Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Practical Cooks
Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that the chicken nugget has a special place in the world. The largest chicken nugget ever made was by Empire foods.
The giant nugget weighed 51 pounds and was over 3 feet long. It premiered at Kosherfest in Secaucus, New Jersey in 2013.
This is but one example of just how popular nuggets are. Almost every fast food restaurant serves them. You won’t dare find a kids’ menu without it at sit-down eateries. They come in an array of shapes for corn’s sake! If that’s not icon status, what is it?
Best of all, you can stuff your freezer full of these processed finger foods. They’ll seemingly last a lifetime there.
But how long do they last in the fridge? After cooking or purchasing, your chicken nuggets will be good for 1-2 days. They will be safe to eat for a day or two longer, but they will change in texture and lose their flavor.
Proper storage is key. Don’t just toss them in the fridge in the fast food box. Wrap the nuggets tightly in foil or plastic wrap (both might be better). You can also use an airtight container.
How Long Can Chicken Nuggets Stay In The Freezer?
An unopened package of chicken nuggets can last indefinitely when properly frozen at 0 degrees. This is because bacteria cannot grow in a frozen environment. This is, of course, if the package is not damaged.
However, for the best quality, it is recommended that the nuggets be consumed within 1 to 3 months after the package date. You won’t become sick, but the nuggets will lose flavor over time and could suffer freezer burn.
Can You Eat Chicken Nuggets That Have Been Left Out Overnight?
As tempting as it may be to eat those nuggets that you forgot to refrigerate last night, don’t do it.
Some folks think it’s OK because nuggets have so much salt and preservatives. But, like any other food, bacterial growth is heavily dependent on temperature and the environment.
There are plenty of nuggets to be had, go by more.
Why Are My Chicken Nuggets Soggy?
The simple answer is too much moisture. Nuggets (good nuggets) will have quite a bit of moisture inside of them. When in the freezer, they can accumulate more if not stored properly. Excess moisture can cause sogginess.
This occurs especially in the microwave. The best way to avoid the “sog” is to cook them in the oven, air fryer, or toaster oven. That way, the outside gets crispy on the outside and the moisture stays on the inside.
Are Frozen Nuggets Pre-Cooked?
Many people assume that the nuggets they buy from the supermarket are pre-cooked. Though they look cooked, most nuggets are not fully cooked.
Often, the manufacturer will use a process called parbaking (similar to when you parboil rice). The nuggets are quickly baked just enough for them to hold their shape and keep the breading in place. So the meat inside is not fully cooked.
It is possible to find fully cooked nuggets. But it’s important to always read the packages and prepare them according to the instructions.
Can You Reheat Chicken Nuggets That Have Been In The Refrigerator?
You certainly can reheat chicken nuggets that have been in the fridge for 1-2 days. The best way to do this is in an air fryer or stove-top pan.
The microwave can make them soggy or hard. The oven takes a long time (not great if you’ve got nugget-needy kids) and it can dry them out.
With the air fryer, you set it to four hundred for 3-4 minutes and you’re done. No oil or anything else is needed.If you don’t have an air fryer, you can use a frying pan.
Put a bit of oil in and heat up the pan. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until they are warmed to your preference.
If you need to use the microwave, let the nuggets sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then line a large microwaveable plate with a paper towel. Microwave them on high for 60-90 seconds. They won’t be as crispy, but they’ll be warm.
It’s important to eat them right away because they tend to get hard and/or rubbery.
Can You Put Your Reheated Chicken Nuggets Back In The Fridge, Then Reheat Them Again?
Technically you can, as long as it’s within the 1-2 day time frame. They are still safe, but that doesn’t mean they will taste good. Don’t expect to keep heating and chilling your nuggets and expect them to taste the same.
The texture will change, becoming rubbery, hard, or crumbly. Basically, they just won’t taste good. It’s best to either get small batches that you’ll eat in one sitting, or, if you can, get a giant bag, so you are fully stocked.
Chicken Nugget Facts
- Robert C. Baker, a Cornell University professor, was the inventor of the chicken nugget. In the 1960s, he published an academic paper on red meat consumption that contained the recipe for chicken nuggets.
- One chicken can produce up to 240 nuggets.
- Nuggets are made from processed ground chicken breast.
- Before they were called nuggets, they were “chicken sticks” and “chicken crispies”.
- McDonald’s did just magically conjure their nuggets. In 1979, they contracted Tyson chicken company to do it for them.