Knowing how to roast a chicken is a must when learning to cook at home. It might seem intimidating to rookies, given the always-present possibility that a chicken breast turns out bland or a thigh comes out tough (not to mention food poisoning). An easy way to fix these problems is simply knowing to which internal temperature one should cook the individual pieces or whole chicken.
For white meat, you want to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, while dark meat should be 175 degrees F. How to figure that out? First you’ll need an instant-read thermometer, an absolutely necessary kitchen utensil. Not only will a thermometer help you achieve the ultimate texture and juiciness of chicken, but it also prevents you from eating anything undercooked and risking harmful bacteria.
Reading: Temp of cooked chicken breast
How do I use an instant-read thermometer?
There’s a bit of a technique when it comes to measuring temperature. If you are roasting a whole bird, stick the thermometer into the thickest section of the breast and the thigh to check both the white and dark meat. When cooking individual breasts, stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. For thighs, wings, and drumsticks, yep—stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the piece without touching the bone.
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What temperature do I cook white meat until?
Again, you want to aim for 165 degrees F, but remember that once you remove the chicken from the heat, it will continue to cook. To have the juiciest breast, pull the dish outaround 160-162 degrees and the chicken will continue to cook an extra few degrees once removed from the heat.
What temperature do I cook dark meat until?
We want to use the same technique here: Since you want the internal temperature to reach 175 degrees F, you can remove the chicken from heat when it hits 170-172 degrees.
Also Read: What is considered red meat
How do I roast a whole chicken?
Throwing the whole bird in the oven can be a little scary when you’re new to it! But it’s actually easier than you think. Equipped with an instant-read thermometer and your new knowledge of chicken temperatures, you’ll have a juicy, tender chicken in no time (well, in about an hour and a half). We recommend following this recipe, but generally you want to roast the chicken for about an hour at 425 degrees F until the meat registers at the temperatures above.
What does letting the chicken “rest” mean?
This step is crucial for getting that juicy chicken I’ve been raving about for the last 400 words. Right after removing the chicken from the heat, the temperature will rise, as discussed, but then fall a few dozen degrees. Waiting while it rests a few minutes allows the meat to retain all those juices internally instead of losing them all over the baking dish or plate.
If you are feeling super inspired to cook chicken now, check out two of our all-time favorite recipes: this Tuscan butter roast or a chimichurri roast chicken.
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