I marinated a whole chicken and put it in the fridge for 5 days--can I still cook and eat it?

  • 1
    Safety is borderline, assuming your refrigerator is at a properly cool temperature. However, after 5 days of sitting in a marinade, the meat will almost certainly be mush.
    – Sean Hart
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 15:36
  • "can"? Sure. "Should"?.. And by the way, what is in your marinade? If it is strongly acidic or, for example, 96% rectified alcohol with some herbs, answer might be a bit closer to "yes".
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 11:56
  • The marination is largely irrelevant. The food safety rules in the question I linked say that you shouldn't be leaving chicken in your fridge for more than 2 days at all.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


Five refrigerated days is pushing well past the recommended boundaries--MeatSafety.org and FoodSafety.gov both recommend no more than 1-2 days.

The marinade would make no significant difference in the overall shelf life of the chicken. This applies even to acid or enzyme based marinades since the concentration and application is not uniformly controlled.


Generally 5 days is too long, however it depends on the sell-by date of the chicken. If it was very fresh when you bought it any you marinaded it right away then it may be within its sell-by date in which case it may be safe to cook and eat. Make sure it passes the smell test after you wash it very thoroughly if you decide to give it a go.

Personally, I'd chuck it and get another one as I'd find it hard to enjoy a chicken that I suspected could potentially make my future short and painful.

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