Post was Updated on June 29, 2022
Did you forget to put the raw chicken in the fridge and it left out overnight on the countertop at room temperature? Can you cook this chicken meat? Is it safe to eat? Let’s find out!
Can You Cook Raw Chicken Left Out Overnight?
If you left the chicken sit out overnight, unfortunately, it is better to throw such meat away. It can be spoiled and cause serious digestive problems and even poisoning.
Raw chicken can remain fresh at the temperature of 40°F (4°C) or even lower. If you want to avoid health problems, it will be better not to cook raw chicken left out overnight.
How Many Hours Can Raw Chicken Be Left Out?
It is recommended to not leave the raw chicken for more than two hours on a countertop at room temperature as there will grow a lot of bacteria.
If you are referring to the summertime, this time can be even shorter. Otherwise, there is a high chance that the chicken will start to spoil.
There are some factors that influence perishable food, especially meat:
- Temperature. Raw chicken can be cooked only when it was stored at a temperature that is lower than 72°F and which was not in direct sunlight. In this case, raw chicken can sit out for two hours. If the temperature is higher, you have only one hour to cook it. There is no question about cooking raw chicken left out overnight. There is a high risk of salmonella spread in meat. It can lead to serious health problems.
- Exposure. It is another problem if you leave the raw chicken out overnight. If you leave it on the table or anywhere else, it is better to cover it with something. One of the ways is to use foil or plastic bags, or something like that.
- Place. Do remember that raw chicken must be stored in a clear place. Wash your kitchen surfaces before placing meat anywhere. Bacteria will attack meat if your kitchen is dirty. It will spoil raw chicken even faster.
Where and How to Store Raw Chicken So as Not to Get Poisoned?
Raw chicken can be stored for a long time if the conditions are suitable. When you buy raw chicken and take it home, you have several ways to store it.
If you will keep the raw chicken meat at a temperature between 40-140F, the bacteria from the chicken meat can multiply faster than you may expect. Because of that, you should take into consideration how quickly you will cook this piece of chicken and at what temperature you will leave the meat.
If you plan to cook it in the next two days, then you can keep it in the fridge. If you plan to cook this chicken meat later, I will recommend moving it into the freezer to ensure that the meat will remain fresh.
On the Countertop
If you plan to cook the chicken in the next hour, you can leave it on the countertop at room temperature, just make sure that it is not near a heat source and the raw meat doesn’t sit in direct sunlight.
The maximum time you can leave the raw meat at room temperature is about two hours before raw chicken starts to spoil. It explains why it is not recommended to cook raw chicken left out overnight.
Personally, I will shorten this time even more to avoid any risks, especially in the summertime.
The safest way is to put the raw chicken meat as soon as possible in the fridge to avoid growing bacteria on the chicken meat. In that way, the chicken will sit at a lower temperature, will and will not be in contact with sunlight.
The safest way to avoid forming bacteria is to keep the raw chicken in the freezer. In that way, you will avoid extra humidity and air influence. In fact, it prevents bacteria from multiplying and growing. The raw chicken remains safe and fresh for a longer period of time.
Just make sure that you put the raw chicken as soon as possible in the freezer in an air-tight container or in a freezing bag.
You can keep the raw chicken in the freezer for about 6 months without noticing any difference in the taste and texture of the meat.
Quick Note: If you put the chicken in a freezer bag, make sure that you will squeeze all the air excess.
How to Know When Raw Chicken Goes Bad?
There are several indicators that can help you understand that raw chicken went bad. If you leave it on the table for a few more hours, pay attention to these details.
- Smell. A usual raw chicken almost has no smell. If you feel something unpleasant, it means that the chicken has been spoiled. Throw it away at once.
- Texture. A fresh raw chicken has a firm texture when you touch it. In addition to the right smell, it will also be a sign that the chicken is fresh. If it is slippery and too soft, it means that bacteria contaminated it.
- Color. The color of the raw chicken is another sign that proves whether the chicken is good or bad. A light pink color speaks that the chicken is ok. Any other color deviations can say that it has been spoiled.
These are the main signs of how to understand if a raw chicken is good or bad. If you leave a raw chicken left out overnight, it is better not to risk cooking and eating it as it may poison you and your family.
Answering Your Questions:
No, you may get poisoned from this meat. The raw chicken is safe to be eaten if it is left for less than two hours on the countertop.
Even sealed raw chicken can be easily poisoned. Yes, it will sit a little longer than uncovered chicken meat, but still will poison very quickly if you will leave it for a longer period of time at room temperature.