Chicken - Checking Doneness

Checking doneness is accomplished in basically the same manner regardless of the cooking method you are using. Some methods are more accurate than others and some are more suitable in regard to the cooking method and to the cut of chicken. Shown below are the most common methods for checking doneness.

Thermometer: Using a thermometer is the most accurate method for testing doneness of the chicken. A regular meat thermometer or an instant read thermometer can be used. A regular meat thermometer is inserted before placing the chicken in the oven or other heat source and remains there throughout the cooking time.

An instant read thermometer is used to check doneness once the chicken is cooked. The chicken is taken away from the heat source and the instant read thermometer is immediately inserted into the thickest part of the breast or thigh (it should not be touching a bone). The thermometer provides a temperature reading in approximately 15 seconds.

Internal Temperatures for Proper Doneness
Whole Chicken - Thigh Area 175° - 180°F
Whole Chicken - Breast Area 170° - 175°F
Chicken Breast and Wings 170° - 175°F
Chicken Parts - Dark Meat 180°F
Ground Chicken 170°F
Stuffing Inside Whole Chicken 165°F

Note: If the proper temperature is not reached, the chicken should be returned to the heat source for further cooking.

Another method for testing doneness is to prick the chicken with a fork or the tip of a knife and check to see if the juices that escape run clear. If the juices have any pinkish coloring, the chicken is not done and should be returned to the heat source for further cooking.

Visual: The visual method of determining doneness is to make a small slit with the tip of a knife into the thickest part of the chicken and then pry the slit open. The meat should be opaque with no signs of pink coloring. If the meat shows any signs of not being done, the chicken should be returned to the heat source for further cooking.


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