how to tell if chicken is done

How to Tell if Chicken is Done: 5 Methods You Can Try at Home, Anytime!

Sure, raw meat can be okay for beef and steaks... but chicken is another story. It’s not just an improper thing to do, culinary speaking. It’s also a serious health concern that can lead to food poisoning!

Ever notice why people send back their plates in restaurants whenever they order chicken and see some streaks of blood? That’s because raw chicken is a big, definite no-no!

So in this blog post, we’ll talk about the ways on how to tell if chicken is done. There are a few ways to try, and you can do them all or just pick out a few that work best for you. Not everyone is a trained chef who can tell just by touching the meat or “getting a vibe” of the bird.

5 Ways on How to Tell if Chicken is Done

You don’t need to be a pro to have to learn how to do this. Food poisoning is not a small thing to laugh about, so whether you are cooking for yourself, for family, guests, or throwing a huge party, making sure your chicken is well-done is a top priority.

Read on to find out more about the five ways to check chicken doneness.


#1: Use a Meat Thermometer

If you have it, then that’s all you really need. This is the most obvious way to check chicken doneness, so we’ll talk about it first.

Meat - or food - thermometers completely get rid of the risks of cooking uncooked meat. Be sure to stick the thermometer into the chicken’s thickest part. The goal is to get a reading of 165°F or higher.

Roasting a whole chicken? Then you should aim for a higher heat: preferably between 180 and 185°F. Make sure to stick the thermometer into the chicken’s middle body cavity. If you are roasting chicken breasts (sliced and not a part of a whole chicken), then 170°F should be good enough.

Don’t worry, because not every homecook has a food thermometer just hanging in the kitchen. Do check out the other four methods below, which are just as effective as this one.

#2: Check the Size of the Chicken

Chicken shrinks down in size once it is fully cooked. So it is good practice to remember the size of the chicken before cooking it, for later comparison. If while cooking, you notice it’s pretty much the same size, then you probably need to cook it a bit more.

#3: Check the Color of the Meat

The goal is to not see any “pink” meat in the chicken. You can check this by slicing the chicken with a knife. Squeeze it to allow juices to ooze out. You’ll see from the colors if it’s done or not. If it’s pink, you absolutely need to cook it more.

Once the meat has become clear or white, then you can stop cooking.

Remember that this only applies to chicken. Do not use this strategy for other type of meat!

#4: Cut Through the Meat!

This one is tricky, especially if you want to keep the shape and overall appearance of the chicken to be sightly. It might not be a problem, however, if you’re just cooking for yourself or a few friends and family members.

If plating isn’t a big deal for you, then go ahead and try this method. Simply get your knife and slice through the thickest part of the chicken. Get a fork and pull the sides apart. Check what color the meat has all the way through.

Be sure to do this in a well-lit area, so you don’t miss out on any pink streaks that might be hiding out. If the color is all good, then you’re all set.

#5: How Does the Chicken ‘Feel’ Like?

If you don’t mind getting down and dirty on your bird, then try this out. Slice the chicken and get a feel of the meat - check its texture and consistency.

If it’s cooked properly, you should get a firm texture. It shouldn’t be too firm, though, because that just means that you’ve overcooked your dish. Overcooked chicken feels “too tight”, and often it also looks too dry - even unappetizing to look at.

When undercooked, the meat has a “rubbery” and “jiggly” feel to it.

As you can see, finding the balance between the two holds the key. If you are a beginner cook, you might want to do this together with other methods mentioned earlier.

How to Tell if Chicken is Done: Bone-In Pieces

Bone-in pieces of chicken can be harder to cook, since they ofmoreten look done on the outside and in the middle, but can be underdone near the bone.

The best way to check the doneness of such areas is to stick a fork deep into the meat. Check if you are able to insert the fork all the way in with ease. The juices should run clear. If you observe both of these, then it is done.

Proper Chicken Meat Cooking Times

Here’s a quick guide on preparing chicken based on how long you should cook them for. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as size, thickness of the pieces, kind of preparation, and others.

Read more: How Long Can Chicken Sit Out?

Roasted Chicken

This requires between 30 to 120 minutes to cook. Ground patties require 30 minutes, while a whole stuffed chicken needs 2 hours to cook. Roasted bone-in legs need around 50 minutes. Skinless and boneless thigh pieces require 20 to 30 minutes.

Grilled Chicken

Boneless and skinless thighs should be grilled for 5 minutes on each side. Bone-in legs should be grilled for 16 minutes on each side.

Breaded Chicken

Breaded pieces such as chicken tenders or nuggets will be cooked completely in 20 minutes. Stuffed chicken breasts will need 35 minutes to get done.

Hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, please share it with family and friends. Leave a comment below, too!

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