Is It Possible To Keep Marinated Chicken In The Fridge?

There’s nothing more delicious than eating marinated chicken. You can infuse chicken with so many different flavors, whether it is seasoning, salt, spices or herbs, you can be sure that you can transform your plain-tasting poultry into something incredible.

Is It Possible To Keep Marinated Chicken In The Fridge?

Usually, you should marinate chicken for a few hours to make sure that all the flavor is absorbed completely into it. Once it is cooked, it will taste delightful. But what happens if you’ve made too much, and you have a lot of marinated chicken leftover? Can you keep it in the fridge?

Well, if you are looking for the answer to this question and a lot more, then we would suggest that you keep reading. We’re going to discuss marinated chicken, how you can store it properly in the fridge, and how long it will keep without going bad.

What Is Marinated Chicken?

The great thing about meat is that it is very absorbent and you can actually marinate a lot of different meats, from beef to chicken to fish. If you are marinating chicken, it can take anywhere between 2 and 24 hours to fully absorb all of the flavors.

What you marinate it in will all depend on what kind of recipe you are following and what your personal preferences are regarding flavor. You can have it spicy or even with a little bit of sweetness. There is no limit to the flavor combinations that you can include.

You can also marinate individual cuts of chicken, whether it is drumsticks, wings, breasts or bone-in chicken. This will not take as long to cook and it is a great way of serving smaller portions of chicken with unforgettable flavors.

How Long Does Marinated Chicken Keep In The Fridge?

According to various food safety experts, you can keep marinated chicken in your refrigerator for up to 2 days. If you keep your chicken marinating in the fridge for longer, the chances are that the acids in the marinade will start to dissolve the meat and cause it to go very mushy.

You should try and marinate chicken in the fridge, as this will help to minimize bacterial growth on its surface. You should marinate your chicken for anywhere between 1 and 3 hours. If you marinade it for too long, then you’ll notice the texture becoming softer and a pungent odor developing.

You can also keep marinated chicken breast in the fridge for around 1 – 2 days longer than whole marinated chicken. Chicken breast is quite a lean meat with plenty of muscle on it, which makes it very absorbent.

However, if you notice a noxious odor coming from your chicken breast when you are marinating it, it is probably best to dispose of it.

What Is The Best Method Of Storing Chicken In The Fridge?

Storing a chicken in the fridge is easy, but there are steps that you should take to rule out the possibility of bacteria growing on your chicken or having it taste sub-par after a few days:

  1. Mix your marinade – take all of the salts, herbs, seasonings and spices that you are going to use for the marinade and mix them all together in a bowl large enough to house the whole chicken. We would recommend you use a plastic bowl and avoid metal, as this might affect the taste and coloring of your final chicken.
  2. Coat the chicken – Put the chicken in the marinade and make sure that you coat it evenly all over the surface. This is to make sure that the chicken is moist all over and will not get dry or cracked during the cooking process.
  3. Let it soak overnight – you can either choose to have this one in the fridge overnight for that really deep marinade, or you can leave it for between 1 – 3 hours if you are in a rush. Make sure that it is covered all over.
  4. Remove and cook – make sure that when you take the chicken out that you cook it as soon as possible. If you have any marinade left over, you can freeze it or throw it away. You should not keep the marinade at room temperature for that long.

How Can You Tell When Marinade Goes Bad In The Fridge?

Is It Possible To Keep Marinated Chicken In The Fridge?

There are a few ways that you can tell if marinade goes bad in the fridge. You can use sight, touch, taste and smell to judge whether or not it is safe to eat. Here are a few telltale signs:

  1. It goes pale – if your chicken starts to lose its color, then this could be a sign that it is going off. This is one of the early signs of chicken going bad, so it will probably still be safe to eat if you cook it sooner rather than later.
  2. Smell – marinated chicken has a much stronger smell, especially if it is basted with spices and pepper, than normal chicken. This might make it difficult to tell whether it smells bad. However, after a while, you will notice a strong smell emanating from it.
  3. Texture – after a while the acids in the marinade will start to affect the chicken skin and you’ll notice that it is going soft.
  4. Bad taste – if you tear off a bit of the chicken and taste it, this is a good way to tell if it has gone bad or not. Make sure that you do not ingest the chicken, simply hold it to your tongue long enough to taste it.

If you suspect that your marinated chicken has gone bad, then you should throw it in the trash. Expired chicken contains lots of harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning, which could ultimately be fatal to human beings.

How Can You Extend The Life Of Your Marinated Chicken?

The key to making your chicken last for longer is to ensure that it does not come into contact with any air, as this is where bacteria will thrive. We would recommend that you wrap your chicken twice.

The first time wrap it tightly in cellophane, making sure that there are no air pockets. Then you should place it in an airtight plastic or Tupperware container. You can also freeze your marinated chicken, which will last around 3 weeks when frozen.

When you are freezing chicken, first cut it into smaller pieces, so that they don’t get stuck together and it is easier to thaw out. Place each piece of chicken in a separate freezer bag and put them in your freezer drawer in a separate compartment.

Marinated chicken will retain most of its flavor and integrity, even if you keep it in the freezer for months. However, you should be aware that it will still lose some of its texture the longer you keep it in the freezer.

What Can You Marinade Chicken In?

There are many things that you can marinate chicken in. Here is just a selection of a few of them:

  1. Buttermilk – this is a very popular choice of marinade for chicken, as it makes the meat nice and tender. You should marinate chicken in buttermilk for no longer than 1 – 3 hours.
  2. Lemon juice – if you prefer your chicken with that citrusy flavor, then you should go for lemon juice. You should only marinate your chicken in lemon juice for around an hour, as it can get very corrosive.
  3. Soy sauce – this is another very delicious marinade that you can use for your chicken. You can marinate chicken in soy sauce for around 24 hours.

Here are some marinades that you can make at home using ingredients that you have in your kitchen cupboards:

  1. Mediterranean marinade – olive oil, garlic, lemon zest/juice, oregano, pepper, dried red chili
  2. Tandoori marinade – yogurt, ginger, garlic, chili, turmeric, garam masala
  3. Jerk marinade – garlic, chili, ginger, thyme, brown sugar, soy sauce, allspice
  4. Teriyaki marinade – honey or sugar, mirin, soy sauce
  5. Barbecue marinade – garlic, brown sugar, wine vinegar, paprika

You should make sure that you apply a thick marinade to your chicken. This will help the chicken surface to retain a lot more moisture, which will help with the cooking and ensure that the skin of the chicken does not dry out.

What Oil Should You Use For Marinade?

Ideally, you should use olive oil, as this is much lighter and will help the transfer of heat to the surface of your chicken. This will also help the other ingredients in the marinade to penetrate the meat a lot faster. You can use sunflower oil if you don’t have any olive oil on hand.


We hope that our guide to storing marinated chicken in the fridge has given you a better idea of how long you can store it and whether or not it will be suitable for the chicken dish that you are making. Remember that you shouldn’t leave your chicken marinating for anything longer than 2 days.

Mark Williams
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