We’re a nation that loves chicken. From Sunday Roasts right through to Saturday night dinners, many of us eat this bird at least a few times a week.
But what temperature should chicken be cooked to? A lot of us don’t know, which leads to cooking it incorrectly.
Undercooking chicken can result in nasty food poisoning or even salmonella (opens in new tab) in some cases. And while overcooking chicken will kill the bacteria, it will make the meat dry and tasteless (or burnt!) in the process.
So to avoid this, make sure you’re cooking your chicken at the best temperature.
What is the safe internal temperature for chicken?
According to Foodsaftey.gov, the saftest internal temperature for chicken in 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This is about 75 degrees Celsius. Although, some say that 145 degrees Fahrenheit is high enough - but if you keep to this temperature, you’ll have to keep the chicken in the oven for longer.
The best way to make sure your chicken is at a safe temperature is to check it using a meat thermometer. If you’re cooking a whole bird, inset it into the thickest part of the meat, but make sure it’s not touching the bone.
But if you don’t have one, simply skewer the meat and check that the juices run clear.
This is what temperature chicken should be cooked to:
Although it's all the same meat, depending on how you want to cook your chicken can vary the temperature - in some cases, quite considerably!
Baked chicken is really easy to make and it's a great substitute for some of the heavier meats like lamb or beef (opens in new tab). Although, it’s important to get the internal temperature of baked chicken correct as it cooks in the oven, rather than in a pan.
To check it’s been cooked for long enough, get a meat thermometer and skewer it in the thickest part of the breast/thigh. Or just use a normal skewer and make sure that the juices run clear.
If you’re new to baking chicken and looking for a great recipe to try out, check out this baked spiced chicken with couscous.
375 degrees Fahrenheit
Deep fried chicken
If you’re a fan of classic fast-food fried chicken like KFC (opens in new tab), why not try and make your own? It’s not as intimidating as it sounds and there’s no secret, special recipe needed – as long as you get the right internal temperature.
For extra flavour, season your cooking oil with herbs and spices which will help to give the chicken extra great flavour. Likewise, bay leaves and garlic will create a long-lasting, strong and delicious aroma of chicken in your kitchen.
This recipe (opens in new tab) for southern fried chicken only takes 45 minutes to make and feeds four people.
165 degrees Fahrenheit
Poached chicken is a healthy alternative to roasting (opens in new tab) or frying, as it doesn’t require oil or fat. Instead the flavour comes from the chicken stock, which absorbs into the chicken as it cooks and gives you that tasty, meaty flavour.
Lots of Asian dishes like Bang Bang chicken salad are made with poached chicken.
170-180 degrees Fahrenheit
15 to 18 minutes
What temperature should pan fry chicken be cooked to?
Pan-frying chicken is a great way to get crispy chicken quickly. Especially, as you can just throw all the ingredients into one pan and fry the chicken. However, be sure to cook at a safe internal temperature. And to do this, after pan frying put your chicken in the oven for 20 minutes on a low temperature.
Also, try chicken thighs rather than breast (opens in new tab) – it’s much tastier when cooked until the skin is crispy.
300 – 325 degrees Fahrenheit
10 minutes for wings, 12 minutes for thighs, legs and breasts
Grilled chicken is the perfect topping to pasta (opens in new tab) or rice, or even just to have on its own with some grilled vegetables. In the summer, try grilling chicken on a barbecue for unique smokey flavours complete with all your favourite herbs and spices.
It’s so easy to make and in the kitchen, you can grill it all on one skillet too.
165 degrees Fahrenheit
Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics. She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.
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