Golden brown cooked chicken wings are like sunshine on a rainy day. Still, if you have made a big batch of these deliciously tasty morsels, you may be faced with the dilemma of how you will keep them and, more importantly, how long you can keep them in the fridge without spoiling.
Did you know that the average American will eat a staggering 17,653 chicken wings during adult life? According to the national chicken council, 1.33 billion chicken wings are consumed during Super Bowl weekend! Get ready for some amazing facts about chicken wings.
This article will answer the most frequently asked questions regarding how long chicken wings will last in the fridge and much more.
Let’s dive in.
Can I eat cooked chicken wings from the fridge after five days?
Nope. You may think that your fridge is the perfect haven for storing cooked chicken wings, and you would be partly right, but the fact is that cooked chicken wings in the fridge don’t have a massive lifespan.
The USDA states that chicken wings in the fridge last for four days maximum. And that depends on how fresh the chicken wings were when they were cooked.
To be on the safe side, eat the chicken wings from your fridge within three days. They can be eaten cold as part of a salad or reheated to maintain that delicious crispy golden skin.
Oh, and by the way, if your chicken wings have been in the fridge for five days, they are considered by the USDA to be garbage and should be thrown away to avoid food poisoning.
What bacteria grows on cooked chicken?
You may know never to mess with contaminated chicken. It is considered a high-risk food, so if you are in doubt, toss the wings and start again.
The most common bacteria found on cooked chicken wings are:
- Campylobacter. It even sounds nasty. What are the first signs of Campylobacter?
People with Campylobacter infection usually have diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps. Nausea and vomiting may accompany the diarrhea. These symptoms start around 2 to 5 days after ingestion of chicken wings. Expect to be sick for a week. You may need hospital treatment.
- Salmonella. You are going to hate salmonella. It sets itself up faster than Campylobacter and will bowl you over with these symptoms.
- Stomach (abdominal) cramps.
- Blood in the stool.
- Clostridium perfringens. This bacteria comes exclusively from eating foods that have not been appropriately stored, like chicken wings that are five days old. A delightful little bacteria will see you with the following symptoms.
- Pain and cramps.
- Stomach bloating.
- Increased gas.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Muscle aches.
How much fun can you have on Superbowl weekend?
How do you know when cooked chicken wings are bad?
Here is the problem, if you have had chicken wings in the fridge for five days or even sitting on a countertop buffet top arrangement for more than two hours, you will never know the wings are bad until it’s too late.
They may taste fine, but the bacteria load in the meat is out of control and will put you in bed for a week at least.
Before we get into the apparent changes in cooked chicken wings, it is worth saying that if you are hosting a party such as a Superbowl party. It is incumbent on you to make sure the wings are purchased fresh. The chicken wings are cooked to perfection, and the chicken wings are stored correctly so your friends do not become sick.
This is what bad chicken wings loom like:
- The texture has changed from crisp to slimy and somewhat soggy. If your chicken wings are sticky unintentionally, there is a problem, and you should consider that the chicken wings are bad and need to be disposed of.
- The mold on the chicken wings will manifest as green, gray, black, or even white spots.
- Taste, if they didn’t taste like freshly cooked wings, then guess what? It’s bad.
It can be challenging to identify when cooked wings are bad, and the changes can be subtle, so stick to the advice of the USDA.
Can you reheat chicken wings to get rid of bacteria?
Yes, but can your chicken withstand being reheated to a high temperature? If you are going to kill the bacteria from reheating cooked chicken wings, the chicken will need to reach an internal temperature of 165℉.
Can your chicken wings stand cooking again?
Can you freeze precooked wings?
Yes. It is an excellent way of storing leftover chicken wings, and they will have an indefinite life in the freezer if stored at 0℉. However, if you want to eat the wings while they are still succulent and tasty, eating them within six months of freezing is recommended.
What’s the best way to freeze cooked chicken wings?
If you have a big batch of chicken wings, prepare batches of wings so you can freeze and, more importantly, thaw portions rather than a big batch of wings that may be inconvenient.
Freezing cooked chicken wings does not alter the texture if stored properly.
Place the cooked chicken wings in a zip lock bag and place a portion of chicken wings in the bag. To prevent freezer burn, place the zip lock bags in an airtight container and then freeze.
How do you reheat frozen cooked wings?
First, you will need to that the chicken wings. You should do this by placing the portion of chicken contained in Ziploc bags on a plate in the fridge, and it may take 10 hours or more for the cooked wings to thaw completely.
Once you are satisfied, the chicken wings are thawed, and place them on a baking tray in an oven that has been preheated to 350°F. The cooking time should be 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken wing. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken wing is 165°F. This is the cooking temperature for chicken.
How long do deep-fried chicken wings last in the fridge?
There is a suggestion that deep-fried chicken wings can last longer than roast chicken wings in the fridge. Unfortunately, it is not true, and the same rules apply to chicken wings regardless of cooking technique.
Fried wings will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge before they are not fit for consumption. If you want to freeze your chicken wings, they can last up to six months in the freezer.
Can you freeze cooked chicken wings after three days?
Yes, you can. After three days in the fridge, the cooked wings are still deemed edible, so throw them in the freezer and extend the life of the wings.
Freezing chicken wings applies to a whole chicken, also. If you freeze a whole bird, it is advisable to strip the chicken meat from the bones, it defrosts faster, and sometimes the chicken bones can impart a flavor to the chicken that’s not so pleasant. The same rules apply to refrigeration and bacteria load.
How do I make precooked chicken wings crispy?
First, you must ensure that the chicken wings are thawed perfectly so the wings will reheat uniformly.
Then you can prepare the wings in a preheated oven of 350℉ and let them cook for 10 to 20 minutes, ensuring the internal temperature rises to 165℉, which is the indicator the chicken is cooked perfectly, and the bacteria is killed off.
Or you can deep fry the chicken wings or lightly saute them in a shallow pan until the skin is crispy.
However, the key to reheating chicken wings is the internal temperature. If it is not 165℉, it is not cooked and still not safe to eat.
Should you pre-cook chicken wings before grilling?
If you want to remove the hassle of cooking wings on the grill, pre-cook them. This will prevent flare-ups and charred chicken. Cooking chicken on the grill needs a little skill, if not skill, then experience.
There is considerable fat in the chicken wings, and as the chicken wing heats, the fat renders out, dripping on the coals and causing flames. There is a charm to charred wings, so don’t dismiss it. It’s part of the grill experience.
If you are a savvy grill cook, you will have one part of the grill where you can cook on indirect heat, meaning the coals are not under the meat. This will prevent flare-ups and is a great way to cook fatty cuts of meat, sausages, and burgers without the flames leaping from the grill.
Following the USDA guidelines for storing chicken wings on a countertop and in the fridge is essential.
Wings in the fridge will last for 3 to 4 days before being deemed inedible due to bacteria growth. And two hours on a countertop.
Exceeding these time limits will cause potential food poisoning for you and your guests, and you could see yourself in the emergency room.
If you have a lot of chicken wing leftovers, separate them into portions and freeze them. They will last for six months without losing any quality.