The Safest Way To Store Raw Chicken Once You've Opened The Package

Sometimes you have the best intentions to cook something and then life gets in the way. But what can you do if you've already begun to prep, especially if you've opened a package of raw chicken? Chicken can be finicky when it comes to storage and time on the shelf. You certainly don't want to do anything that might cause the chicken to expire sooner than it usually would. Proper storage is essential when you bring the chicken home and again after you've opened it.

When you bring your chicken home from the store, Gold'n Plump recommends it be placed in its original packaging in the coldest area of the refrigerator (the back) for no more than 48 hours. If you are pretty certain you won't be cooking it within two days, send it to the freezer where it will last longer.

On those days when the chicken has been opened with meal prep intentions that aren't going to happen and you're left with defrosted, raw chicken, here's the best way to handle it.

An airtight container

Raw chicken is nothing to mess with. According to the CDC, about one million people get sick from contaminated chicken every year. It must be handled correctly to help avoid spreading bacteria, such as salmonella. People make plenty of mistakes when preparing chicken, including incorrect storage once it's opened. Once chicken has been opened, the right type of storage is essential to keep it fresh and safe. 

First, do not wash the chicken after it's opened. Washing things, including food, often seems wise because it sounds sanitary. However, the Minnesota Department of Health writes that when washing raw chicken, you are creating greater risks as the bacteria from the chicken is splashed into the sink, onto the counters, and possibly onto other foods without you realizing it. Cooking the chicken thoroughly will get rid of any germs and bacteria so skip the washing. Instead, focus on proper storage.

The best way to store raw chicken that has been removed from the package is an airtight container like a zip-seal bag, per Huffington Post. You can also use a Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid. And just as you would store your chicken when you first bring it home, place it in the coldest area of the refrigerator. If you aren't going to use it up within the safe time of 48 hours, you'll need to freeze it, but make sure you transfer it to a freezer-safe bag if needed.