How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?

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The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that cooked chicken should sit at for no more than two hours at temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees F. If the ambient temperature is 90 degrees F or higher, cooked chicken should be refrigerated or consumed after one hour.

Chicken carries a host of bacteria, including E. coli, campylobacter, klebsiella pneumonia, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus, so proper preparation and handling is essential to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Always cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and discard cooked chicken after 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or 2 to 6 months in the freezer.