How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out? (Explained!)

Everyone loves fried chicken, right? Okay, nearly everyone does, but that’s still enough for not usually having any leftovers while making some. Quite the contrary, it seems more likely that you won’t even get a single piece of it before your kids eat it all. 

Nevertheless, you still can come across some leftover fried chicken, especially when there are no kids that would finish them. And because of that, you may be wondering:

How long can fried chicken sit out? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, fried chicken can sit out for two hours. After that time passes, it is not safe to eat because harmful bacteria start to grow quickly in it at room temperature.

But is this everything there is to be said about this topic? Of course not, as you will see in this article! So let’s not waste any more time and just get started, shall we?

How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit OutPin

Does fried chicken need to be refrigerated?

Yes, fried chicken needs to be refrigerated, at least if you’re planning on storing it for a longer time. When you store it properly in the fridge, fried chicken can stay good for even as long as four days.

Quite the contrary, though, the fried chicken turns bad just after two hours when it sits out unrefrigerated, but more about that in the following answer.

How long can fried chicken sit out at room temperature?

According to the USDA, fried chicken can sit out for two hours at room temperature. However, after that amount of time passes, dangerous bacteria start to grow rapidly in the meat. Therefore, if you leave your fried chicken out of the fridge for a longer time, you should throw it away as soon as possible.

How long can fried chicken sit out at a picnic?

But the USDA also says that when the temperature is above 90 °F, fried chicken cannot even sit out for more than an hour. And that means that at a picnic, the fried chicken shouldn’t sit out for more than an hour if it’s really hot. If it is not, though, it will stay eatable for the already mentioned two hours. 

Can fried chicken be left out overnight?

As we have explained above, the fried chicken can’t sit out for any longer than two hours, and at temperatures higher than 90 °F, even only for an hour. Hence, fried chicken cannot be left out overnight because that’s simply far too long, even though it’s the extremely unlikely temperature at your house ever rise that high.

How can you tell if fried chicken is bad?

Believe it or not, it’s a pretty ask to tell if fried chicken is bad or not – just like with any other food, you only have to take a good look and a good sniff. Did you see or smell anything weird?

If you did not, the fried chicken is likely good to eat. On the other hand, when you DO notice something weird, you should immediately throw it away.

How do you keep fried chicken fresh?

If you want your fried chicken to stay as fresh as possible, you don’t need to do anything complicated. To keep fried chicken fresh, you just have to seal it into airtight containers and then put them into the fridge. That way, the fried chicken will stay in excellent shape for three or maybe even four days!

What happens when you eat a bad fried chicken?

When you eat a bad fried chicken, you may very likely experience some classic symptoms of food poisoning. That means you may vomit or have diarrhea and stomach ache. If you didn’t eat tons of the bad fried chicken, though, the problems shouldn’t be serious.

So if you’re feeling sick after eating a bad fried chicken, it’s best to contact your doctor to be entirely sure nothing severe is happening.


Although it isn’t much common to have some leftovers while making fried chicken, you don’t have to worry about them! That’s because fried chicken can stay good for two hours at room temperature, and we doubt no one would finish it at this time.

But even if they didn’t, it’s still not a problem – to expand its lifespan, you simply have to put the fried chicken into a refrigerator. And we also recommend you to seal it into airtight containers firstly; that way, it can stay in good shape for even four days!



Image credits – Canva

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