Fried chicken is one of the most popular dishes of all time. It is hearty and comforting. Fried chicken is also relatively easy to prepare and can be ready within a few minutes. However, you must know how to fry chicken at the right temperature and for the right amount of time to ensure that it is cooked all the way through.
Dangers of Consuming Raw or Undercooked Chicken
According to the Center for Disease Control, chicken is often contaminated with various types of bacteria such as salmonella, clostridium perfrigens, and campylobacter. These bacteria are killed during the cooking process, so you won’t have to worry about them when you eat chicken.
The danger is when you consume raw or undercooked chicken. If you do so, you could acquire foodborne illnesses and could suffer from food poisoning. It is not just by consuming the chicken that you could be at risk of food poisoning. It can also happen as a result of cross-contamination, such as when the bacteria are spread to other food items or your utensils in the kitchen during the food preparation.
Hence, you must be extremely cautious when preparing chicken to ensure that you do not spread the bacteria in your kitchen. In the US alone, the CDC estimates that over 1 million people suffer from food poisoning due to eating contaminated poultry, which includes chicken.
How Long Do You Fry Chicken at 350 F?
There are two elements that you must take care of when cooking fried chicken thighs: cooking time and temperature. The ideal cooking temperature for frying chicken thighs is 350 degrees F. The length of time it takes to cook various chicken parts will vary based on the size of the cut.
You can use the following chart to help determine how long you must fry chicken thighs and at what temperature.
Using this guideline, you will be able to estimate the amount of time it takes to cook chicken thighs and make sure that they are safe to consume.
How do You Tell if the Fried Chicken Thighs are Properly Cooked?
Undercooking a chicken thigh is a possibility when the cooking oil is too hot or the heat is too high. You can overcook the outside, but the inside of the meat might still be raw or slightly undercooked.
The best way to ensure that the fried chicken thighs are cooked fully is to use a digital thermometer. Insert the probe into the center part of the chicken. The temperature reading should be 165 degrees F. At this internal temperature, the chicken is cooked, and it is safe to eat.
Make sure to heat the oil up to 350 degrees F. Add the chicken thighs in small batches. If you crowd the pan, it will cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in an uneven cooking result. Make sure to cook a few pieces at a time.
You can tell if the fried chicken thigh is done based on the color of the exterior. When it is golden brown on the outside (after approximately 20 minutes of cooking), then it is ready.
Mistakes to Avoid When Frying Chicken Thighs
Unlike other types of meat, chicken (and most poultry) must be completely cooked before you consume it. If not, then you could be at risk of acquiring foodborne illnesses or food poisoning.
The following are common mistakes that you must avoid when frying chicken thighs:
Frying the chicken while it is still cold. Keeping your chicken chilled right after you buy them is important for safety reasons. However, give them time to thaw until they reach room temperature before frying. Ideally, take them out of the freezer 30 minutes before you cook them so they cook evenly.
The cut is too big. There are different types of chicken cuts to choose from that are suited for frying, such as the drumstick, wings, thighs, etc. Make sure that the pieces are even in size before you fry them to ensure that they cook evenly and at the same time.
Using the wrong type of oil. Not all types of oils are made for deep-frying. Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point such as canola or peanut oil. These oils are also an economical choice since you will be using plenty of oil for frying.
The heat is not the right level. Don’t bring your heat up too high as it could cause the chicken exterior to become brown, but the inside will remain raw. On the other hand, if your heat is too low, it will take longer to cook the chicken and the skin won’t be crispy, but rather oily.
Tips for Checking Chicken Doneness Without Using a Thermometer
The use of a digital thermometer in the kitchen is a reliable way of checking the internal temperature of the meat. However, there are some people who do not own a kitchen thermometer.
One tip that you can use is to test one piece of chicken. Cut the chicken in half and see if the juice is clear. If you see some pink liquid, it means that the chicken is still raw. This is a reliable way of testing the doneness of the chicken if you cooked all of the pieces at the same time.
Another test that you can do is to touch the meat. Feel the temperature of the meat from the outside and on the inside (if you are able to cut it).
You can also consider the amount of time that the chicken has been cooking. You can refer to the chart above for the recommended cooking time and temperature for chicken thighs. Make sure to thaw the chicken beforehand. If the chicken is still frozen on the inside at the time of cooking, it won’t cook fully in the suggested time frame above. The chart only applies to chicken pieces that have been thawed to room temperature.
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