While chicken can last for months in the freezer, once you move it to the refrigerator, that lifespan shortens to days. Defrosting your chicken to the refrigerator is the safest method, though it is also the slowest way. Though this can mean a thawing process that takes several days, the chicken is still safe to cook after it fully thaws out.
Chicken Thawing Timeline
When you store uncooked chicken in the freezer, it can last between nine and 12 months, and to thaw it out, all you have to do is move it to the refrigerator. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends storing chicken in the refrigerator for no more than one or two days, this timeline only applies to uncooked, unfrozen chicken. This means that if your chicken takes two days to completely thaw in the refrigerator, you can safely keep it there for another one or two days after that.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.