How Long Do Chicken Nuggets Last in the Fridge?

by Charlie
Published: Last Updated on
How Long Do Chicken Nuggets Last in the Fridge

What thought comes to mind when a chicken nugget melts in your mouth? If you are a huge fan, you want these breaded, boneless chicken beauties to last forever. 

Sadly they don’t; chicken nuggets have a very short shelf life. Most times, they don’t even taste as fresh as they should. They are a quick and convenient snack option, but you’ll always wonder how you can make them last longer.

How long do chicken nuggets last in the fridge? Cooked chicken nuggets will stay fresh in the fridge for a day or two. Depending on how well you package them, they might still be edible by the third or fourth day, but to be safe, consume them before the third or fourth day.

Chicken nuggets usually come frozen from the grocery store; they thaw easily and begin to dry out fast when they thaw. It is best to keep chicken nuggets refrigerated when you get home if you are not cooking them right away. 

There are several ways you can prolong the shelf life in the fridge for cooked chicken nuggets. 

How Long Do Chicken Nuggets Last at Room Temperature?

Most foods can look okay, smell okay, and feel okay while containing enough bacteria to make you feel sick. Most times, you wouldn’t even know you have food poisoning because the symptoms wouldn’t show till some hours and sometimes weeks. 

Chicken nuggets are prone to spoilage bacteria that can harm you if you consume them. Merely keeping it on the kitchen counter at room temperature for too long can be very dangerous for your health.

Your chicken nuggets should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria might not physically change your chicken nuggets, so you might think they are still edible. 

Leaving your chicken nuggets at room temperature for more than an hour or two, depending on the temperature, can cause the growth of bacteria up to levels that would prove dangerous. If you have left it for longer than 2 hours, it is safe to assume that the safety of your chicken nuggets is compromised.

How to Tell if Chicken Nuggets Have Gone Bad

The best way to tell if your chicken nuggets have gone bad or are still good to eat is to smell and look at them. Like we said before, this is not a foolproof method for making sure your nuggets are not swimming with bacteria. 

But if you have preserved them the right way, and you want to know if they are still good or not, these methods work best.

Smell

This is a great way to tell if your nuggets have gone bad or not. If your chicken nuggets smell anything different from what nuggets are supposed to smell like, you should throw them out. 

Food poisoning bacteria multiplies faster on some foods faster than others. For some reason, chicken nuggets have an affinity for these spoilage bacteria, so you need to be extra careful and not consume chicken nuggets that have gone bad.

Appearance

If your chicken nuggets have an odd appearance, or it seems like they have lost their luster and color, you should throw them out. Spoiled chicken nuggets can cause serious health issues, so try to make sure they are still edible before you eat them.

How to Store Chicken Nuggets to Last Longer in the Fridge

We have already established that chicken nuggets have a short shelf life, but there are ways you can keep them  to last just a little bit longer in the fridge. With these tips and tricks, your chicken nuggets can remain at their best quality, taste, and freshness for the two short days it has in the fridge.

Don’t Keep on the Counter

For safety purposes, chicken nuggets that have been left on the counter for more than two hours at room temperature should be discarded. The fridge puts the growth of the bacteria on hold; it doesn’t eliminate them. If your chicken has sat for too long on the counter before you refrigerate, putting it in the fridge wouldn’t save it.

To ensure that your chicken nuggets last for as long as they can in the fridge, make sure you don’t let them sit out for too long. Plan ahead and refrigerate as soon as you notice you have some leftovers.

Refrigerate Immediately

Time is of the essence when it comes to chicken nuggets. As soon as you are done cooking them, wait till they cool down to room temperature and refrigerate. 

If you are purchasing frozen nuggets from the store and won’t be using them immediately, freeze your chicken nuggets as soon as you get home. Temperatures of 40°F or lower are the right temperature that prevents bacteria from thriving in your nuggets.

Mode of Storage

The way you store your chicken nuggets before putting them in the fridge also plays an important role. Use aluminum foil or a heavy-duty freezer bag to wrap the nuggets before placing them in the fridge. 

Airtight freezer bags or Ziploc bags will also do the trick. Make sure there is no air in the bag before placing it in the fridge. This way, you can be assured your chicken nuggets will last as long as they can in the fridge.

Final Thoughts

Chicken nuggets are the perfect snack. Nothing compares. Their short shelf life is a disadvantage, but we love them so much that we hardly have leftovers. 

Refrigerating will only keep your nuggets safe for a day or two. So, if you want to keep them for longer, you might want to try the freezer. Your chicken nuggets can stay in the freezer for up to six months, but you might not love them as much after thawing.

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