The amount of time chicken stays fresh in the freezer depends on its previous state as fresh or previously frozen chicken may last between 9 months and 1 year in the freezer while leftover chicken nuggets and patties remain fresh for 3 months after freezing. Cooked chicken stored as frozen leftovers remains fresh for up to 6 months; cooked whole chickens or chicken parts stay fresh up to 4 months; cooked ground chicken lasts up to 3 months; and chicken frozen with gravy might last 6 months. Although expiration dates exist for frozen poultry, these dates serve as guidelines for quality and freshness rather than spoiling, say experts at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, since frozen foods remain safe for a long period of time.
Although consumers may safely eat frozen chicken long after storing it away, they should follow some basic guidelines. Freezers should stay at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit, say experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Chicken should be prepared and served or frozen by the "best by" date printed on the food label. Storing chicken immediately after purchasing from the store extends its lifespan in the freezer while properly storing chicken by wrapping in aluminum foil or freezer-safe wrapping retains quality and reduces the chance of chicken getting freezer burns. Consumers may cut or separate chicken parts for convenient use upon thawing, but should remember to never refreeze thawed chicken.