Did you know we consume 90.1 pounds of chicken per capita per year? The delicious white meat has been many people’s favorite meat in homemade or fancy restaurant dishes. However, this popular meat can be dangerous when it is undercooked. So, how to tell if chicken is done?
Let’s find out now in my post!
How To Tell If Chicken Is Raw?
Chicken is one of the most consumed white meat in the US with a wide range of cooking methods. However, it is not the easiest one to cook thoroughly. Unlike a steak, which can have different doneness, like rare to medium and well-done, chicken only has two types: raw or cooked.
Therefore, it is likely to have undercooked chicken if you haven’t known how to check if the chicken is done, which is important because the risk of eating raw chicken can be severe to your health.
Salmonella bacteria inside the undercooked chicken can result in salmonellosis, causing diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fatigue, vomiting, and fever.
As the risk is high, let’s find out what undercooked chicken looks like so we can all avoid these food poisoning symptoms. So, how to tell if chicken is undercooked?
The most effective way to tell whether the chicken is undercooked is through the meat’s internal temperature. Cooked chicken is normally at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When your chicken is lower than that temperature, it is undercooked, indicating that you need to leave it on the stove longer.
To check the temperature of the chicken, you can test it by using a meat thermometer. You need to plug the thermometer at the thickest meat part but avoid pressing too deep as you will receive the wrong result of the heat source instead of the meat heat.
A good way to know uncooked chicken is by checking the color of the meat. When chicken is not cooked, they have a pink and peachy color of fresh tissues and blood.
When you are cooking chicken, its color will change from the outside to the inside, so even if the outside can look like it is cooked, there is still a high chance that the inside meat is still bloody. Therefore, I recommend that you give a nice slice of the chicken to see the meat inside. If they still have a pinkish color, the raw sign is clear!
Lastly, if you can’t slice the chicken or run a thermometer, I recommend you check the texture of the meat. An undercooked chicken will have a shiny and rubbery texture. The meat is tough and quite jiggly when you try to penetrate it.
How To Tell If Chicken Is Done?
As I have mentioned above, cooking chicken is a risky and potentially dangerous game to play if you don’t have the right cards. Maybe you should just cook it much longer than usual to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked? That’s the tricky part of the chicken or any type of meat, and you shouldn’t overcook the chicken as the overcooked chicken will get super chewy and dry. And nobody wants to have sand-like chicken in their mouth.
Therefore, it is best to keep a good balance for your chicken. So, what does cooked chicken look like, and how to know when chicken is done?
Overall, a well-done chicken should follow the standard temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. But what if you don’t have a thermometer? How to tell if chicken is done without a thermometer?
The cooked chicken color should be white thoroughly from the outside to the inside. When touching the chicken, the meat is firm, with clear juice coming out.
There can be different tips for each type of chicken to know whether the chicken is done or not. Let’s get into details on how to tell if chicken is fully cooked!
How To Tell If Boneless Chicken Is Done
Boneless chicken, like chicken breast, is the most common cut for any poultry recipe. So, how to tell if a chicken is cooked? or how to tell if chicken breast is done?
Firstly, you need to check the heat, whether it is 165 degrees Fahrenheit yet.
You can also check the juice of the chicken by using a knife to make a small cut on the meat. If the juice coming out is clear instead of pinkish, it is a sign of cooked chicken.
While you’re testing the juice, you can check the meat texture as well. I tend to use a finger test technique shared among professional chefs to see if it is good or not. Use the tip of your thumb and ring finger and press them together. If the chicken feels like your palm texture, it is still raw. A cooked chicken will have a thicker and firmer texture.
Lastly, it is a trick to tell if your roast chicken is almost done by looking at the size of the meat. When it is cooked, the chicken will shrink moderately than its raw size.
How To Tell If Grilled Chicken Is Done
Grilled chicken is tasty but also tricky to know when it is thoroughly cooked. A common way to tell if the chicken is cooked or not is to flip it. If the chicken meat sticks to the grates, it means the chicken can still “cross the road.” When it is easy to flip, your chicken is almost ready to be served.
The chicken temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit as standard. You can cut inside the meat to check the color of the chicken. Once it is all white, it is time to serve!
How To Tell If Baked Chicken Is Done
Chicken, when baked, is easier to be fully cooked than other cooking methods. It is normal to bake the chicken for around 18 – 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. When it is finished, you can use a skewer to pierce into the chicken’s thickest part. If the chicken is read, the juice coming out will be clear without any pink color of blood.
How To Tell When Boiled Chicken Is Done
Boiled chicken is a common way to fully enjoy all the flavor of your chicken. You can take the chicken out of the water to check the signs. With the meat thermometer, you need to check if the chicken has met 165 degrees Fahrenheit yet.
Your piece of chicken should have an only white color with a firm texture as well. If it doesn’t have all these signs, you can put it back in the boiling water for a longer cooking time.
How To Tell If Chicken Drumsticks Are Done
Bone-in chicken like smoked chicken drumsticks is amazing to have in family meals. However, cooking them properly can be difficult as they can be cooked outside but raw at the chicken bone.
So, to check if the chicken drumsticks are done, stick a fork into the chicken to test the texture of the chicken. If there is no force against the fork and clear juice coming out, then the drumsticks are juicy enough to be served!
How To Tell When Fried Chicken Is Done
Fried chicken is the hardest to tell as all the outside of the meat is hidden behind the crispy cover. So, to know the doneness of fried chicken, you can always check the standard temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moreover, you can stick a toothpick or serving stick to the thickest part of the fried chicken. If it goes inside easily without making any strong force, then it is cooked. Fried chicken should have a deep golden-brown color from the outside as well.
Chicken Cooking Tips
Cooking chicken is definitely not an easy job if you don’t know how to work the meat properly. Here are some more tips for you to get the juiciest, soft and tasty chicken meat:
If you have never seasoned or marinated the chicken pieces before, you might want to try it out now, as this is a game-changing move for a flavorful result.
When marinating the meat, you’ll help moisten the meat and spice up the taste. Normally, it is recommended that you marinate it before cooking for around 3-4 hours with acidic ingredients like lemon juice, garlic powder, wines, fruit juice, or Italian seasonings.
Tenderize the chicken
If you like your chicken meat soft and tender, you need to get this tip now. Learning to pound the chicken with a meat tenderizer will help you tremendously with cooking tender chicken meat. Whether it is grilling, roasting, or frying, pounding the chicken before cooking will shorten the cooking time and give your meat an extra tender effect.
Choose the right pot
The pot material and shape can also affect the chicken cooking process. Deep pots are proven to be better at keeping the moisture of the food. The middle part of the pot will have the most consistent temperature and pressure. While shallow pots tend to let, the moisture escapes more, making the chicken drier than normal.
1. How Long Does Chicken Sit Out?
Chicken, when at a different temperature, will have a shorter or longer shelf life. When they are at room temperature, chicken can only last for 2 hours maximum, but they can last for days and even months when they are stored properly.
2. How To Store Cooked Chicken?
Cooked chicken shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours as it can cause spoilage. To store chicken, you can refrigerate it or freeze it. You can check out how to store chicken posts, which I explained in detail how to store fried chicken properly!
Chicken is a popular and versatile poultry meat type in the world. They are used in so many recipes with various ways of cooking. However, it is not always easy to know how to tell if chicken is done.
After this post, I hope you have equipped the knowledge to ensure that your chicken is fully cooked with juicy and tasty meat without ruining the meat or wasting time cooking it again.