How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Chicken Last in the Fridge?

by Charlie
How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Chicken Last in the Fridge

Vacuum sealing is a great way to preserve food because most bacteria need air in order to thrive. If you can effectively remove the air, you will make the food last significantly longer. This method is often used to preserve meat, but that might leave you wondering how long you can keep the meat for before it becomes unsafe to eat.

How long does vacuum sealed chicken last in the fridge? Vacuum sealed cooked chicken can last in the fridge for a couple of weeks before it will start to turn bad, because it’s hard for bacteria to grow in the sealed environment. However, the food needs to be vacuum sealed in the correct conditions to reduce the risk of any bacteria being present at the point of sealing.

How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Chicken Last?

Vacuum sealed chicken should last for up to two weeks if it is stored in the correct conditions in a fridge. This estimate is for cooked chicken, which would usually only last for three to four days in the fridge if not stored in a vacuum sealed container.

Raw vacuum sealed chicken will not last as long, and should be used up within about four to five days as a maximum. This is double the FDA’s recommended one to two days for raw chicken that is not vacuum sealed.

Vacuum packing chicken will extend its shelf life, but you shouldn’t depend upon this too heavily, or you could end up with food poisoning. Although vacuum sealing does reduce the spread of bacteria, it does not prevent it completely. With enough time, bacteria will still spread throughout the meat.

Should You Vacuum Seal Chicken Myself?

If you have the equipment, you can vacuum seal chicken at home, but it’s important to do so in the correct conditions to keep the risk of food poisoning low. You will need to make sure that foods are as fresh as possible to maximize their shelf life once sealed, and follow the proper instructions for vacuum sealing them.

Be aware that vacuum sealing whole chickens can be problematic, because the chest cavity of the chicken may still contain air even once you have used your sealing machine. You will need a powerful machine to successfully seal a whole chicken, or you will have to break the chicken down into portions that can be placed flat in the bags and then sealed.

Make sure that chicken is then dated and placed immediately in the fridge or the freezer, and used up within the recommended amount of time. If the chicken was not very fresh when you sealed it, use it up more quickly.

Should Cooked Chicken Be Vacuum Sealed?

It’s best to cook chicken before you vacuum seal it, yes. Cooking will destroy bacteria that are already growing in the meat, and will keep the meat fresh for longer. You can vacuum seal raw chicken, but cooked chicken will keep significantly better.

Because raw chicken has such a short shelf life, you will only gain about a day or two days from vacuum sealing it without cooking it. 

By contrast, cooked chicken should be okay to store for up to two weeks if it has been sealed correctly and kept in the fridge. This gives you a much greater benefit for the effort of vacuum sealing it.

Can You Store Vacuum Sealed Chicken at Room Temperature?

No, you cannot store vacuum sealed chicken at room temperature. Although the vacuum should slow the bacterial spread, being kept above 40 degrees F will massively increase it, and the chicken will still go off very fast.

You should always keep chicken in the fridge or freezer, and never allow it to stay at room temperature for longer than necessary. Place all vacuum sealed chicken in the fridge as soon as it has cooled (assuming you have cooked it) and store it in there until you are ready to use it.

It’s best to keep it in the coldest part of your fridge. This will be at the bottom, unless you have an ice tray at the top, in which case, the top of the fridge will be cooler.

Can You Freeze Vacuum Sealed Chicken?

Yes, you can freeze vacuum sealed chicken if you are not going to use it up in time. The vacuum packaging will protect the meat from freezer burn and it should last for around nine to twelve months in the freezer. Try to make sure that you put chicken into the freezer promptly, rather than letting it reach its last day or two before freezing.

The fresher chicken is when you freeze it, the better it should last in the freezer. Try to be organized and work out whether you will use the chicken up before it goes off, or whether it should be frozen straight away.

How Do You Know If Vacuum Sealed Chicken Has Gone Bad?

You can tell if vacuum sealed chicken has gone bad in a few different ways. Common signs include a change in color and texture. Slimy chicken or raw chicken that has gone orange, brown, gray, or any color other than pink should be thrown away. You may also see mold on the surface of the chicken.

A further indication is the smell. However, it’s worth noting that chicken that has been vacuum packed may smell odd when you first open it, because all the odors have been trapped inside. Give it ten to twenty minutes after opening the packet before smelling it. If you can still detect an odd or sour odor, discard the chicken.

Any sliminess on the flesh should prompt you to throw it away as it will be unsafe to eat.

Final Thoughts

Vacuum sealed chicken will last better than normal chicken, but it still needs to be kept in the fridge, and used up within two weeks. Vacuum sealed raw chicken will usually only keep for about three or four days, whereas cooked chicken should last for up to fourteen days. Discard any chicken with an odd smell or slimy texture.

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