What is the Correct Chicken Temperature for Juicy Meat?

What is the correct temperature for cooking chicken and why does it matter? Nobody wants to eat dry chicken and the good news is that you don’t have to. You’ll get juicy, yummy, give-me-more chicken if you cook your chicken to the following temperatures:

The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° Fahrenheit (75° Celsius) for white meat and 165-175° for dark meat.

correct chicken temperature

Best way to measure Chicken Cooking Temperature.

Using a meat thermometer or an instant-read meat thermometer is the best way to know for sure what the temperature of your chicken is and this is especially true if you are cooking a whole chicken.

If you don’t have an accurate thermometer, check out these recommendations…

How to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of chicken

For boneless cuts: Insert your thermometer into the thickest part of meat. 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the safe internal temperature for both the white meat and dark meat.

For the whole chicken: Insert your thermometer into the thickest part of meat the thigh but not touching bone. 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the safe internal temperature for both the white meat and dark meat.

How do you check the temperature of chicken without a thermometer?

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use visual clues — stick a fork into the meat and look to see that the juices are clear and not pink.

chicken juices clear

Is it unhealthy to eat chicken that’s undercooked?

Foodsafety.gov notes that there IS a minimum safe internal temperature for food safety for the temperature of your chicken.

If you eat chicken that doesn’t reach the minimum recommended temperature [165° Fahrenheit (75° Celsius)] then you may also be consuming harmful bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. That’s not good for your tummy and could lead to some rather unpleasant time on the potty (or in the hospital!) for you later.

Why does Chicken Dark Meat Require a Higher Cooking Temperature?

chicken temperature dark meat

Chicken thighs and all chicken dark meat should be cooked to a higher temperature (175° Fahrenheit) because dark meat has a higher amount of connective tissue. If you undercook dark meat it will be chewy and rubbery (yuck) but if you cook it to 175° Fahrenheit it will be tender and juicy because the collagen of that connective tissue will melt.

How to Cook Roasted Chicken in a Kamado

If you want to roast a chicken in a kamado grill like a Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, or similar ceramic grill, and you want to make sure it comes out tender and juicy, use this recipe and properly cook it to the right temperature.

chicken big green egg chicken recipe
  • Preheat the kamado to 350 F for INDIRECT cooking.
  • Season the bird to your preference.
  • Place the chicken directly on the grate or in a roasting pan depending on if you are cooking the bird alone or with veggies.
  • Use a remote meat thermometer and insert one temperature prong into the breast and another into a leg (both prongs pushed into the deepest part of the meat without hitting any bone). Set the remote thermometer to alert you when the meat hits 155 F on the breast and/or 1655 F on the leg.
  • Close the kamado lid and let your chicken cook in the magic of the kamado.
  • Depending on the size of the bird, it will take from 45-90 minutes for the alarm on the thermometer to beep.
  • Remove the chicken from the kamado and let it rest for at least 15 minutes minutes, leaving the temp probes in the meat. This is important because the meat will continue cooking while the chicken is resting and the probes will tell you when the meat reaches the correct safe cooking temp.
  • After 15-30 minutes, carve the bird and enjoy!

Correct Chicken Cooking Temperature References

Don’t just rely on our word, instead check out these other trusted sources for more info on the correct temperature for cooking chicken.

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