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Perfect Chicken Cooking Temperature: White Meat vs. Dark Meat

CHICKEN Cooking Temperature: White Meat vs. Dark Meat

Dark meat and white meat have different cooking temperatures. For example, chicken temperature is different for the breast and the thigh. This article will discuss the correct cooking temperatures and methods for chicken and other types of meat in detail.

Content Overview

You can produce the perfect meal every time you cook, if you use a wireless meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is done correctly. Otherwise, you can end up with chicken breast that is overdone. Your turkey may also taste a little tough if you don’t use a food thermometer to guide you.

Difference Between White Meat and Dark Meat

White meat such as chicken breast is designed for short bursts of energy, so it’s made with fast-twitch muscle tissue. This type of meat is lean and does not have a lot of collagen or connective tissue. Turkey breast is considered white meat because turkeys are flightless birds and don’t use their breast muscle for long periods of time.

Difference Between White Meat and Dark Meat

The differences between white and dark meat are due to several factors such as nutrition, exercise and body parts. Thigh and leg muscles are slow-twitch muscle so they are well-oxygenated. Since they are designed for constant, extended activity, they have more connective tissue. This needs to be cooked to 180 degrees to properly dissolve.

Many chefs think of chicken as having both dark and white meat. This is why with a whole roast chicken, you can end up with a perfectly cooked breast but undercooked dark meat. Some restaurants choose to cook the parts of the chicken separately to avoid this problem, ensuring that both the dark and white parts of the chicken are done to their ideal temperature. Others butterfly or spatchcock the chicken, so it’s split down the back and cooked flat, ensuring that the chicken is succulent and tender.

Perfect Temperature and Cooking Tips for White Meat

Perfect Temperature and Cooking Tips for White Meat

White meat such as chicken breast usually has very little fat, so the best way to cook it is fast and hot. Pan searing and grilling will help you to reach the right temperature without leaving the chicken breast dry or overcooked. You can pan sear the white meat on both sides and then finish it off in the oven. If the breast is thin, you can also finish it off on the stove top.

Prolonged cooking is not ideal for white meat, since it can become dry and tough. If you’re cooking turkey breast, cook it to its pull temperature of about 157 degrees Fahrenheit and do not go beyond that. Remember, the difference between dark and white meat is not just a difference between types of poultry. You could get a perfectly cooked turkey breast but a turkey leg that doesn’t taste good, because you have both white meat and dark meat on the same bird.

If you’re grilling white meat, mark each side and then let it cook through over a low flame. White meat should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. This way, you’ll ensure that the microorganisms have been killed and the white meat is good to eat. When it reaches 160 degrees, the inside of the chicken will be tender and moist.

The TP 20 Wireless Meat Thermometer can help you to check the temperature of your chicken breast, ensuring that it has been cooked at the ideal temperature. It has preset temperatures for nine different types of meat, so when you want to cook another type of meat, it will help you track temperature accurately.

Perfect Temperature and Cooking Tips for Dark Meat

Perfect Temperature and Cooking Tips for Dark Meat

Cooking techniques for dark meat render the fat, while allowing the connective tissues to be tenderized. This means that your best options are slow braising or roasting the meat at high temperatures. When braising, sear the meat first to ensure that you render excess fat and add flavor to your dish. Long cooking times create meat that’s tender, so a crock pot is ideal for braising.

Dark meat should reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the legs and thighs of chicken are smaller than the breasts, they will not experience as much carryover cooking. That is, they won’t continue to cook even after being removed from the source of the heat. Temperatures above 175 degrees will not harm the dark meat that you’re preparing.

The TP-03 Digital Instant thermometer will help you to prepare your dark meat perfectly. It will be tender and safe to eat. This instant thermometer can be read in seconds, so you’ll know the temperature of your dark meat with just a quick check. This cooking thermometer has a range of -58F ~ 572F, so you’ll be able to use it with all types of dark meat.


All types of meat should be cooked to a specific temperature in order to ensure that you’ve killed any pathogens which may have been present. The temperatures for each type of meat are different, so you’ll need to use a thermometer to ensure that your meal has reached the desired level.

While specific temperatures will let you know when the meat is safe to eat, cooking a little more can help you to achieve a better level of doneness, so you’ll enjoy your meal more.

The TP 27 Wireless Food Thermometer is ideal for checking the temperature of dark or white meat This has a dual probe and allows you to monitor the food that you’re cooking from up to 500 feet away. You can rest, chat on your patio with a friend or do other tasks without worrying about being too far from the meat You can get accurate readings once you’re within the range that’s covered by the thermometer.

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