Can You Put Warm Chicken in the Fridge? Answered

Can you put warm chicken in the fridge? It’s best to learn the difference between hot and warm to answer this question.

When you say “warm food”, the temperature is a bit above room temperature, which conveys not “scorching” that could already burn your skin.

Meanwhile, “hot food” means the temperature is way higher than room temperature, which can scorch the skin.

Avoid storing hot food in the refrigerator, as doing so will make it difficult for the fridge to function well in keeping the temperature down.

That said, it’s vital to cool down the cooked chicken for roughly two hours before storing it inside the fridge.

Is it Safe to Store Warm Chicken in the Refrigerator?

Yes. Keeping the warm chicken in the refrigerator is ideal because it lessens the possibility of spoilage and the formation of harmful bacteria.

Warm Chicken

Please note that you need to ensure that the chicken’s temperature is below 95 degrees F. this is the ideal temperature to consider food as warm.

Anything beyond this temperature is already considered “hot”, which is unsafe for freezer storage.

While some freezers are capable of withstanding hot meals, it’s advisable to avoid keeping hot food in the freezer.

Hot items force the freezer to work harder to maintain the ideal temperature.

Did you know that if you store hot chicken in the freezer, it is likelier to deteriorate? Yes, you heard it right!

The hot meal will warm up the air inside the freezer, causing bacteria to accumulate in the food.

Unfortunately, this condition makes it likely for vegetables, fruits, or other food inside the freezer to get rotten or cause food poisoning.

Related: Are You Storing Food Safely?  

How Long Should I Wait Before Refrigerating the Warm Chicken?

Ideally, we recommend allowing the cooked chicken to rest for roughly two to three hours before keeping it in the fridge.

Chilling the food is advisable to keep it from spoiling.

Similarly, if you’re cooking rotisserie chicken or fried chicken, it’s best to wait for approximately one hour before storing them in the refrigerator.

If you refrigerate the chicken meat right away, this method will cause its flavor to deteriorate, and it will become dry.

It’s wise to store the cooked meat at room temperature for a couple of hours before storing it inside the refrigerator.

What Happens if I Store Warm Chicken in the Refrigerator?

Chicken in the Refrigerator

Refrigerating cooked chicken lessens the bacteria formation and spread that may cause spoilage. Bacteria, such as E.coli, streptococcus, and dengue, can contaminate exposed food.

You must ensure that you let the chicken cool down in the fridge before transferring it to the freezer to promote food safety.

Keep in mind that the purpose of freezing food is to keep it from contamination and ensure safe and healthy consumption in the future.

As always, it’s crucial to consider some safety measures while thawing, freezing, and defrosting.

Indeed, it’s ideal for cooling the food quickly, dividing the meal into little portions to allow brief cooling and defrosting, reducing contamination.

It’s best to cover the food with an aluminum foil or airtight container to help sustain its moisture content.

This approach also helps prevent odors of different types of meat from blending while fending off microbes.

You can freeze the food for two to four months; however, you need to inspect the odor, color, and taste to determine if it’s still nutritious.

How Long Can I Store the Chicken Inside the Fridge?

It’s safe to store the cooked chicken in the refrigerator for about three to four days.

The long cooked chicken is prone to bad taste if you store it for longer than four days.

Keeping the cooked chicken in the fridge tends to suck in moisture, making the meat soft and losing its flavor.

For this reason, we recommend refrigerating the cooked chicken after chilling it for roughly an hour.

This technique helps the moisture to disperse, keeping the pleasant taste and texture of the meat intact.

On the other hand, while storing the cooked chicken in the fridge is okay, this method can’t prevent bacterial accumulation, which appropriate refrigerating practices should avert.

Therefore, you should learn the correct refrigerating practices to ensure the safety of storing your chicken for an extended time.

Does Storing Cooked Chicken in the Fridge Affect its Texture and Taste?

Storing cooked chicken in the refrigerator can alter its original texture and taste.

Affect its Texture

Refrigerating the chicken causes the moisture inside it to escape and be caught by the surrounding air. As a result, the flavor reduces, and the meat turns out soft.

In the same way, the protein cells within the cooked chicken disintegrate during refrigeration; this condition causes the chicken to lose its natural juices and get dry.

Luckily, you can inhibit the evaporation of moisture by using shallow canisters when storing the cooked meat in the fridge.

Did you know that cooked chicken is colder than the air when refrigerating it?

Storing the chicken deeply in the fridge makes maintaining its natural juices more difficult.

Likewise, refrigeration can also alter the chicken’s color, making it pale.

The gist is that even though refrigeration makes the cooked chicken safe to consume, it might not be as topnotch in quality, especially if stored in the fridge longer.

Final Thoughts

Conclusively, refrigerating cooked chicken requires safety measures to ensure safe and healthy consumption, particularly if you plan to refrigerate it for an extended time.

Before keeping the meat in the fridge, you must determine the difference between warm and hot food. As mentioned, the ideal temperature for warm food is below 95-degree F.

Remember, while there’s nothing wrong with refrigerating warm chicken, this method is not ideal. Doing so will cause condensation to emerge inside the refrigerator.

This condition causes other food in the fridge to acquire moisture, resulting in spoilage.

Hence, if you still prefer to refrigerate the warm chicken, follow the correct refrigeration practices to avoid bacteria buildup and proliferation.

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Carole May

Hi, I love to cook! I have been passionate about cooking for as long as I can remember. My favorite foods are Italian, Mexican, and Indian. I'm not afraid to share my love of cooking with my family, friends & the whole world.

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