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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
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 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|
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.
|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 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.
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.
|Chicken Breast, Boneless||8-Ounce||30 minutes|
|Chicken Breast, Bone-In||8-Ounce||40 minutes|
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 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.
|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.