Every oven, BBQ and stovetop is slightly different. This makes following cooking times always a bit of a guessing game, especially when it comes to chicken. But there’s an easy way to know when your meal is ready, and it doesn’t involve having to repeatedly cut into an otherwise perfect piece of meat to check for doneness. Using a food thermometer is the best way to tell when your chicken is cooked.
Knowing when your chicken is cooked is not only important for the taste of your meal—no on likes over-cooked chicken—it’s also important for your family’s health as it reduces the risk of food-borne illness.
There are many different kinds of food thermometers: digital, non-digital, and some ovens even come equipped with their own internal thermometer probes. But a basic food thermometer does the job, and you can usually find them in the grocery store for just a few dollars.
A basic food thermometer has two parts: a long needle stem and a round head that displays the temperature. Taking the internal temperature of chicken is just as easy as it is important for food safety. Simply insert your food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken (for a whole chicken, that would be the breast). You know your chicken is cooked when the thermometer reads 180°F (82°C) for a whole chicken, or 165°F (74°C) for chicken cuts.
Let the chicken rest 5 minutes before carving then enjoy knowing it’s cooked just right!