken.
  3. Therefore, use high-heat tolerant containers for warm chicken. While covering doesn’t prolong storage time, it prevents contamination.
  4. Place it in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Can you Freeze Hot Chicken?

Can you Freeze Hot Chicken?

Yes, you can freeze hot chicken. The factors to consider when storing chicken in a freezer are that the refrigerator should work at full efficiency, and the foods inside should be less likely to be affected by the change in temperature.

When frozen, hot chicken can last for 2-4 months when sliced, while a whole chicken can last for one year. When refrigerating warm chicken, put the hot chicken in a heat-resistant container. Storing it in the freezer with a baking tray can damage the refrigerator’s interior, especially when it’s scorching hot.

To freeze hot chicken effectively, follow the following procedures:

Uncover it

When the chicken is ready, remove the foil and allow it to air out. Uncovering it enables the chicken to sink in juices as it evaporates excess liquid on the surface.

Allowing the chicken to dry prevents freezer burn due to excess moisture on the surface. The freezer burn will make the chicken lose texture and flavor as it develops white, itchy patches.

Place it in the Freezer

Allow the chicken to lose heat, so you don’t store it when it’s hot. Then place it in the coldest part of the freezer, usually at the back, further from the door.

Tips and Tricks for Storing Hot Chicken in the Refrigerator

  • Try adjusting to various settings to eliminate the temperature difference brought by hot chicken. Some refrigerators are more suitable for hot chicken storage as they have a ‘turbo’ or ‘quick cool’ setting, which helps accelerate the cooling process.
  • Before storing hot or warm chicken, remove other foods from the compartment to avoid temperature disruption, which would cause spoilage.
  • Ensure that your refrigerator is operating effectively. If your fridge is not in good condition, it will take more time to cool, which can lead to food poisoning. The faster the chicken passes between the 40 F and 140 F zone where bacteria thrive, the better.
  • Non-frost refrigerators are suitable to use when storing hot chicken. They remove humidity and hot air from the freezer compartment, making cooling faster and easier.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let’s look at some common questions people ask about refrigerating chicken.

How Long Should I Let the Chicken Cool Before Cutting?

How Long Should I Let the Chicken Cool Before Cutting?

You should wait for 15-20 minutes before cutting the chicken. However, it depends on the size of the meat. Larger meats may take longer than smaller ones.

Can I Put Warm Chicken Stock in the Fridge?

Can I Put Warm Chicken Stock in the Fridge?

Yes. You can put warm chicken stock in the fridge so it can chill. It will last about four days; you only need to store it properly. Avoid large pots or containers when storing chicken or its stock in the refrigerator.

How Long Does it Take for Hot Chicken To Cool in the Refrigerator?

How Long Does it Take for Hot Chicken To Cool in the Refrigerator?

How long it takes to cool a hot chicken in the fridge depends on its condition. If your fridge is working fine and has no slow cooling history, it should take a short time. An efficient fridge should operate at 40 F and take about 10 minutes to cool.