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How Long Does Butter Chicken Last? Does It Go Bad?

Butter chicken is an Indian dish consisting of marinated chicken cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce, flavored with various Indian spices like garam masala, cumin seeds, and chili powder.

Butter chicken is an incredibly delicious and popular dish but can be quite filling for one sitting and might leave some leftovers.

So, how long does butter chicken last, and does it go bad?

Butter chicken can last up to four days in the fridge and about two months in the freezer. The shelf life of butter chicken depends on how it is stored and the temperature it is kept at. It is important to reheat the leftover butter chicken properly before consuming it.

How Long Does Butter Chicken Last?

Butter chicken is a delicious and flavorful Indian dish that can make for a satisfying lunch or dinner. However, if you can’t finish the dish at one go, it is essential to know how long the leftover butter chicken can last.

The amount of time that butter chicken lasts depends on various factors like storage, temperature, and ingredients used to prepare the dish.

Refrigerated Butter Chicken

Refrigeration is the most common method used to store leftover butter chicken. The properly refrigerated butter chicken can be consumed up to four days from the preparation date.

Butter chicken is a cream and dairy-based dish that is moist and protein-filled, making it extremely vulnerable to bacterial growth when kept at room temperature.

If you plan to eat the leftover within four days, it is best to refrigerate them appropriately.

Frozen Butter Chicken

Frozen butter chicken can last up to two months if stored correctly. The longer butter chicken remains in the freezer, the more likely it is to lose its texture and flavor.

If you want to keep the butter chicken for a more extended period, it is better to freeze it. However, before doing so, consider a few essential points.

While freezing, cover the dish with a plastic wrap or airtight container to keep air out and prevent the formation of ice crystals, which can adversely affect the texture.

It is good to freeze butter chicken in smaller portions that can be taken out and reheated instead of freezing the whole amount in one container.

How To Tell If Butter Chicken Has Gone Bad?

Besides knowing how long butter chicken lasts, it is essential to identify if the dish has gone bad.

Here are some signs to identify if the butter chicken has gone bad:

Discolored appearance

If you see a change in color, like the sauce’s color being duller than it was when you refrigerated/froze it, then these are signs that it’s gone bad.

Foul Smell

Spoiled butter chicken emits an unpleasant, sour odor, unlike the notes of rich spices and herbs.

Weird Taste

Bad butter chicken will have a strange taste than its original flavor and will leave a bitter or sour taste on your tongue.

How To Store Butter Chicken?

Storing butter chicken properly prolongs its shelf life, texture, and flavor. Here are some tips to effectively store butter chicken:

Refrigerate Promptly

Refrigerate the leftover butter chicken within two hours after it has been cooked to prevent bacterial growth. Make sure to store it in an airtight container so that air and moisture cannot seep in.

Freeze In Portions

Freezing butter chicken in smaller portions allows for quicker thawing and reheating, ensuring better texture and flavor.

Additionally, make sure to use freezer-safe containers that will resist cracking in the extreme temperatures of your home freezer.

Keep The Fridge Temperature Optimal

Keeping your fridge temperature at 40°F or below is optimal for storing butter chicken. It slows down the bacterial growth and keeps the nutritional value of the dish intact.

Proper Reheating

Reheating the butter chicken is an important step to safe consumption, and it’s crucial to do it right.

One way is to reheat butter chicken in a microwave-safe dish in one to two minutes increments, stirring in between until it reaches the desired temperature.

If you are reheating frozen butter chicken, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the fridge.

Alternatively, you can reheat the butter chicken by putting it on the stove, adding a splash of water, oil, or butter. Heat it over medium heat, stirring frequently.


Like any other food, butter chicken also has a shelf life, and it can go bad if not stored and reheated correctly.

Butter chicken can last up to four days in the fridge and up to two months in the freezer. However, it’s necessary to reheat it appropriately before consuming it.

When you refrigerate the dish, make sure to store it in an airtight container and put it in the fridge within two hours of cooking.

For optimum texture and flavor, make sure to freeze butter chicken in smaller portions and thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating.

In summary, to enjoy the wonderful and authentic flavor of butter chicken, it’s important to store, freeze, and reheat it properly and safely.

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.