Does Grilled Chicken Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Does Grilled Chicken Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Grilled chicken is a healthy and popular choice for consuming a sufficient amount of our daily protein requirements. It is important to eat grilled chicken that is fresh and safe for consumption.

Does grilled chicken go bad? The answer is yes, grilled chicken does go bad, especially if it is not stored properly or if it is left in the refrigerator for too long. Even in the freezer, it can go bad by becoming freezer burned. You never want to eat grilled chicken that has gone bad because it can give you food poisoning and make you very ill.

How to Tell if Raw Grilled Chicken has Gone Bad?

Look at the color: When you are unsure if your grilled chicken is bad or not, use visual clues. What does it look like? Does your grilled chicken have a fleshy, pinkish hue or does it have a dull grayish color? As the grilled chicken starts the color will change from pink to dull gray so if it looks gray, throw it away/

Smell it: This is a very helpful tool when trying to decide if the grilled chicken is bad or not. Grilled chicken is not completely order-free but it should never have a smell that is noticeably foul or pungent. Some say that bad grilled chicken smells like ammonia.

Check the date: According to the USDA and U. S. Food and Drug Administration, you should never store raw grilled chicken in your refrigerator for more than a day or two. If you have taken it out of the freezer and defrosted it, the one to two-day timeline should go into effect after it is defrosted. Also, look at the best-by date on the package and if you have had the grilled chicken well past that date, toss it.

Feel it: When grilled chicken is fresh, it will have a texture that is slightly glossy and slippery. If the grilled chicken feels like there is a layer of something over it that feels thick and sticky, you should not use it. Grilled chicken will normally feel a little slimy but it feels more than normal, rinse it. If you rinse the grilled chicken under cold water and it still feels a bit slimy, it is probably no good. It should be tossed.

How to Tell if Cooked Grill Chicken has Gone Bad

In the refrigerator, cooked grilled chicken only lasts three to four days. If you are unsure, smell it and if it has a foul odor, toss it. You should also toss it if it feels slimy or has turned to a grayish, greenish color or has mold on it.

You can also try to tell if grilled cooked chicken is bad by smelling it but it is sometimes hard to do that because of the spices you may have used. It is best to make sure it is good before you cook it. With cooked grilled chicken, it may smell like sulfur or rotten eggs if it is bad. With breading on it, it is hard to tell by the color, but if there is no breading and it has a grayish look. Toss it.

How to tell if Frozen Grilled Chicken has Gone Bad

Look at it closely: What you are looking for is an ice crust, which is a thick layer of ice around your grilled chicken. If the ice is white, then the grilled chicken could have freezer burn. If this happens the grilled chicken is no longer good.

Freezer burns: When looking at the frozen grilled chicken, look to see if there is a mark or white rash on the grilled chicken that is not fat. It will usually be raised slightly and rougher than the skin around the piece of meat. That is freezer burn. You can still eat it but it will not taste as good as if it was not freezer burned.

Color: With frozen grilled chicken, it is harder to check for color but if you notice it is off-color and it is darker than grey, throw it away. 

How Long Does Grilled Chicken Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Type of Grilled Chicken Refrigerator Freezer
Raw 1-2 days Up to 9 months past the “best-by” date
Cooked 3-4 days 2-6 months

What Makes Grilled Chicken Go Bad?

The one thing that makes grilled chicken, raw or cooked, go bad is bacteria. These tiny organisms live on food, which they eat and reproduce. Because bacteria does this, they produce changes in the food that cause it to become bad.

One important thing to note is that the bacteria Salmonella can be on the grilled chicken but the grilled chicken can appear to be fresh, not bad. You cannot smell it, see it by looking at it, or touching it. 

This is why it is important that you cook your grilled chicken thoroughly so you can kill that particular bacteria. You need to make sure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 seconds after taking it off the heat. Then it will be safe to eat.

How to Store Grilled Chicken

When storing grilled chicken in the refrigerator, raw or cooked, make sure that it is in the part of the refrigerator that is the coldest. It needs to be stored in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature and below, it will help to slow any bacterial growth. 

For raw grilled chicken, you need to make sure that you are storing it in a leak-proof container to prevent the juices and blood from leaking and possibly contaminating other foods. If you need to store your grilled chicken longer than recommended, you should put it in the freezer, which can be stored for a longer period. 

If you are storing cooked grill chicken, it just needs to be stored in a shallow airtight container or zip lock bag. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before putting it in a container. It will go bad quickly if it is exposed to air.

The USDA FSIS suggests that you keep the grilled chicken in its original package until use, whether in the refrigerator or freezer. When defrosting grilled chicken do it in the refrigerator or a bath of cold water but never leave it sitting on the counter at room temperature.


  • Food poisoning experts say that one thing you should never eat is any meat that has changed color.
  • You should always toss grilled chicken if the color, smell, or texture is off because it is most likely bad and you do not want to take a chance and get food poisoning.
  • Grilled chicken has a high risk of bacterial contamination so you must prepare, store, and cook it correctly.
  • If you are cooking grilled chicken and it starts to smell “off” then it is best to throw it away.
  • It is easier to make sure that grilled chicken is bad before you cook it.
  • Always check grilled chicken for mold, which would be black or green fuzz or any other type of organic growth. This is a sure tell sign it has gone bad so immediately discard it.
  • If you have a whole grilled chicken, raw or cooked, it should be cut into smaller portions before you put it into the refrigerator or freezer.
  • When raw grilled chicken feels slimy, even after rinsing, or sticky, it indicates that the number of bacteria on the grilled chicken is high so you need to toss it because cooking it will not get rid of the bacteria on the grilled chicken.
  • Always look for other signs of bad grilled chicken if the color is off because sometimes food just changes color when being stored.