If you’re a fan of chicken nuggets, chances are you’ve found yourself in the all-too-familiar dilemma of wondering how long they can be left out before they go bad. Whether you’ve accidentally forgotten about them on the counter or were simply too tired to put them away after dinner, it’s important to know how to safely store and consume your favorite crispy snacks. So, if you find yourself asking the question, “how long are chicken nuggets good for left out?”, you’re in the right place. Let’s delve into this commonly asked question and find out the answer together.

How Long Are Chicken Nuggets Good For Left Out?

Chicken nuggets are a popular and convenient food choice for many people. From children to adults, these bite-sized pieces of breaded chicken are loved by all. But, as with any food, it’s important to know how long they can be left out before they become unsafe to eat. In this article, we will dive into the topic of how long chicken nuggets are good for when left out, and provide tips on how to properly store and consume them.

The Dangers of Leaving Chicken Nuggets Out

Leaving chicken nuggets out at room temperature for too long can put you at risk for foodborne illnesses. This is because bacteria can quickly grow on foods that are not properly stored at the right temperature. When chicken nuggets are left out, they are in what is known as the “danger zone”, which is between 40°F and 140°F. Within this temperature range, bacteria multiply rapidly, making the food unsafe to eat.

Additionally, breaded foods such as chicken nuggets can become soggy and lose their crispiness when left out for too long. This can affect the texture and taste of the nuggets, making them less enjoyable to eat.

The Recommended Time Limit for Leaving Chicken Nuggets Out

The general rule of thumb is to not leave chicken nuggets out at room temperature for more than two hours. This applies to all types of chicken nuggets, whether they are homemade or store-bought. After the two-hour mark, bacteria can start to grow on the nuggets, making them unsafe to eat.

It’s also important to note that this time limit applies to when the chicken nuggets are first cooked and brought out at room temperature. If the nuggets have already been refrigerated and then left out, the two-hour time limit still applies. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and not leave any food out for longer than two hours.

Exception: Frozen Chicken Nuggets

If you are planning on cooking frozen chicken nuggets, it is safe to leave them out at room temperature until they are completely thawed. At this point, the two-hour time limit starts. Once the nuggets are fully thawed, they should be cooked immediately or placed in the refrigerator for later consumption.

If you accidentally leave thawed chicken nuggets out for longer than two hours, do not refreeze them. Instead, cook them and consume them right away or properly store them in the refrigerator and consume within three to four days.

Tips for Safely Storing and Consuming Chicken Nuggets

To ensure that your chicken nuggets stay safe and delicious, here are some tips for storing and consuming them:

1. Refrigerate Leftovers Immediately

If you have leftover chicken nuggets, make sure to place them in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Do not leave them out on the counter to cool down before refrigerating. Putting them in the fridge immediately slows down the growth of bacteria, making them safe to eat for a longer period of time.

2. Store Them in an Airtight Container

When storing chicken nuggets in the refrigerator, make sure to place them in an airtight container or resealable bag. This will prevent them from drying out and absorbing unwanted odors from other foods in the fridge.

3. Reheat Them Properly

If you want to reheat your chicken nuggets, it’s important to do so properly to kill any harmful bacteria that may have grown on them. The best way to do this is to heat them in the oven at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

4. Practice Good Food Safety Habits

It’s always important to practice good food safety habits when handling and consuming chicken nuggets. This includes washing your hands before and after handling raw chicken, using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and other foods, and cooking chicken nuggets to the proper internal temperature.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of how long chicken nuggets are left out at room temperature. To ensure their safety, remember to not leave them out for more than two hours and to properly store and consume them within a few days. By following these tips, you can safely enjoy delicious chicken nuggets without putting your health at risk.


  • United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/danger-zone-40-f-140-f/ct_index
  • Foodsafety.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/4-steps-to-food-safety
  • Rieck, C. (2010). CDC Expert Commentary: 5 Myths About Food Safety. Retrieved from https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/711818

In conclusion, it is important to properly store and consume chicken nuggets to avoid potential food safety risks. From our research, we have found that chicken nuggets should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. To ensure their freshness and quality, it is recommended to refrigerate them within this time frame. By following proper storage and handling procedures, you can safely enjoy your chicken nuggets without any concerns. Thank you for reading and we hope this article has provided you with helpful information on how long chicken nuggets are good for when left out.

By Kitty Smith

I am a Ohio living blogger with a penchant for all things pretty. You can typically find me roaming around my neighborhood of Long Island with latte in my hand and with an iPhone raised above my head to capture the majesty of it all. I mostly post fashion content to Kitty's Lifestyle and I also post recipes on my cooking blog Kitty's Kitchen Recipes.

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