When compared to beef or meat, chicken meat is popular other meat because of its comparatively good nutritional profile. It’s also one of the most straightforward meats to prepare, requiring simply the right temperature and a short cooking time.
However, cooking chicken becomes a mystery for some, even though chicken flesh is easier to prepare than other meats. Besides this, chicken needs to be cooked properly as it can make you ill if you eat an undercooked chicken breast or another part that needs a bit longer in the oven.
You can learn the difference between partially cooked vs. uncooked chicken in our guide. In addition, you will see various methods to determine how well your chicken is cooked.
By the end, you’ll see it can vary based on the part of the chicken yet testing with a meat thermometer is no more complicated than another to find if you have fully cooked chicken that is safe to eat. (Read Can Goats Eat Tomatoes)
What Happens If You Eat Slightly Undercooked Chicken?
If you consume undercooked chicken, you can get a foodborne illness, sometimes known as food poisoning. You can also get sick if you consume raw chicken or its juices contaminated meals or beverages.
Studies show that most people use prior cooking experience to judge perfectly cooked chicken. But such procedures are risky. Other typical methods include looking at the meat’s surface, examining the texture from shiny to firm, and inspecting the inside for no pinkness.
Most people believe the color change from pink to white identify perfectly cooked chicken. However, you can’t use color and texture changes to tell if chicken is cooked as these don’t reliably show fully cooked chicken.
It’s best to rely on a food thermometer to detect the core temperature in the thickest portion of the chicken, but even this isn’t infallible. Undercooked chicken can contain Salmonella and Campylobacter.
According to the CDC, these are the leading causes of bacterial food-borne illness (food poisoning), and both infections can produce diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
How to use a meat thermometer
Experts recommend you cook chicken to an internal temperature of 82 degrees Celsius to destroy bacteria. Then, you position the meat thermometer in the “thickest part of the breast, as this is commonly considered the last part of the chicken to reach the desired temperature.
If you’re reheating previously cooked chicken, make sure it’s at least 74 degrees Celsius inside.
When taking any internal temperature, ensure the thermometer does not contact the bone.
Before using a thermometer or other kitchen utensils on raw or partially cooked poultry, make sure you clean them before use and after. (Read How Many Brussel Sprouts In A Pound)
Breaded chicken may seem easier to cook, but you can find Salmonella outbreaks occurring because of frozen raw breaded chicken nuggets.
Cook any breaded chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 74°C.
Pay attention to package directions and cook chicken properly to kill bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter.
An easy way to decide if your chicken is done. You can take your ring finger and hold it against the thickest part beneath your thumb. The firmness is how your chicken should feel when well cooked. Softer than this, it is uncooked or raw.
Chicken Cooking Time
Because it is a smaller animal with fewer meat fibers than beef, chicken meat is easier to deal with than other types of meat. Finally, it tolerates heat well and can be cooked without tenderizers.
For many people throughout the world, chicken meat is a mainstay. As a result, fitness enthusiasts and dieters alike are interested in its nutritional characteristics.
We widely use chicken, and it is enjoyed worldwide, from fast food to sandwiches to fillets and more.
There are a few things to consider when cooking chicken, whether you’re a novice or an experienced cook.
Every section of the whole chicken cooks at a different rate and has a different way to tell if chicken is done. Chicken wings, for example, cook faster than chicken thighs, whereas breasts require more preparation before cooking. Overcooked chicken pieces, for example, will be very dense and possibly hard.
They often remove the chicken’s neck near the breast and for use in stock. If you want to cook chicken, neck, you can fry it or boil. At a temperature of 160°F, it should be cooked for 12 minutes.
All microorganisms will be killed, and it will render the chicken. To remove the nutrients from the bones and make a stock, you can cook longer on low heat.
The breast can be cut in half for cooking, and you will discover that breast meat is popular because it has few carbs, low in fat, and is high in protein.
As a result, the breast requires more cooking time than other chicken parts.
Clean and dry the chicken breast to prepare it for the breast piece. If you want extra fillets, slice them in half, and you can cut the chicken into little boneless pieces or prepare a steak.
You can cook the whole chicken breast piece in around 10-12 minutes on a stovetop pan with medium-high heat, yet this needs preparation.
To cook chicken breast evenly, lightly pound it. If you skip this step, you may not fully cook the chicken, and it could mean you need to cook the breast for a few minutes more in some areas, so it is no longer pink inside.
When the breast is the same thickness, it cooks evenly and quickly and will kill all the bacteria. Without bones, meat pieces cook the same as the rest if cut to the same size.
There’s something fulfilling about devouring a whole chicken wing in one go. You’ll see the meat linked to the chicken’s bone, and while the amount of meat isn’t large, it still needs to be cooked sufficiently. (Learn How Long Do Bell Peppers Last)
You can cook chicken wings for 10-12 minutes at 160°F or until golden brown on the outside.
A mixture of fat and muscle fibers is significantly “looser,” giving a soft bite. However, since the fat needs extracting before the meat can be cooked, the cooking time rises.
You can bake, air fry, or deep fry the wings depending on the recipe. Most of these ways will require a 10-12 minute cook time at 160-165°F.
The chicken legs are often favorites because the bone meat is delicious and tender. You get both the legs and the thigh of the chicken to form the chicken’s leg region, and each must be completely cooked.
Unlike breast meat, the leg and thigh need to cook longer to ensure the dish is cooked correctly from the inside out.
Check the texture of the leg and thigh to see whether they are done, and it should be pale, not pink like raw meat.
You can use a fork to test the doneness of the meat, and if it quickly penetrates the meat, the chicken is done; if there is any resistance or pink color in juices, continue cooking until the meat is soft to the bone and you know you have killed the bacteria before eating. It is easy to use your meat thermometer on these parts to ensure they are at the correct internal temperature.
Can Chicken Be Undercooked And Not Pink?
It’s OK to eat chicken as long as all sections have a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. The color of anything does not show whether it is cooked. However, even thoroughly cooked poultry can sometimes have a reddish tinge in the meat and fluids.
Here are some ways to check the doneness of chicken meat. You’ll quickly see that cooked chicken breast color alone isn’t a good enough test to find if your chicken is cooked or you have undercooked meat.
One of the best markers of doneness is the color of the chicken. Cooked chicken isn’t pink on the outside, and it’s not pink on the inside. On both sides, it should be pale and consistent in hue. If your chicken is pink, it’s undercooked and need more time in the oven.
Raw chicken or some that are undercooked has an unusual texture. It’s firm, slightly rubbery, and can have a shiny appearance.
Raw chicken has no odor or slime. After cooking, the chicken becomes firm and not rubbery. It is white on the outside and gray within.
If the chicken is bouncy or rubbery when cooked, it is still raw inside. A fork into the chicken would be a definitive test. The chicken is fully cooked if the fork quickly passes through and out the other side.
If there is any resistance, the chicken may need extra processing. Insert a cooking thermometer to test for doneness. The internal temperature of cooked chicken is 160-165°F.
If you spot any texture changes from cooked chicken’s firmer and drier texture, it could mean your chicken isn’t safe to eat.
To test for doneness, chop a piece of chicken in half. You may not want to waste a chicken piece for this procedure, but if you are learning, it may help you grasp the cooking time and temperature of chicken meat.
Cooked chicken is simpler to slice and is gray on the inside and whitish on the outside. However, even if it looks white on the outside, raw chicken is pink on the inside and undercooked.
Chicken Cooking Tips
What do you do if you finish cooking and discover that your chicken is undercooked? Do you toss it or reheat it?
Luckily, you can easily re-cook chicken instead of throwing it trash. Of course, there are some considerations.
- If your deep-fried chicken is uncooked, you can re-fry it at high heat and then simmer it until it is done.
- You tend to discover uncooked meat after chewing into it, but you can still save your food. To fry, dip the meat in 160°F oil. You don’t want it to soak up oil and leave it with an unappealing texture.
- Caution: the uncooked and moist side of the chicken will be directly exposed to the hot oil, so it can spit and splash. After your chicken is fully cooked, remove it and let it rest.
- Frying frozen chicken results in varying cooking times and you won’t have properly cooked chicken even if you pay attention to the cooking times of 10-12 minutes at 165°F.
- For baked or air-fried chicken, return the uncooked pieces to the oven for 5-8 minutes more, provided you have heated the oven to the correct temperature.
- Place the chicken closer to the heat source to broil to cook at the same time.
- Remember, there is no excuse for eating undercooked chicken. If in doubt, check the meat’s interior temperature, and it will be cooked when it reaches 160°F near the middle on your instant-read thermometer.