Whether serving for a crowd or your family, cooked chicken wings can easily be everyone’s favorite. It may be cooked savory and sweet or hot and spicy or served as an appetizer or main dish, and you’ll notice how quickly the crowd chows it down.
But what to do if you have leftover chicken wings? Don’t fret, as reheated chicken wings are still delicious – as long as they’re stored correctly and within the suggested time.
Knowing how and until when you can store cooked chicken wings is essential to ensure that you’re safe against foodborne disease.
So, are you wondering how long your chicken wings can last in the fridge? We got the answers for you!
Here, we answered 5 of your common storage and freezing questions on how long cooked chicken wings will last in the fridge, freezer, or in a room.
We’ll also help you identify if your leftover chicken wings are still safe to eat. We’ll even give you tips on safely freezing and reheating cooked chicken wings.
How Long Can You Keep Cooked Chicken Wings In The Fridge?
According to the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), cooked chicken wings can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days at 40°F (4°C).
Keep them in an airtight container to avoid cross-contamination with other foods in the fridge.
It’s best to place your cooked chicken wings in the coldest part of your fridge to slow down their spoilage. Keeping it in a refrigerator doesn’t stop bacteria from accumulating in your food, but it helps slow down the process, making it last longer.
After four days, bacterial growth may have increased, making your chicken wings unsafe to eat.
How To Know When Cooked Chicken Wings Have Gone Bad?
Eating spoiled cooked chicken wings can put you at risk for foodborne illnesses or food poisoning.
Chicken is among the foods that can put you at high risk for food poisoning if not cooked or stored correctly. It may contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, and others that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, and other severe symptoms of food poisoning.1
Read More: Best Teas For Diarrhea & Upset Stomach
Cooking or reheating chicken wings may stop the growth of bacteria but only on the surface. These bacteria can still produce toxins that can be harmful to you. So, don’t try and consume spoiled chicken, even just a little bit.
If you found cooked chicken wings in your fridge and you’re unsure if it’s still safe to eat, you can check if it’s gone bad. To do this, you consider four factors: number of days stored, smell, changes in color, and texture.
Here are some tips to know if cooked chicken wings have gone bad:
- The number of days stored: Know how long have the chicken wings been stored. If it goes beyond the suggested number of days, it’s best to discard them.
- Smell – For some individuals, it’s easy to detect spoiled food through its scent. Spoiled chicken wings should smell foul and sour, like rotten eggs. If you’ve kept your chicken wings in the freezer, you need to thaw them first to see if an awful smell comes out.
- Color – You’ll know if your chicken wings are unsafe to eat if it already has patches of gray-green colors or white specks on the skin. These are molds and indicate that there’s already bacterial growth.
- Texture – Try to touch and feel the surface of the chicken wings. If it’s already wet, mushy, and slimy, there’s already too much bacteria growth. These indicate decaying and can be dangerous to consume.
Can You Leave Cooked Chicken Wings At Room Temperature?
According to the FDA, you shouldn’t leave cooked food, including chicken wings, at room temperature for long periods, especially not overnight.
If your room is cool with a temperature of 40oF (4oC) or higher, chicken wings can be left for 2 hours. However, if you have a much warmer room with a temperature of at least 90oF (32oC), cooked chicken wings may only be safe for up to 1 hour.
Harmful bacteria can easily thrive at room temperature compared to when kept in a fridge or freezer.
Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken Wings?
Yes, you can! Freezing cooked chicken wings is an easy way to prolong their life. You can store your chicken wings in an airtight container and keep them for 6 months inside the freezer.
If you plan to freeze your chicken wings, you shouldn’t leave them at room temperature or in the fridge for hours. The sooner you put your chicken wings in the freezer, the better it slows down bacterial growth.
However, you should not put a huge batch of hot or warm chicken wings inside your fridge or freezer. The hot temperature of the foods might affect the coolness of the fridge, putting the other foods inside at risk for spoilage.2
It’s best to quickly store them in the freezer as soon as they’ve cooled down or within 2 hours after cooking.
Can You Reheat Cooked Chicken Wings?
Yes, you can! When reheating cooked chicken wings, it’s best to follow food safety procedures to avoid consuming toxins or harmful bacteria.
According to the FDA, you can reheat the cooked chicken, but you need to make sure all its parts are evenly reheated and reach an internal temperature of at least 165oF or 73oC.
This ensures that the bacteria that grew while it was stored would be killed off in the heat.
Only cooked chicken wings kept inside the fridge at below 40oF (4oC) within 4 days or in the freezer within 6 months are safe to reheat. If kept longer than that, it may already be unsafe.
It’s also recommended to reheat cooked chicken wings only once after being stored. Once you have removed it from cold temperature for reheating, bacteria can again thrive quickly.
I hope this list answered your top 5 questions on how long can cooked chicken wings last in a cool fridge, freezer, or at room temperature.
According to Lydia Buchtmann, spokesperson for the Food Safety Information Council, it’s technically safe to reheat chicken as long as you follow the food safety rules.3
Leftover chicken wings should be refrigerated within 2 hours after cooking, and make sure it’s cooled down. Chicken wings can be stored in a cool fridge for 4 days and in the freezer for 6 months.
When storing and reheating chicken wings, keep in mind that bacteria growth can quickly thrive in a warm and hot room, while the cold temperature can help slow it down.
So, there you go! With this information, you can enjoy a batch of those delicious chicken wings without worrying about storing them and how long they can last.
For more information about chicken, you can also read this blog post: does freezing chicken kill salmonella?