How Long Can Marinated Chicken Stay in The Fridge?

April 6, 2023

Marinated chicken can stay good in your refrigerator for two days, so long as you store it properly. To ensure the meat stays fresh, you must package it properly and store it in a fridge that cools to 40 degrees or lower.

Marinating chicken was among the first things I learned in culinary school. I discovered many recipes and learned the best ways to store them, which comes in handy when cooking chicken for many guests.

Today, I’ll tell you more about what I learned in my culinary classes. You’ll learn more about how long marinated chicken stays in the fridge and why. I’ll also highlight the best storage tips for storing your marinated poultry in the fridge and freezer.

how long can marinated chicken stay in the fridge

How Long Can Marinated Chicken Last in the Fridge?

You can leave the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for up to two days as long as you store it properly. After that, the chicken may lose its unique taste or go bad.

Remember that bacteria may grow quicker on your marinated poultry because most marinades provide a fertile environment for bacteria. As a result, don’t marinate chicken for any longer than necessary.

In general, the chicken should marinate for no more than two hours and no less than thirty minutes at room temperature. It is advisable to keep the chicken in the refrigerator if you intend to let it marinate for longer than two hours. This way, you’ll be able to slow down bacterial growth.

How Long Can You Leave Marinated Chicken in the Freezer?

It is best to place the marinated chicken in a freezer if you want it to last longer than a day or two. When kept at zero degrees, the raw chicken will keep for months, just like cooked chicken.

For example, the whole chicken will keep for a year, whereas chicken pieces will last for nine months in the freezer. If you don’t toss the marinated chicken in the freezer, you risk throwing it out because of bacteria growth. Moreover, if you keep the meat in the freezer for too long, it won’t taste as flavorful. The fresher the meat, the tastier it is. So, it’s best to use the marinated chicken as soon as you possibly can. 

How to Refrigerate Marinated Chicken?

Now that you know how long marinated chicken stays in the fridge, let me show you how to properly store it so it doesn’t go bad before the expected time.

  • When storing your marinated chicken, be sure to use a hygienic, food-safe container. The dish should be made of glass or ceramic. Plastic containers aren’t recommended since they may absorb the flavors of the marinade. Moreover, make sure the container is moisture proof.
  • Make sure the chicken is completely slathered in the marinade. The marinade will keep the chicken moist and prevent it from drying out.
  • Next, ensure that the container sits properly in the fridge, away from other foods. Remember to use the chicken within two days for the freshest and tastiest results.
Raw Marinated Chicken Thighs for Grilling

How to Freeze Marinated Chicken?

We’ve discussed how you can properly keep your marinated chicken in the fridge. Here, we’ll look at a few tips for keeping your marinated chicken in the freezer.

  • Place the marinated chicken in a strong, durable freezer bag. A strong bag ensures the juices from the marinade don’t spill into your freezer.
  • Seal the freezer bag and give it a good toss. This ensures that the chicken fully absorbs the flavors of the marinade. Furthermore, ensure the bag is tightly sealed before placing it in the freezer.
  • Store the marinated chicken in your freezer for about three months. However, note that the meat may become tougher the longer you keep it in the freezer. 

Expert Tip: Ensure you clearly label the marinated chicken so you can easily remember and identify the package. Also, remember that over marinating can make defrosting the chicken more challenging. The marinade should coat the chicken thinly and evenly.

How to Tell if Marinated Chicken is Bad?

Are you unsure about the freshness of your marinated chicken? Let’s discuss three signs that show your marinated chicken is spoiled.


Discoloration is a telling indicator that your chicken is bad. So, look out for any strange green, gray, or brownish colors on the marinated meat. Bear in mind that the color of the marinade may make it tricky to notice any other weird colors.

If that’s the case, wash off the marinade to ensure the chicken is still good. If the chicken is good, you’ll need to marinate the chicken once again. But it’s always better to make a fresh batch from the leftover marinade than risk getting food poisoning from eating spoiled chicken.


Pay attention to how the chicken smells. In my opinion, smelling the chicken is the quickest way to tell if it’s bad.

The stench of rotten meat will surely overpower the aroma of the condiments you used for the marinade. So, if you perceive any sour odor from the meat, it’s best not to eat the meat.


Another way to identify bad chicken is to feel it with your fingers. The meat should not feel sticky or slimy. The marinated chicken should have a moist or oily texture (if you used oil in the marinade).

So, if you feel a sticky texture, wash the meat and check for any discoloration or funky smell. If the meat doesn’t pass the three tests, it’s best to throw it away and buy a new batch of chicken.

Marinated Chicken Wings and Lemon

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Can I Keep the Raw Chicken in the Fridge?

If you recently bought fresh chicken from the grocery store, you’ll have only two days before the meat starts going bad in your fridge. This duration applies whether you buy a whole chicken or chicken pieces.

2. Should I Refreeze Marinated Chicken?

I wouldn’t suggest doing this. Refreezing marinated poultry can be risky, especially if it has been exposed to room temperature for a long time. Why? Refreezing it will affect the meat’s freshness and flavor. So, try to defrost only the quantity of chicken you’ll need to cook chicken.

3. How Do You Defrost Frozen Marinated Chicken Breast?

You can defrost chicken in cold water or a refrigerator. When thawing in cold water, place the marinated chicken breast in a sealed package and sink it into a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes before the frozen chicken has fully defrosted. The other option is to place the chicken in a covered dish and let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.


You can keep your marinated whole chicken or chicken pieces in the fridge for up to two days before they start going bad. Remember to store the meat in a moisture-proof, food-safe container before placing it in the fridge.

Don’t forget to cook the meat after two days, or you may need to throw the chicken out. If you know you won’t use the chicken within two days, simply take it out of the fridge, label it, and place it in the freezer.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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