Chicken is a very popular meat especially to children. Children just seem to love any dish made with chicken meat and on top of the list is fried chicken- no child can seem to resist that juicy meat and crunchy skin! That is why if you have children in the house, chicken must be a staple in your refrigerator, and if you don’t, well chicken is a good choice for a quick meal fix, too!
Chicken is a versatile meat and easy to work with to top it off! So the million-dollar question is: how long can chicken be frozen?
Why You Should Know
Chicken meat is a healthier option compared to pork meat, making it a more popular option for people who watch what they eat very carefully. It is a good source of protein and other nutrients aside from it being tasty. I mean, what could beat a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup when you are sick, right?
Aside from all that, chicken is just a very versatile meat and easy to cook! There are tons and tons of easy and tasty dishes you can make with that chicken meat you have frozen in your refrigerator. It also doesn’t hurt to stock up if there happens to be a sale or price down on poultry products.
Another reason to stock up on chicken is that it is the best meat to freeze because it keeps longer than pork and beef even though the opposite is true if you are going to store the meat in the refrigerator. But we sometimes stock too much chicken meat in our freezer that we can’t consume it all up to the date that we thought we will polish it all off.
Things don’t always go as planned, and all that. So how long can chicken be frozen and still be good and retain its flavor? That’s what we will seek to answer!
But keep in mind that even though there is a definite amount of time for which you can keep chicken frozen, this does not mean that the frozen meat past its time will be bad, it just wouldn’t taste the same and might ruin the dish you are making. And if you are not sure about it, you can always look out for signs of spoilage in the chicken meat you are keeping in your freezer, or even on the meat you are going to buy!
How Long Can Chicken Be Frozen
Cut-up Pieces of Chicken
Buying cut-up pieces of chicken is what we mostly do, especially if we only want a specific part of chicken. Maybe you don’t really care for the whole chicken or you just can’t butcher the whole chicken by yourself. Chicken breast if you want it to have low fat content, wings for some serious buffalo wings recipe, chicken leg and thighs for juicy flesh with crispy skin- there are several parts of chicken you might want for certain recipes.
You have to keep in mind that when you cut up any meat, they lose their freshness and flavor easier, so if you are planning to stock up for a long time it is not ideal to store the meat cut-up, or at least store them in larger cuts. But do all cuts keep for the same amount of time when they are frozen? The answer is yes, all of them can keep for about 9 months if frozen.
There are times when it is more practical to buy whole chicken meat or maybe you got that from your backyard. Whole chicken retains its freshness longer that cut-up pieces, so just from that we know that whole frozen chicken can last longer! Frozen whole chicken can last up to a year frozen and still be good for human consumption.
Of course it will not taste the same as fresh chicken or even a month-old frozen chicken, but you don’t have to worry about eating spoiled chicken. So next time you are buying chicken, if you are confident enough in you butchering skills and you know enough about chicken to cook every part of it, why don’t you buy whole chicken instead of choice cuts? They will keep longer!
Or you can learn how by checking this video out!
If you happen to cook too much of that chicken dish, you can store the leftovers in the freezer. Unless, for example, the dish in question is chicken salad! If it happens to be chicken salad, don’t even try to freeze it or you might as well throw it away because it does not freeze well.
If it happens to be anything else, you can rest assured that it will still be in good quality after being frozen for 2 to 6 months. Just make sure that you keep it in the correct containers and sealed tightly!
Tips on Freezing Chicken Meat
The way you freeze your chicken meat does not exactly affect the amount of time for how long can chicken be frozen, but it sure helps to be organized even in your freezer, right? If you are storing raw chicken, it will be better if you keep the chicken in its original packaging and then wrap it up in a freezer wrap. That will ensure the quality of the raw chicken and will keep it from freezer burn.
If you are not familiar as to what freezer burn is, it’s the result of the meat losing its moisture making it appear discolored and dry. It is safe to eat meat with freezer burn but it affects the taste of the meat, and do you really want to eat meat that looks like that?
On the other hand, if you are storing cooked chicken in the freezer try to make sure that you are storing it in a vacuum container. That will prolong the life of the cooked chicken you are freezing and will also prevent freezer burn.
The next time you are deciding what kind of meat and what cut to store up in your freezer, remember these things! It will also help to keep the storage dates in mind and you can even put a “consume by” date on your frozen meat so you can easily keep track of the things you have to eat immediately.
So how long can chicken be frozen?
- Cut-up pieces: about 9 months
- Whole: up to 1 year
- Cooked: 2 to 6 months, some dishes though don’t freeze well
Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section!