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Dec 3, 2007 12:00 PM

how long can you marinate chicken?

I have a chicken marinating. It has been marinating for more than 24 hours. Ummm, how long would be the longest it could marinate before entering the danger zone?

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  1. Danger zone for what? If the 'danger zone' means you're marinating at room temperature, it's time to toss your chicken, or your chicken may make YOU toss. More than 4 hours between 40F and 140F is tempting fate. If you're NOT talking about marinating at room temp, however, generally speaking, chicken can get mushy if left in acidic marinades too long...a couple of hours is plenty, and overnight can be too much.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ricepad

      No, definitely not room temp. It's marinating in the fridge. But it's been more than 24 hours... I wanted to know how long is TOO long. Other than mushy (I might be able to deal with that) would it be okay?? I mean, would it make one sick? I just want to cook it and try it... if it's okay taste-wise, would it be okay health-wise? I don't know why not... it's been sealed well. What about 48 hours? Preposterous, or okay to try?

      1. re: foxy fairy

        As long as it's in the refrigerator, and you're not concerned about mushiness, then it would seem that you should be able to keep it as long as you would be able to keep chicken in the fridge that's not being marinated; i.e., until the expiration date. The flavor might be a bit strange - mushy, or too much of whatever you're marinating it in - but it should be safe to eat.

        1. re: Bat Guano

          Okay, great. Thank you. I had put it in to marinate and then we ended up zooming out of town for a night, and then staying away an extra night... so we'll see. If it tastes weird, fine, I'll toss it, but it might not taste too weird. :) Even if it's mushy, I think I could salvage it for chicken sandwiches or wraps or something.

          Bat Guano, I always laugh when I see the "guano" in your name. Reminds me of going on one of those twilight bat tours in Thailand -- first we trudged through the guano-filled caverns, then watched from a mountain as the whole sky became a dark shadow of bats as they emerged from the caves. Really, really cool.

    2. Would anyone say that marinating chicken for 6 days in the fridge is too long?

      The SO did this last week and cooked the chicken last night. It tasted off to me, but he swears it was the marinade. I couldn’t eat it. He says I’m too paranoid, but six days just seemed like and awfully long time.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cuccubear

        These safety food questions can be difficult to answer. In your case, it depends on how old and the condition of your chicken before you put it in the marinade. how you handle the food and how much salt is in your marinade. Any marinade that has salt or ingredients that has salt such as soy sauce, etc will act as a preservation and help keep food longer before going bad. Just because one doesn't get sick this time that it won't happen in the future.

        1. re: PBSF

          I've always been of the mindset not to take chances. The chicken had been thawed for a day or so and then marinated. There was soy sauce and shrimp paste in the marinade, so some preservation may have occurred. I still stand by my decision not to eat of the bird, and your comment about not getting sick _this time_ is exactly why. :-)

        2. re: cuccubear

          6 days??

          That's bordering on "chicken ceviche"!

        3. Nothing like people who don't know the answer, speculating on an answer.

          Try this:
          Poultry Marinade
          You can marinate an entire chicken or chicken parts. Piercing the chicken with a fork, or cutting it into smaller pieces will help it absorb marinade.
          Removing the skin from the chicken will help it absorb marinade
          In general, two hours of marinating is long enough for the meat to soak up the flavor, but poultry can marinate for up to two days in the refrigerator, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Very acidic marinades can actually toughen the meat over time, so follow the recipe or package directions.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Lachacha

            I cannot wait to try your poultry marinade. We obviously have the same taste buds. And for those people who don't know the answer (you know, those speculating on an answer), they can learn a lot from you. The package directions are a great help, too. Gracias and bon appetito!

            1. re: Lachacha

              Nothing like a timely response.

              After 5+ years, it's time to toss the chicken.

              1. Two Days tops in the fridge. Also it does matter how acidic the marinade is. A local meat market sells marinated chicken breasts. Before he aquired a commercial marinator he marinated the breasts for 3 days. He does Italian, cornell and herbs. Great taste. Chicken takes much longer to marinate. Two hours in the fridge would only start the process.
                Personally, I use a Food Saver jar with the Food Saver. Chicken takes about an hour using that method.