How Long Can You Marinate Chicken in the Fridge?

how long can you marinate chicken in the fridge

How long can you marinate chicken in the fridge? It really depends on a few key factors. Marinades are a great way to add flavor and tenderness to chicken. They’re also the perfect solution for people who don’t have much time or energy to cook because they can do all of the work while you go about your day.

Marinating is an ancient technique that was originally used in dry regions where there wasn’t always enough moisture in food from cooking it over an open flame or boiling it in water. In order for meat to be moistened, people would soak it in a liquid mixture before cooking it slowly over low heat on a rotisserie spit or skewer. This process helped make sure that the entire piece of meat was cooked evenly without any excess fat dripping into the fire and causing flare-ups that could burn it.

How to properly marinate chicken

A marinade is a sauce that has been flavored by soaking meat, fish or vegetables in it. It often contains an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, vinegar or wine and oil. The acid helps to tenderize meats and acts therefore as a kind of “shortcut” so the meat doesn’t require long cooking times. The ingredients in the marinade also help to keep the meat moist while it is being cooked.

To marinate chicken you want to make sure you have the right tools.  For starters, you will need a big enough container or bowl to lay the chicken flat. You will also want to make sure it is not see-through so that the marinade does not go bad from light exposure. The best thing to use here would be a food grade Ziplock bag. Finally, you’ll want to have some sort of weight to weigh down the chicken so that it all stays submerged.

How long can you safely marinate chicken in the fridge

You can safely marinate chicken pieces in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, and whole chickens up to 3 days. The issue with longer marination times is flavor penetration has occurred and the texture of the meat has broken down so it becomes more “rubbery”. It’s not really safe to have chicken sitting in the fridge for too long anyway.

You want to make sure that your chicken is sealed tightly before you put it in the refrigerator.  This is to prevent any unwanted bacteria from growing and affecting the meat. Always use a clean utensil to put the marinade on and remove it from the container, and always wash your hands before and after touching the meat.

Top 5 Marinades for Chicken

Mediterranean marinade:

Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Combine ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken; let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.

Honey-mustard marinade:

Combine honey, molasses, mustard and soy sauce in a small bowl; add enough water so the mixture is thin enough to brush over the chicken during cooking.  Marinate at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.

Italian marinade

Olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Combine ingredients in a small bowl; add enough water so the mixture is thin enough to brush over the chicken during cooking.  Marinate at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.

Cajun marinade

Equal parts of lemon juice, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce and coarsely ground black pepper; add minced garlic to taste, 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves per cup of marinade or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves.  Combine ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken or pork; let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Note: this marinade is spicy, adjust accordingly if using on delicate meat such as fish.

Thai marinade

Pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and honey to taste.  Combine ingredients in a small bowl; add enough water so the mixture is thin enough to brush over the chicken during cooking.  Marinate at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.

Marinades are a great way to add flavor and keep chicken moist. The best part is that they’re easy to make yourself so you don’t have to rely on the “packet” stuff from your local grocery store. You can use simple ingredients like honey, soy sauce or olive oil in these marinades for chicken recipes that include lemon juice, garlic or thyme leaves. With just a little bit of time, you’ll be able to create some delicious dishes with minimal effort!

Marinating Chicken in the Fridge FAQ

Can I marinate chicken for 4 days?

The USDA says that it’s okay to marinate meat for up to 2 days at a time from the day you first place the meat into a marinade.

How long does it take to marinate chicken?

It all depends on the size of the meat. Basically, for every pound of meat you will need to marinate it anywhere between 4-7 hours.

How long can I safely marinate chicken?

According to the FDA, you can safely marinate your poultry in the fridge (not out on your counter) for up to two days.

Is it bad to marinate chicken for 2 days?

According to the USDA, it’s okay to marinate your meat for up to 2 days.

How do I know if raw chicken is bad?

In order to tell if your chicken is bad, here are a few steps that you can take. First of all, when you open the package and see that it’s slimy or sticky you know that either the meat has been dripping on something else or bacteria outbreak has begun in your fridge. Second of all, make sure to smell the chicken. If it smells bad, then it probably is. Third of all, if you touch the chicken with your hands and it’s slimy, sticky or has an unusual color you know that something is wrong. Finally, look for a weird smell or change in texture.

How long can thawed raw chicken stay in the fridge?

You can keep your thawed chicken in the fridge for 1-2 days.

 

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