Can You Eat Cold Chicken?

Written By Lewis Crutch


We have all been there, after cooking up a whole chicken for a delicious roast dinner there is always a lot of meat left. Obviously, you don’t want to waste it but what do you do with it? You can always freeze it for use later, or pop it into the fridge to reheat if you are careful but can you eat cold chicken too?

You can eat cold chicken as long as it has been cooked first. Just make sure you keep any cold cooked chicken in the fridge and only bring it out when you plan to eat it.

Cold chicken can be eaten, but you do need to take care with how you cool it and then store it. It’s during this period that things can become dangerous with the chicken.

When it has cooked you need to allow the meat to cool down completely, then pop it into a container with a lid. Put this in the fridge for two to three days. Don’t risk leaving it in the fridge longer than this or you could end up sick from the bacteria growth and spoiled chicken.

When you store your cold cooked chicken in the fridge, make sure you keep it away from any raw meats to avoid contamination. Keep your cooked meats in well wrapped and sealed containers on the top shelf and any raw meats on the bottom shelf.

What Does Cold Chicken Taste Like?

Cold chicken is delicious. It tastes like any cooked chicken, but when you eat it cold, it has a slightly firmer texture which is perfect for an addition to a sandwich or just to eat as a snack. 

You might even find that the flavour of the chicken is even better cold! This is because putting food in the fridge can allow the seasonings and flavourings to really develop over time.

How to Eat Cold Chicken

If you don’t want to reheat your chicken leftovers then there’s no need to worry, there are plenty of ways to eat your chicken cold. Here are a few for you to try:


Sometimes keeping things simple is the best option and if you find you are hungry part way through the morning or afternoon then instead of reaching for your usual unhealthy snacks why not try and nibble on some cold chicken?

Pop some onto a plate and just eat it as you would crisps or nuts. It’s full of protein and nutrition, and it will help keep you full until lunch. You could even eat it alongside a dip!


Cold chicken works wonderfully in a salad. It’s the perfect addition. It’s easy, nutritious, and tastes great.

Make up your salad using a good mix of salad leaves and other salad veggies. Add the chicken and your favourite dressing, and you have a delicious lunch!

If you want to add something a little extra, you can grate a little cheese over the top too.


Everyone loves a sandwich at lunchtime. It’s the perfect meal. Easy to eat, and you can add whatever ingredients you want. Cold chicken makes fantastic sandwiches, and you can be sure you don’t waste any of that delicious leftover chicken.

Slice it thinly, mix with mayonnaise, a drop of mustard and then pile between slices of buttered bread. You could even use cold chicken in a cheese toastie to add protein and substance to it.


Another way to use your chicken up is to add it as a topping to nachos. Just shred the meat and sprinkle it over your nachos with the rest of your sauces and salsas. You could, of course, warm the chicken through when you melt the cheese.

Benefits of Eating Cold Chicken

When you eat your cold chicken, you are getting all the same benefits you got when it was cooked freshly. Chicken is a high protein meat which is important for any healthy diet.

Chicken is a lean meat so you can eat it without worrying too much about the calories – especially if you have used a leaner cut such as breast. On top of this, it can help promote bone and heart health.

The added benefit of eating your chicken cold is that you aren’t letting any of those nutritious leftovers go to waste. Food waste is still a major issue so you should do anything you can to prevent it.

Should You Eat Cold Chicken?

If you have leftover chicken, then there is no reason not to eat it cold. Ultimately, no one wants to throw any meat out so why should you not eat it!

It makes it easy to eat, and you can easily add it to meals or just snack on it when you get peckish. It even works great tossed into a salad or in a sandwich.

Just be careful to keep your cold chicken in the fridge at all times. If you let it sit at room temperature, then this is when it has the most opportunity for bacteria to grow, which can make you sick. But this is the case with most meat and fish products and not just exclusive to chicken.

Cold Chicken FAQs

If you’ve got other specific questions about eating cold chicken then these might help:

Is It Safe to Eat Cold Chicken?

Eating cold chicken is perfectly safe. The main concern should be over how you store it. Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, you should cover it and place it straight into the fridge. Do not leave it out on the worktop for too long.

Can You Eat Cold Chicken Nuggets?

Yes, you can eat cold chicken nuggets. If they are from your local takeaway or fast-food restaurant then err on the side of caution but as long as you store them in the fridge then they should be fine to eat.

Is It Safe to Eat Cold Fried Chicken?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat cold fried chicken. However, you may find the outside loses its crispy texture and become soft over time.

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