Chicken wings are one of the best finger foods. They truly are the crowd-pleaser at parties and are so easy to make in your oven or air fryer. Wings are great as an appetizer and even as a main dish. If you like them scorching-hot, or maybe a bit milder or tangy.
Whatever your flavor, chicken wings, just like any other cooked poultry product, are highly perishable. Steps need to be taken to ensure they stay edible and safe to eat. They should never be kept at room temperature for extended periods of time. Storing in the refrigerator is your best bet, and we will look at how long you can safely keep your leftover wings for.
How Long are Chicken Wings Good For?
How Long do Chicken Wings on the Table Last?
Indoors Shelf Life: 2 hours
Outdoors In Sun: 1 hour
It's not uncommon for wings at a party to be left out on a table. Sure, they are usually quickly eaten up, but there is still a chance leftovers can sit out for some time. Chicken wings can harbor foodborne illnesses if they are left to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods.
A tray of cooked wings left on a table indoors should be discarded once they have sat out for 2 hours. You run the risk of bacteria growth when foods like cooked poultry are left at room temperatures. Try to only prepare what is needed, and store leftovers back into the refrigerator quickly.
If you have leftover wings that you want to save for later, it is important to know how long they can last before they become unsafe to consume. The USDA recommends storing leftover wings in the refrigerator after no more than two hours after cooking.
If you are hosting an outdoor event, BBQ, or tailgate party your wings are even more delicate. A tray of chicken wings left out in the sun might go bad even quicker. Try to shade from the direct sun, eat them quickly, and discard any leftovers after 1 hour.
How Long will Wings in the Fridge Last?
Stored in the Fridge Shelf Life: 4 days
Your cooked chicken wings are best stored for a short term in your fridge. Once you take them out of the fridge, it is important that they are served immediately. The coldness of the refrigerator slows down the metabolism of the meat, which makes it harder for bacteria to grow.
They can be left in the refrigerator for up to four days. It is best to keep them in an air-tight container, plastic-wrapped, foil-wrapped, or covered in a dish. This prevents them from becoming stale or absorbing any other food odors from your refrigerator.
The refrigeration won't completely kill any bacteria that could be on the chicken wings, but it does slow down the growth of the bacteria. Storing your leftover chicken wings in your fridge will give you a few extra days to safely eat your wings. After four days in the fridge, the bacteria growth increases and your chicken wings should be thrown away. If you are in doubt, throw it out!
Should I Freeze my Cooked Chicken Wings?
Stored in the Freezer: 6 to 8 months
You have probably bought your chicken wings from the store frozen. This is the ideal way to buy uncooked wings or even prepared wings. Freezing any type of meat keeps it stable for a very long time. The freezer temperatures, which are below zero F, completely stop bacteria growth and prevent any from multiplying.
Your cooked chicken wings can be frozen for six to eight months before their quality starts to really deteriorate. Most meats left in a freezer for more than six months are prone to becoming 'freezer-burnt' which affects their taste and texture. To avoid this, make sure you date and label your frozen foods so they don't get overlooked and forgotten!
When taking your chicken wings out from the freezer to cook, remember to give yourself enough time. Take them out the night before you plan to cook them, thawing them out in the fridge overnight.
Try to prepare only as many wings as you know will be needed. Avoid leaving out wings for extended periods of time on the counter, tables or out on serving trays. Transfer those leftover wings into the fridge before they go bad.
Refrigerated cooked wings are good for a few days in the fridge, as long as they are kept in a tightly-sealed container. If you need to store wings for longer, the freezer can keep them for up to several months.
The refrigerator is the safest place for thawing chicken wings. This involves transferring the chicken from the freezer to the refrigerator one night before you intend to eat it. You can use a microwave in a pinch, to thaw your wings but it can affect the texture.
What happens if you eat old chicken wings?
Foodborne illness can be caused by eating spoiled chicken. Also known as food poisoning. It is always better to throw out any chicken you suspect has gone bad. Even if the chicken is cooked well, eating old chicken can lead to food poisoning.
Can I eat wings that were left out overnight?
This is a big No! Your chicken wings can only be left in the danger zone, between 40 and 140° Fahrenheit, for up to 2 hours. You can only leave your wings out for about one hour if they are outdoors in sunlight. Don't risk it!
How long after eating bad chicken do you get sick?
Bacteria are found in raw or undercooked meats like poultry, unpasteurized dairy products, and untreated water. Campylobacter food poisoning usually takes between two and five days to incubate (from the time that bacteria is introduced until symptoms appear).