How Long Can I Save Chicken In The Freezer?


While there are several ways to preserve chicken, the most common way to save and store many foods (like chicken) is in the freezer.

An often asked question is, “How long can chicken (and other food) be saved-stored in the freezer and still be safe to eat?”

Here’s the answer:


Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe

Always. Every time; on every occasion; without exception.

According to the USDA, as long as the freezer temperature is zero-degrees-F or below, the food will always be safe.

Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage (texture, flavor, taste).

Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness.

Freezing to zero-degrees-F inactivates any microbes — bacteria, yeasts and molds.

Because freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.

Over time, all frozen foods will eventually start to go downhill when it comes to texture, flavor and taste. You’re likely going to experience some dryness and loss of flavor. So roasting and serving the chicken whole may not be the best way to go. Instead, you might want to opt for cooking the chicken first and then using it in a soup, stew or casserole.


  1. thought I would post this, in case any doubted your “will always be safe”…

    up here in Canada, I was listening to a call in radio show. The guest was a food safety/safe food storage expert/nutrionist (something like that), and someone phoned in and said

    they had a turkey in their freezers for fifteen yrs (some ridiculous long time), and wondered if it was safe to eat.

    after verifying it had indeed been frozen for the entire time, and a short time of putting caller on hold, while something was checked,
    caller was assured turkey would be absolutely safe to eat, if cooked appropriately.

  2. Which is why I prefer to can chicken whenever possible. I use the freezer only as a holding point until I have collected enough meat and I have the time to do the canning, usually a Saturday or sunday. Chicken is probably the easiest meat to can. It is also a lot less expensive than commercially canned chicken you get at the big box store. It is also a lot healthier.

    Canning basic meats allows more freezer space for my prime rib, rib eye, T-bone, bratwurst, Italian sausage and breakfast sausage, which are not so good canned. The only processed meats I can enjoy canned are wieners (not franks). Canned sausages are reserved for double dog dares at bars.

  3. Even though I try to rotate meats in the deep freezer as often as possible, I’ve cooked up steaks that had been frozen for three years, and they were just fine. Keep in mind that using a foodsaver sealer will remove most of the air, and reduce the “freezer burn” effect quite a bit. That foodsaver has to be one of the best investments in my kitchen, and I highly recommend one!

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