Can You Eat Cold Chicken?

So, you’ve cooked a big batch of chicken, or got way too much rotisserie from the grocery store. And now, you’ve found yourself in a pickle: way too much chicken that you were forced to chill in the fridge.

Now, the next day, you’re feeling peckish and lazy, and wondering: can you eat cold chicken? Or should you take the time to reheat it?

Good news, if you’re just not feeling it on the reheating front, you absolutely can eat cold chicken. So long as it’s been cooked, chicken is safe to eat at any temperature. It’s pretty tasty too, depending on what you do with it.

But let’s dig into this a little further, there’s more to cold chicken than you think.

How to store chicken

If you’re wanting to get the most out of your chicken, prolonging its shelf life as long as possible, you’re gonna want to store it properly.

Ideally, you’d seal it in an airtight container. But you can also wrap your leftover chicken tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, though this is definitely less ideal. It won’t last as long at high quality if it’s not sealed in an airtight container.

Leftover cooked chicken will last up to 4 days in the fridge., when properly stored.

Safety concerns

So long as the chicken was cooked properly, and stored properly, you have absolutely no safety concerns when eating cold chicken. It’s perfectly safe.

Be mindful, however, that most cooked foods won’t last longer than 4 days no matter how well you store it.

Keep the “3 day rule” in mind, and ideally properly date your leftovers, and everything will be fine.

If it starts smelling funky, or the color changes, or it starts looking slimey, you’ll need to throw it out. It’s spoiled and no longer safe to consume.

How to eat cold chicken

This may come as a surprise to you, but cold chicken is equally as delicious as fresh hot chicken. It has a lot of uses too!

The texture is slightly firmer, which makes it perfect for sandwiches and wraps.

In fact, it might even taste better the day after! Storing your cooked chicken in the fridge for a day or two will allow the seasonings and marinade to settle properly, giving you a more flavorful chicken.

If you’re just not feeling like reheating, but you’re still dying for some chicken, give the following ideas a try.


Cold chicken makes the perfect topping for a nutritious salad.

Throw some leafy greens together with some more colorful veggies and ingredients, like tomato, avocado, and turnips.

Sprinkle some cheese and low-fat dressing and you’ve got a perfect lunch. It tastes good, looks good, and most importantly it’s good for you.


The humble sandwich is a very common and beloved lunchtime meal. It’s simple, easy, and quick – which works perfectly in today’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Slice up your chicken into thin strips, lay between some buttered toasted bread with a dash of mayo and mustard, and you’ve already got yourself a tasty treat.

However, add some extra ingredients like tomato, lettuce, or a slice of cheese for some extra zing in your flavor.


Sometimes, keeping it simple is the best way to go. With your cold chicken, this is a perfectly acceptable way to have it.

Just take your chicken right out of the fridge and tear it into strips. Slap onto a plate and there you go! A quick and easy snack, that’s so much tastier and better for you than a bowl of chips or nuts.

If you want a little extra, you can also have it with pepperoni slices, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, whatever you fancy!

A bowl full of shredded cold chicken is a healthy snack that will surely tide over your appetite til dinner time.

Final thoughts

Chicken is a beloved and versatile food. Just about everyone loves some form of chicken, whether it’s greasy crunchy fried chicken, or decadent chicken parmesan. There’s a chicken dish out there for everyone.

Whether you’re having your chicken hot and fresh, or cold on a salad or sandwich, you just can’t go wrong with this meat.