How long after purchase should I keep raw chicken?

The rule of thumb is to cook  or freeze refrigerated chicken within two days of purchase. 
Although frozen chicken stays safe indefinitely, for good quality, raw whole chicken should be defrosted and consumed within a year, poultry parts within nine months, and giblets within four months. Before freezing, wrap chicken in an airtight freezer bag.
USDA Fact Sheets "Focus On: Chicken"


I thawed some chicken but then didn't end up cooking it. How long can I safely use it?

Here is an answer from Karin Allen, PhD, one of our Advisory Board members:

"That depends on how it was thawed.  If it was defrosted in the microwave, it must be cooked immediately or it will not be safe. If it was thawed in the fridge or in cool running water (below 40F), it can be held for 2 days before using it."


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