This advice counts for turkey or other poultry, as well as chicken.
How to store raw chicken
Keep it in the fridge – bottom shelf
Store raw chicken in its original packaging, on the bottom shelf of your fridge. Just make sure the packaging is well-sealed and away from other foods and cooked meats.
Double check that your fridge is set to 0-5°C. This keeps your chicken – and all the food in your fridge – fresher for longer.
You can freeze chicken!
If you don’t think you’ll cook it in time, you can freeze uncooked chicken any time up until its ‘use-by’ date. Simply place it in an airtight container or wrap it well in freezer bags, freezer wrap or cling film before freezing, so the cold air doesn’t dry it out. Write the ‘use-by’ date on the container or bag so when you defrost the chicken, you know how quickly you need to cook and eat it.
When you’re ready to use the chicken, remove from the freezer and defrost it in the microwave using the ‘defrost’ setting, or by placing in the fridge overnight. It’s important to make sure there are no frozen lumps or cold spots in the middle.
Once defrosted, cook it within 24 hours and heat until piping hot all the way through.
- If you have any questions about chilling and reheating chicken, visit the Food Standards Agency's helpful guide to food safety.
How to store cooked chicken
It’s top shelf in the fridge for cooked chicken
If you’ve cooked too much chicken, or just want to store leftovers for later, here’s how.
After cooking, allow the chicken to cool, and within two hours, wrap it well, then place it on the top shelf of your fridge.
Keep cooked chicken away from raw meat and use it up within two days.
You can eat it cold in sandwiches or salads or reheat until piping hot – maybe in a curry, casserole or soup. (Be sure to reheat it only once).
You can freeze cooked chicken, too
Put cooked chicken in an airtight container or wrap the food well in freezer bags, freezer wrap or cling film before freezing. Label it so that you remember what it is and when you froze it, then place in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, remove from the freezer and defrost in the microwave using the ‘defrost’ setting, or place in the fridge overnight. Make sure there are no frozen lumps or cold spots in the middle of the chicken. Then reheat it until piping hot.
Once defrosted, you can turn chicken that was cooked before it was frozen into a new meal, and freeze again to eat another day.
- If you have any questions about chilling and reheating chicken, visit the Food Standards Agency’s helpful guide to food safety.
Fried chicken, roast chicken, or plain chicken, on its own or in a tasty dish – it’s such a versatile food. Here are some ideas to inspire you to cook up every morsel.