Question: I thawed some frozen chicken pieces for dinner tonight, but I’ve had a change in plans and I’d rather make them tomorrow. How long will the thawed chicken last in the fridge?
Answer: If you thawed the chicken in the refrigerator, you don't have to cook it right away.
Poultry that’s been defrosted in the fridge can be safely kept for an additional one to two days in the refrigerator before cooking, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You also can safely refreeze it within that same timeframe.
On the other hand, if you thawed the chicken in the microwave or in cold water, the USDA advises that you cook it immediately.
That’s because with either method, the chicken could have at least temporarily warmed up to a temperature higher than 40°F. At that point, harmful bacteria can begin to multiply rapidly and prompt cooking is required to destroy it.