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What Temp to Cook Perfect Chicken?

what temp to cook chicken

No matter which type of chicken you prefer, whether its the whole chicken, chicken breasts, chicken wings, drumsticks, or any other chicken pieces, it is essential to cook the meat to the right internal temperature to ensure tender, juicy meat worthy of enjoying yourself or serving to your family and friends. Failing to ensure the chicken is cooked to the proper cooked chicken temp can result in under-cooked chicken, which can potentially make you sick.

To cook chicken properly, it requires knowing what temp to cook chicken as well as the proper internal cooking temperatures, which differ depending on the size and type of chicken as well as the chosen cooking method.

For Temperature of Medium Rare Steak – You can refer to this Ultimate Steak Temp Chart

Chicken Temp Guide


oven baked chicken

Roasted or Oven Baked Chicken

Begin by allowing the chicken to come to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the oven once the internal temperature reaches between 155°F to 160°F and then allow the chicken to sit and continue to cook until it reaches a final internal temperature of 165°F. Use a meat thermometer, such as the ThermoPro Digital Instant Read Thermometer, to gauge when the internal temperature reaches the right temperature.

Weight Oven Temperature Cooking Time
Unstuffed-4 to 6 Pound Whole Chicken 350°F 1-3/4 to 2 hours
Stuffed-4 to 6 Pound Whole Chicken for 2 to 2-1/4 hours
Unstuffed-3 to 4 Pound Whole Chicken 350°F 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours
Stuffed-3 to 4 Pound Whole Chicken 2 to 2-2/4 hours
Unstuffed-2 -1/2 to 3 Pound Whole Chicken 350°F 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours
Stuffed-2 -1/2 to 3 Pound Whole Chicken 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours
Unstuffed-1 to 2 Pound Cornish Hen 350°F 1 to 1-1/4 hours
Stuffed-1 to 2 Pound Cornish Hen 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours

chicken in an oven bag

Chicken Cooked in an Oven Bag

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Next, to the oven bag, add one tablespoon of flour and then shake the bag to coat the bag evenly. Lightly coat the chicken in oil or butter and then place it into the oven bag. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of about 160°F, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit and continue cooking until it reaches the desired temperature.

Weight Oven Bag Size Cooking Time
3-1/2 to 4 Pound Whole Chicken 10″ x 16″ oven bag 1 to 1-1/4 hours
5 to 7 Pound Whole Chicken large 14″ x 20″ oven bag 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours
4 to 7 Pound Cornish Hen large 14″ x 20″ oven bag 55 to 60 minutes
1-1/2 to 3-1/2 Pound Cornish Hen standard 10″ x 16″ oven bag 40 to 45 minutes
2 to 2-1/2 Pound Chicken Drumsticks large 14″ x 20″ oven bag 35 to 40 minutes
1 to 1-1/2 Pound Chicken Drumsticks standard 10″ x 16″ oven bag 35 to 40 minutes
1-1/2 to 2-1/4 Pound Chicken Thighs large 14″ x 20″ oven bag 35 to 40 minutes
1/2 to 1-1/2 Pound Chicken Thighs standard 10″ x 16″ oven bag 35 to 40 minutes

grilled chicken

Grilled Chicken

When grilling using direct heat, bring the coals or the burner to medium heat before grilling. When Using indirect heat, bring the coals or the burner to high heat. Grill the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of about 160°F and then allows it to sit until it reaches the final desired internal temperature.

Parts Weight Cooking Time
Wings/Wingettes/Drumettes 2 to 3-Ounce 8 to 12 minutes on each side
Leg or Thigh 8 or 4-Ounce 10 to 15 on each side
Drumstick 8 to 16-Ounce 10 to 15 minutes on each side
Drumstick 4-Ounce 8 to 12 minutes on each side
Whole Broiler 3 to 4 Pound Fryer, Using Indirect Heat
unstuffed whole broiler 60 to 70 minutes
stuffed whole broiler 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours
Whole Roaster 5 to 7 Pound Using Indirect Heat
unstuffed roaster 18 to 25 minutes per pound
stuffed whole roaster for 23 to 25 minutes per
Whole Cornish Hen 18 to 24-Ounce Indirect Heat
unstuffed cornish hen 45 to 55 minutes
stuffed Cornish hen 1 to 1-1/2 hours

Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are lean, to begin with; therefore, they run the risk of being overcooked, which can make them dry and stringy, as opposed to undercooked. In the meantime, cutting into or poking the breast to check its doneness allows the juices to flow out, which can cause you to lose flavor. Therefore, you should use a meat thermometer to gauge when the meat is the correct internal temperature to help maintain flavor.

roasted chicken breast

Oven Baked Chicken Breasts

Before you begin, preheat the oven to 375°F. The chicken breast is done once clear juices start to seep out of it and pool in the bottom of the pan. Once the clear juices start to sizzle, remove the chicken breast from the pan, cover it with foil and then allow it to rest for about 5 minutes. The chicken is overdone when the clear juices boil cook away and turn into a crispy crust inside the pan bottom.

Parts Weight Cooking Time
Chicken Breast, Boneless 8-Ounce 30 minutes
Chicken Breast, Bone-In 8-Ounce 40 minutes

chicken breast in an oven bag

Chicken Breasts Cooked in an Oven Bag

Evenly coat the oven bag with about one tablespoon of flour and then lightly coat the chicken in oil or butter before placing into the bag and then baking.

Parts Weight Oven Bag Size Cooking Time
Chicken Breast, Boneless 1 to 1-1/2 Pound large 14″ x 20″ oven bag 25 to 30 minutes
Chicken Breast, Boneless 3/4 to 1 Pound standard 10″ x 16″ oven bag 25 to 30 minutes
Chicken Breast, Bone-In 2 to 2-1/2 Pound large 14″ x 20″ oven bag 40 to 45 minutes
Chicken Breast, Bone-In 1-1/2 to 2 Pound standard 10″ x 16″ oven bag 40 to 45 minutes

grilled chicken breast

Grilled Chicken Breasts

If grilling using indirect heat, bring the gas grill burner or coal to high heat. For direct heat, allow the gas burner or the coal to come to medium-high heat.

Parts Weight Cooking Time
Half Breast, Bone-In 6 to 8-Ounce 10 to 15 minutes on each side
Half Breast, Boneless 4-Ounce 8 to 10 minutes on each side
Half Breast, Boneless 6 to 8-Ounce 10 to 15 minutes on each side

More Chicken Cooking Tips

When baking or roasting your chicken, allow it to be brown in a hot pan for about 3 to 4 minutes on all sides prior to baking it in the oven. This will help ensure uniform color on all sides of the meat and also shorten the overall cooking time by about 15 minutes.

When looking for a tasty, affordable cut of chicken, consider chicken thighs as they are delicious and more accessible and cheaper to prepare than chicken breasts.

Chicken breasts are almost always thicker on the ends, which means the thicker parts will need to be cooked longer. However, butterflying the chicken breast or just pounding the breast out will help even out the meat for even cooking.

A single whole chicken can provide at least five meals, so keep this in mind when selecting your chicken.

With this short chicken temp guide, cooking chicken, no matter the type, will never be intimidating again. Just be sure to set the heat setting to the right temperature, and use a handy meat thermometer, such as the Digitial Instant Read Thermometer by ThermaPro, to ensure the right internal cooking temperature, and you can’t go wrong.

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