How Long Can You Freeze Chicken? || USDA Guidelines

Chickens are often bought in bulk because of their ability to be preserved for a long time. However, “How long can you freeze chicken?” is a question that pops up in minds of a lot of people.

Theoretically, chickens can be preserved forever if you keep them at a consistent temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but it doesn’t mean they will retain all their qualities in their immortality.

Although chickens can be preserved forever and cause no damage to health even if used after years of proper freezing, that doesn’t mean it should be done.

Chickens begin to experience an alteration in their taste after some time. Well according to most chefs, the fresher the merrier.

Properly freezing has several factors which can contribute to the appetizing taste of chicken. If the chicken is not kept in proper freezing, there might be bacterial changes in it which might make the chicken uneatable.

USDA Guidelines

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there is a specific time limit up to which chickens can be preserved for best quality, taste, and texture.

However, these time limits are different for different forms of raw chicken. For example, according to USDA and most of the chefs, you can store a whole raw chicken in the freezer for up to a year without risk of losing its taste or texture.

Moreover, they further provide details that chicken frozen in pieces can last up to 9 months, minced chicken can last up to 3 to 4 months and cooked chicken will taste best for up to four months.

However, the chicken nuggets, patties, and other stuff like that only stay frozen for 1 to 3 months, their life can’t be prolonged because they are fry ready and contain much more than just chicken.

How to Properly Freeze Chicken?

How long can you freeze chicken

For a frozen chicken to last up to a year, you have to freeze it properly that might include tiny details which you didn’t know about.

These tiny tricks can not only preserve the chicken’s quality but also their taste and texture. First of all, what you need to make sure is that your freezer has a temperature of 0 Fahrenheit degrees.

The chicken which is to be frozen must be packaged properly so that no air can enter into it and cause the chicken to alter its state.

Hence, when storing make sure to remove all the air from the sealing bag with help of equipment or your hands. If you bought a packaged chicken from the grocery store, just add another layer of protection as a precaution.

Another thing to consider is placing this chicken in the backside of the freezer, not in the front or on the door shelves. The reason is that air can cause freezer burns which might cause the chicken to lose its taste.

Always note the date on the packaging when freezing chicken just as a reminder to yourself. It will help you remember when you stored it.

Bacteria can also develop in the chicken if it is not packed in an airtight container. Change in smell, color, or texture can show you if the chicken is still eatable or not when taken out of freezing.

How to Defrost Chicken Properly?

If chicken is not properly defrosted, it can also cause alterations in its taste and texture. For ultimate taste, it is suggested by chefs and experts to properly defrost the chicken. There are several ways to defrost the chicken.

One of the best but time taking methods is placing the frozen chicken in the fridge. This method defrosts chicken slowly but properly that retains its quality taste and texture.

A whole raw chicken would take almost 2 days to defrost under this method. However, chicken cut into pieces can defrost quicker and takes up to 24 hours only.

Although it is not a fast method, it is one of the most effective ones which provides superior taste to your cooking.

The second method requires both focus and handwork but takes much less time. This is called the cold water method. In this, you place the sealed frozen chicken package inside cold water.

Pieces must be able to defrost in almost an hour while a whole raw frozen chicken will take almost 2 to 3 hours. Another thing which you need to make sure of is changing the water every thirty minutes.

The chicken will slowly defrost in the packaging and once it has completely defrosted, you must cook it immediately for better taste.

The third, final, and quickest method mentioned by the USDA is using the microwave oven for defrosting. Microwave can defrost chicken within few minutes and it is ready to cook. Although it is not claimed, it does affect the taste of your cooking.

One of the major benefits of the first method and drawback of mostly the third is that defrosting from the first method can allow you to frost again in case your plan gets canceled, while the other methods can reduce much life in the frosting.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How long can you freeze raw chicken?

A whole raw chicken can be frozen for up to a year according to USDA guidelines. However, if the chicken is cut into pieces, it can last up to only 9 months. However, this timeline requires strict guidelines for proper freezing and defrosting a chicken.

  1. How can you tell if the frozen chicken is no longer eatable?

Change in color or smell can reveal the state of the chicken. Frozen chicken has a pinkish sort of color. If you notice the gray color, smell, or developing bacteria in the chicken, it is no longer eatable and you shouldn’t take a risk of cooking it.

  1. How do you store chicken in a freezer?

You must seal the chicken in an airtight container and then place it on the backside in the fridge. The reason for this is to avoid contact of air with the chicken because temperature fluctuations can cause alterations in taste or texture.

Some Last Words:

We have closely reviewed the opinion of experts and chefs to provide you with the best possible details in this article.

About Harris V.

Harris is a content coordinator and senior writer at Gliving. After years of cooking professionally, Harris traded in his knives for the pen. He spends most of his time writing these days but still loves to get down with some delicious recipes in the kitchen for his family.