Tips for Cooking Chicken

Do I need to use a thermometer when I’m cooking chicken?

The best way to tell if your chicken is done is to determine the internal temperature using a digital meat thermometer. Digital thermometers measure the temperature reading at the tip of the thermometer probe, so they work well for both thick and thin cuts of chicken.

The main types of meat thermometers are oven-going and instant-read. Within those categories there are digital and analog thermometers. Oven-going thermometers are go are inserted into the meat in the oven and remain there until the meat is cooked, while instant-read thermometers are used after cooking to check for doneness.

Regardless of the type of thermometer you use, insert it into the thickest part of the chicken meat. When using an oven-going thermometer, it’s a good idea to push it in just a little further after you take the chicken out of the oven to ensure the meat is evenly cooked.

What temperature should I cook my chicken to?

Cook whole chicken to an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C) and chicken pieces and ground chicken to 165°F (74°C). It’s important to note that cooking times will vary depending on the cooking method (e.g. roasting, baking, grilling, sautéing).

Use this chart to ensure chicken is properly cooked:

Table showing the target internal temperature of different cuts of chicken

Download our “Cooking Perfect Chicken is Easy” reference card.

How do I make my chicken juicy and tender?

Chicken is a staple protein for many people, but getting it just right can sometimes be tricky. Here are some simple tips to help you make sure that your chicken turns out juicy and delicious every time:

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure you do not accidentally overcook the chicken
    Overcooking chicken is a common mistake and quickly leads to tough and dry chicken. Using a meat thermometer is an easy way to know when the chicken is done so that you can avoid drying it out.
  • Let your chicken rest after you take it out of the oven or off the grill
    Loosely cover the chicken with foil and let it sit at room temperature, so the juices can settle back into the meat. Boneless chicken and bone-in pieces should rest 5-10 minutes. Let a whole roast chicken rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Consider using a brine or marinade
    Brining or marinating your chicken not only helps keep it moist, but can also inject a lot of extra flavour into your meal.

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Need to know how to make chicken burgers or how to stuff a chicken breast?  Check out these and many more “how-to” videos on our YouTube channel.