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This Is How Long You Can Store Chicken in the Freezer

We consulted two chefs on the maximum amount of time you can keep frozen chicken for the sake of quality.
crowded frozen food in freezer

Frozen foods last forever in the freezer, but does that mean they will still taste good? As it turns out, Foodsafety.gov actually provides guidelines for how long several foods are meant to be kept in the freezer before their original flavor begins to alter. Chicken is one such food that has a shelf life—with regards to quality—in the freezer. We also spoke with head chef of Hello Fresh, Claudia Sidoti, and concept executive chef at Morton's The Steakhouse New York, Trevor White, to get their insight on exactly how long chicken can last in the freezer before you decide to cook it.

How long does chicken last in the freezer?

Sidoti says that chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to one year before its quality begins to fade. "Chicken cutlets or pieces of chicken can usually last up to about nine months," she adds.

Do you have to package chicken a specific way to prevent freezer burn?

"The best method would be to vacuum-seal, as this removes air from the packaging and seals the bag," says Sidoti. "If you don't have the right equipment for this method, you can also place the chicken breasts in freezer bags and manually push out as much air as possible before zipping them shut."

Don't trust your hands? Chef White offers another method for you to try.

"For best results, all the air must be pushed out prior to sealing, either by hand or by the water displacement method," says White. "The water displacement method requires you to place the chicken into the freezer bag and submerge the bag up to right below the seal, removing all air, then sealing the bag."

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However, he also agrees with Sidoti and says that vacuum-sealing the chicken is your best bet at preventing freezer burn. Do you know why freezer burn happens? Sidoti explains that it's the process that occurs when the chicken is exposed to air, undergoing dehydration. Foods that have experienced freezer burn are safe to eat, but they likely won't taste as good.

"Freezer bags would be another method of storing chicken in the freezer," White adds. "Chicken also can be frozen in the original package from the grocery store. I suggest you add another layer of protection by wrapping the package in aluminum foil."

RELATED: These are the easy, at-home recipes that help you lose weight.

What's something else to never forget when you're freezing chicken?

"Always record the 'frozen on' date on your packaging with a marker so you can keep track of how long it's been in the freezer," advises Sidoti. "Frozen chicken lasts a long time, but it won't be as optimal in taste if left in [the freezer] for too long."

Got all of that down? Great. Now the question is, how long has that frozen chicken been sitting in your freezer?

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more