Unlike other types of protein like beef or pork that can be eaten rare or medium rare, chicken must be cooked until it is done in order for it to be safely consumed. Otherwise, you risk being contaminated with salmonella and face other potential health risks. The best way to make sure that chicken is cooked thoroughly is to check its temperature. What is the perfect temperature for chicken? Discover all the ways to check the internal temp of the chicken so you know that it is safe to eat.
What is the Perfect Temperature for Chicken?
The internal temperature of a properly cooked chicken is 75 degrees C. At this temperature, chicken is safe to consume. This is the temperature that you should aim for regardless of the type of cut and the method of preparation, whether you grill, bake, or fry chicken.
Reaching 75 degrees C on the meat thermometer for chicken is not just a suggestion; you have to strictly aim for this temperature range for food safety. If you serve undercooked chicken, you could get salmonella. By cooking the meat to this temperature, you can be assured that the bacteria is ki
led and that you won’t be at risk of foodborne illnesses.
Do I Leave Meat Thermometer in while Cooking?
There are two types of meat thermometers, first is the instant read thermometers, these you use to take instant temperature readings of the meat you are cooking. They cannot be left in the oven, in a smoker, or on a grill, they will melt. Oven cooking thermometers can be left in because they use a long probe which is inserted into the meat and has a long heat resistant lead which allows you to maintain constant temperature readings during the cooking process. The ChefsTemp Final Touch X10 is an instant read thermometer used to get instant temperature readings and the ChefsTemp Quad XPro is a leave in cooking thermometer.
Cooking Times Chart
The length of time it takes to cook a chicken will vary depending on the type of cut you are working with. For example, it will take longer to reach the perfect temperature for chicken if you are working with whole chicken versus breasts or drumsticks.
The cooking time for chicken will, therefore, vary based on the size of the cut. It is important to adjust the cooking time to ensure that you reach the safe internal temp for chicken to be consumed. The temperature that you are cooking with can also change the cooking times.
The approximate times for cooking chicken will vary based on the type of cut, such as the following:
You can choose from different cuts of chicken and varying temperature levels when cooking. No matter what variables you are working with, you can only ensure ‘doneness’ of the chicken if you use a thermometer to tell its internal temperature. Therefore, it pays to have a meat thermometer on hand in your kitchen when cooking chicken.
|Type of Cut
|Bone-in Breast Halves
|Boneless Breast Halves
||6 mins (per side)
||15 mins (per side)
||12 mins (per side)
How to Use a Thermometer on Chicken
A meat thermometer is your best tool to make sure that you have cooked chicken until it is done. Make sure you know how to properly use the thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat.
First off, make sure to insert the probe of the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat (such as the breast or thigh). Avoid hitting any bones since this will affect the accuracy of the temperature reading. Once you see the thermometer display 75 degrees C, then you know the chicken is properly cooked and is safe to eat.
If the thermometer does not register the ideal temperature for cooked chicken yet, check it every 5 minutes. It is easy to overcook chicken and when you do that, it can cause the meat to become overly dry. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on the chicken, especially if you choose not to remove it from the heat source.
Another way to ensure ‘doneness’ of the chicken is to look at the color of the juice. If you see pink juice, then the chicken is not done cooking yet. Make sure that the juice is clear before you serve it.
Don’t forget to clean the thermometer after using it to avoid salmonella contamination.
Tips to Achieve Perfect Temperature for Chicken
Getting the perfect temperature for chicken is one of the steps that you need to get the best cook on the meat. However, there are also several factors you need to consider in order to have the best tasting food. Checking the temperature is not just about food safety but also to preserve the juiciness and tenderness of the meat.
Here are some tips to make sure you can get the perfect cook on chicken:
- Always temper the meat. Make sure to take the meat out of the refrigerator a few minutes to an hour before cooking (depending on the size of the meat). This will help achieve an even temperature for the meat, especially the center part of the meat. If you cook it while the inside of the meat is still frozen, you will get an uneven cook wherein the outside of the meat is already cooked but the inside remains frozen. Tempering will also help to reduce the cooking time.
- If you are going to bake the chicken, preheat the oven. This will help produce even heat throughout the oven, helping to ensure that you get an even cook on the meat.
- Rest the chicken after cooking. Whether you cook the meat on the grill or in the oven, allow it to rest before you serve. Resting the chicken allows the reabsorption of the juice so that the meat stays moist and tender. If you slice it right away, the juice will spill out onto the board.
- Most chicken cuts require at least 10-20 minutes of resting time before you can serve them. But you can adjust it depending on the type of cut; larger meats need more resting time.
- Do not cover the chicken while resting so that it can retain the heat. If you do so, it will cause the meat to sweat, losing more moisture.
When it comes to cooking chicken, the internal temperature of the meat is important to achieve to know if it is safe to eat. You can also follow the cooking tips to make sure that you don’t cook the meat to the point of being dry, possibly ruining this tasty meat.