Whether you’re roasting a whole bird or searing bone-in skin-on thighs, knowing the correct chicken internal temperature is critical for food safety. So what is the proper internal temperature? How do you properly measure it? And is it the same for light and dark meat?
The correct internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° F (75° C).
You can find all of the proper internal cooking temperatures for various cuts of meat and poultry over at foodsafety.gov, which is a great resource to keep bookmarked on your computer and/or printed out in your kitchen. This same internal temperature applies to all of the following:
- Chicken and turkey
- Breasts, thighs, legs, wings
- Duck and goose
- Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)
How to Find the Correct Internal Temperature of Chicken
I highly recommend purchasing a digital meat thermometer. That way, there will never be any doubt that your chicken is properly cooked. You can find a variety of meat thermometers on the market, but I’m partial to the digital probe versions with alerts. You can set the thermometer to alert you when the chicken reaches 165°, then go about your business.
Regardless of whether you’re roasting a whole chicken or poaching a boneless skinless breast, the same basic rules apply. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat without hitting fat or bone, which can alter the results.
Most thermometers require the probe to be inserted at least 1/2 inch into the meat (not all, so read the instruction manual).
Additional Chicken Internal Temperature Notes
- 165° F is the correct internal temperature for both white and dark meat.
- Another visual clue that your chicken is cooked: the juices should be clear and not opaque or pink.
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