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Feb 28, 2008 06:07 PM

How long will chicken breasts keep in fridge?

Curious for feedback on this, I tend to cook meat as soon as I buy it, or, if frozen, thaw it and cook it right away, but I have some chicken I need some advice on.

We had some boneless skinless chicken breasts in the freezer for a while, I don't cook them much but like them in a stir fry or curry sometimes. Pulled them out to cook tonight or tomorrow, but circumstances have conspired against me: My loving wife is away tonight at an event I forgot about, and I don't feel like cooking all that chicken for myself when we have leftover lamb stew, and we are taking a last minute trip out of town that nixes dinner for tomorrow and the day after. The chicken was in the freezer and just got thawed enough to cook in time for dinner today. How long will it keep? Can I make it for dinner Sunday (i.e. 3 days later than I would have cooked it)?

Any thoughts as to whether it would keep better cooked or raw? I could just grill/poach/broil the breasts to have some cooked meat in the fridge, but would rather make chicken with garlic and broccoli on Sunday.

Let me know what you think.

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  1. I could put it back in the freezer for a few days, too, but somehow that does not seem like a good idea.

    3 Replies
    1. re: andytee

      It's perfectly safe to refreeze IF it was thawed under refrigeration.

      1. re: OldDog

        agreed...although the texture may suffer a bit after being refrozen and thawed again.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Yeah, they were thawed in the fridge, but my aversion to re-freezing was more about taste and texture.

    2. I occasionally have this same problem. When I am forced to re-freeze, I usually just boil the chicken from frozen, then scrub the pot I boiled them in, shred the meat and add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and have tacos.

      I've also just grilled and returned to the fridge, covered well, and reserved for bbq chicken sandwiches or pesto chicken sandwiches.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gsshark

        Right now I am leaning towards boiling them today (Friday) and keeping them in the fridge until Sunday when I will eat them. 48 hours... what do you think?

      2. although the science may say it is OK and jfood has learned that thaw-refree-thaw may not be bad, jfood would toss them. he still believes in the when in doubt throw it out theory.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          As usual, jfood and I are on opposite poles on the issue of tossing food. I would poach (bring to boil and then turn down to low heat for 20 minutes) and shred the breasts for later use.

          I'm still threatening to move in next door to jfood (and shop his dumpster) so that I'll never have to buy food again.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            I'm gonna go with this method, I'll poach them after work before leaving town and eat them one way or another (maybe Tinga de Pollo?) on Sunday.

            Thanks folks.

            1. re: andytee

              to follow up:

              i'm sure you have all been waiting with baited breath.

              i poached the chicken breasts before leaving town on friday, and tonight made them into a quick and simple soup with frozen chicken broth, onion, celery, cubed butternut squash, parsley and egg paperdelle noodles. stirred in a little bit of a very garlic-y parsley-pine nut pesto at the end for a blast of flavor. a good soup, and the chicken was fine. thanks for the tips.

          2. re: jfood

            Why would he toss them if they've only been thawed for one night and he can poach/bake them?

            I'd cook them up and have some cooked chicken in the fridge. Make chicken salad or tacos or something else with it. I wouldn't trust leaving it raw until Sunday.

            1. re: jfood

              In this case, I see nothing wrong with using them, since they were kept refrigerated the whole time. Refreezing, I don't like on many levels. Cooking (poaching, boiling etc...) and refreezing is my normal method to handle situations like this.

              1. re: PaulaT

                to jfood's friends both near and far, jfood does not re-freeze protein without cooking.

                if a frozen piece goes raw in the fridge he won;t re-freeze it. He will cook and then re-freeze the finished product. But the OP seems to ask if it could keep 4 days after defrosting before cooking. Jfood would not do that with fresh and he sure as heck won;t do with defrosted. If OP could cook thoroughly today and then freezes post thorough cooking then jfood would refreeze the prepared, not the thawed-refrozen protein..

                Sorry for the confusing post.

            2. So, then, is the general consensus that leaving the just thawed chicken breasts in the fridge for 72 hrs (3 days) is not a good idea?

              3 Replies
                1. re: andytee

                  I see nothing wrong with using chicken that has been thawed and refrigerated for 3 days. But then, I keep my fridge very cold (35 F) and I live alone so it isn't opened often. One trick that will prolong its uncooked life is to store it soaking in buttermilk or an acidic marinade. Buttermilk has the advantage of tenderizing and preserving moisture but not adding flavor.

                  1. re: rouxmaker

                    I thawed chicken breast from freezer in the sink but stuff came up and I was unable to cook them so I placed them in a huge ziplock n added half bottle of mojo marinate and placed on top shelf n the refrigerator so I can cook for dinner tomorrow night ..... Is this ok

                2. u can usually get 3 days or so out of chicken smell it

                  bad chicken smells bad