How to tell if chicken is undercooked? For the health-conscious and safety-minded cook, it is essential to know whether or not your chicken is cooked all the way through. “Undercooked chicken,” writes The Guardian’s Felicity Cloake, “is a serious health hazard as it can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter.” Fortunately there are several signs you can look for when determining if you’ve undercooked your chicken. In this blog post, I’ll take a closer look at how to tell if the chicken is undercooked -so you can avoid any potential kitchen disasters. Ready to find out more? Let’s get started!
How To Tell If Chicken Is Undercooked?
As moisture is lost while cooking, chicken will harden up and become opaque. The dark meat changes from pink to pale brown while the breast flesh remains pink. However, using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature is the only way to be sure the meat is safe to eat. Also, you can see my other article – How To Know When Bacon Is Done to get better.
Why It Matters
Chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before it is fit for consumption, unlike red meat like hog and cattle.
- The distinction is due to the structure of the flesh. Since red meat has a higher surface density than white meat, any germs that may be invading the flesh will remain there. It’s possible that the bacteria have gotten deeper inside the bird.
- That is an additional justification for cooking all ground meat products to 165 degrees. Even though the dangerous bacteria might only be present on the surface, this distinction is lost when the meat is processed all at once.
- Salmonella, campylobacter, and E. coli are just a few of the germs that could be present in raw chicken. They may result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, pains in the abdomen, and diarrhea.
Therefore, there could be no contamination at all. The issue is that you can’t tell just by looking at the meat. Therefore, it’s crucial to adhere to the correct instructions with regard to internal temperature.
What Does Undercooked Chicken Look Like?
Any cook who has ever worked with raw chicken will be able to describe what it looks like in this condition. Depending on whether it is white or dark meat, the hue can range from a light peach to a darker pink.
Although technically speaking, chicken wings are also regarded as white meat, white meat is mostly found in the breast. Dark flesh is what the thighs and drumsticks fall under.
The meat’s deeper color results from increased myoglobin concentrations. A protein called myoglobin gives muscles oxygen. The amount of oxygen the muscles need increases with exercise. The legs have more myoglobin because they move more than the breasts and wings do.
Raw chicken can be identified by its glossy look in addition to color.
Before it is cooked, the meat has a gelatinous gloss to it. I’ll talk about how the color and texture change as it gets closer to the ideal internal temperature.
Undercooked Chicken Texture
Fortunately, the majority of us have never had chicken that was undercooked. However, you’ll probably be able to tell right away if you do.
Although you want your cooked chicken to be juicy, a lot of water is forced out during the heating process. The completed item always weighs substantially less than it did when it was raw for this reason. Chicken that isn’t fully cooked has a dense, rubbery feel. This is a result of the fact that it is still holding a lot of moisture.
When you bite into the chicken, it probably isn’t cooked enough if it “snaps” when you do. In the event that any of these occur, avoid eating the chicken.
Slightly Undercooked Chicken Breast
A challenging cut to master is chicken breast. Due to its adaptability and lean texture, it is quite popular but also very simple to overcook.
- Overcooked chicken breast has an unappealingly dry, chalky feel. This can occur at temperatures as low as 170 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t too much higher than the 165 degree temperature at which food is advised to be served.
- When the internal temperature of a chicken breast reaches 160 degrees, it is preferable to remove it from the heat. As the meat rests, residual heat will cause the temperature to climb further.
In other words, chicken breast that has been slightly undercooked according to USDA regulations is safe to eat. Simply put, it’s more practical to let the food continue to cook until it reaches 160 degrees.
Cooked Chicken Breast Color
A fully cooked chicken breast typically changes from a translucent peach-pink to an opaque white. When you cut into the flesh, the muscle fibers should be distinct from one another.
Despite this, eating chicken that occasionally still has a pink tint is not inherently harmful. What If The Chicken Is Still Pink?, which follows, will cover this topic in more detail.
How To Tell If Chicken Is Undercooked
Here are some factors to help you know how to tell if chicken is undercooked. Have you ever wondered if your chicken is truly cooked? With a few helpful factors, you can make sure that the poultry on your plate has been fully prepared. From checking for color to feeling its texture, there are multiple ways of detecting an undercooked chicken!
As I previously indicated, you can examine the chicken’s appearance to determine when it is nearly done. That, however, is not a perfect method.
- Even after being fully cooked, chicken might still have a pink color, especially close to the bone. Even more likely to retain some pinkish undertones is the dark meat.
- On the other hand, even if the meat turns a consistent white hue, it may still be underdone. That’s why using a properly calibrated meat thermometer to test the chicken is the only way to be certain.
- The thickest part of the cut should have the thermometer probe inserted. Make sure the probe is not touching any bones if the chicken is bone-in, as this will result in an unreliable readout.
- As soon as the internal temperature of the chicken breasts reaches 160 degrees, they should be removed from the heat. On the other hand, when the thighs and drumsticks are allowed to cook to 180 degrees before the resting period, the texture is superior.
- You can utilize other techniques to ascertain when it might be time to insert the probe even though the temperature test is the only procedure that is fail-safe.
- As I mentioned previously, cooking meat results in significant moisture loss. The shrinking factor increases with the size of the cut.
- Up to 75% of raw beef is made up of water. That moisture is pushed toward the surface when it is heated, where it evaporates.
- By the time it is cooked through, a single chicken breast half will have lost one or two ounces of fluid. In contrast, a full chicken that weighs 6 pounds might reduce to only 4 pounds.
There’s a significant possibility that the chicken isn’t quite done if it still resembles how it did when you first started cooking it. However, if you observe that it is significantly less, check the temperature. It could be getting close to the finish.
When executing a recipe, pay close attention to the time instructions. Even though every cut is unique, by simply keeping an eye on the clock, you can guess when the chicken could be done cooking.
For a total cooking time of 10 minutes, boneless, skinless chicken breasts should be cooked for 4–5 minutes on each side over medium–high heat. Expect a complete chicken to roast or smoke at 350 degrees for 15 minutes per pound, or about 1-1/2 hours for a 6-pound bird.
Try pressing your finger against it the next time you buy raw chicken. It is the potential to have a soft, spongy texture.
To the touch, the cooked chicken will feel more firm. By poking the meat with the tip of your finger, you may determine whether it might be time to check the temperature.
If you’re going to test it this way, it’s a good idea to remove some chicken from the heat. It will have a chance to slightly cool down that way.
Video: How To Tell If Chicken Is Undercooked
What If The Chicken Is Still Pink?
The color changes are not a trustworthy sign of completion, as I have stated.
- Typically, as cooked chicken meat gets closer to the desired temperature, it loses its shiny quality and firms up. The dark meat typically changes from pinkish-purple to brown, whereas the breast meat typically turns white.
- The flesh may still be somewhat pink, especially close to the bone. It’s possible that some of the bone marrow colour has managed to leak into the surrounding meat, which wouldn’t necessarily imply that the bird is still raw.
- Furthermore, even when thoroughly cooked, smoked chicken typically has a pinkish tint to it. Myoglobin does not degrade as readily when cooked at moderate and slow temperatures as it does when cooked at high heat.
In fact, many pitmasters view this myoglobin presence as a badge of pride. It’s called the “smoke ring,” and it persists even if you cook the chicken much longer than is advised.
Quality isn’t necessarily indicated by the smoke ring. Even without it, the meat in your smoked chicken should still taste good. However, as long as the meat is properly cooked, it’s nothing to worry about if you do notice a pink ring beneath the surface.
How To Avoid Undercooking Chicken?
What if the chicken is still pink afterward? How can I prevent undercooking chicken meat? You might wonder. Once you read through the information below, it will be much simpler for you to avoid undercooking chicken.
Use A Food Thermometer
The conventional method for determining if chicken is done is to check the interior temperature of the bird. You can determine with precision whether your chicken needs more time to achieve the right temperature by using the meat thermometer.
A cooked chicken’s internal temperature should be 165°F on average. To achieve the most accurate reading, it will be advisable to insert the food thermometer into the chicken’s thickest area.
Remember To Flip Your Chicken
There will be a range in the sizes and forms of the chicken pieces. For instance, there are some differences between chicken breast and tenderloin. There will be certain chicken pieces that are hardly touched by the heat when you boil or fried meat.
Therefore, you need flip the chicken multiple times so that the heat is uniformly distributed if you want the flesh to cook through.
Cut Your Chicken Into Pieces
Despite the fact that the outside of the chicken is obviously well-cooked, some individuals tend to avoid poultry that has blood inside the bone. These situations frequently happen when you boil or fry a whole chicken, which may prevent the chicken bones from properly cooking.
You can slice the chicken into smaller pieces to prevent this. The chicken would then be heated evenly throughout. You’d end up with perfectly cooked chicken meat if you did this.
Don’t Be Hasty!
- I am aware of your tight schedule and desire to complete everything quickly. However, you should follow the stated recommendations rather than speeding up the cooking process.
- Typically, a chicken breast needs to be broiled for 6 to 8 minutes at 500°F and baked for 35 to 40 minutes at 450°F. At 350oF, frying chicken takes roughly 14 minutes.
If you intend to prepare your meat, keep these statistics in mind. This will provide you a satisfying supper and guard against food poisoning, which is bad for your health.
How Can I Fix Undercooked Chicken?
You don’t need special abilities to fix undercooked chicken, but you will need to pay attention to detail when inspecting the chicken meat once it has been recooked.
Use The Oven
Placing undercooked chicken in the oven is one of the best remedies. You should select one of the two options listed below as soon as you realize that some chicken portions have not been cooked properly.
In the first place, you should continue baking the chicken in the oven. Keep in mind that placing your chicken in the middle of the oven will allow it to cook evenly. This enables the chicken to be heated evenly throughout.
The chicken can also be divided into smaller pieces. With these chicken pieces, you can quickly and easily determine whether they are properly cooked.
Find out how to rapidly fix your undercooked chicken using this step-by-step manual.
Use Aluminum Foil
One of the most efficient methods for reheating chicken is aluminum foil. Typically, chicken roasted with aluminum foil has a golden color and tastes better. Additionally, the chicken will be much crispier without burning. By keeping the fluid in its place, aluminum foil prevents your chicken from drying out.
First, chop the chicken into pieces, being sure to evenly heat each piece. After that, you set up an oven or a pan for roasting oil. Is aluminum foil safe to use in the oven? You can, indeed. Additionally, aluminum foil is a superb heat conductor.
The oven will then be heated to 400 degrees. The chicken pieces need about 20 to 25 minutes to cook through completely. Following that, you may be assured that your chicken is ready to eat.
Your half-cooked chicken can be fixed quite easily by refrying the meat. There are a few ways you can fix your messed-up chicken.
Continue cooking your fried chicken in the same manner if it is underdone. You shouldn’t be concerned about altering the procedure. The internal temperature of the chicken should be checked once more using the thermometer, though.
You should, however, cease frying if the chicken skin has become crispy. The outer layer of the chicken skin would be burned with more time spent frying. The best technique that you can take is to place it at the center of the oven and recheck the internal temperature until it is done.
5 Common Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make When Handling Undercooked Chicken
Despite the fact that the aforementioned cooking instructions may be simple to follow, many people frequently make the same blunders. Below are listed the top five chicken cooking mistakes.
1. Place Cooked And Undercooked Chicken In The Same Container
Combining the two could raise the danger of bacteria growth because raw chicken contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Additionally, it’s possible that you won’t know which one is edible once you’ve combined them. As a result, you might select uncooked chicken, which could result in nausea or diarrhea.
2. Recook Undercooked Chicken The Next Day
Although chicken can be recooked, this does not imply that you can always fix uncooked chicken. Your chicken meat would taste and smell rather awful when you cooked it again the next day. Then it can be difficult for you to eat them.
Second, you must safely preserve the chicken if you intend to cook it again the following day. If your undercooked chicken is not properly covered or stored, it may allow bacteria to flourish and result in food poisoning. Your entire effort would be in vain.
3. Refrigerate Undercooked Chicken
- Keeping food in the refrigerator is a nice idea, but it’s not the best solution for your chicken that was cooked incorrectly.
- When you cold uncooked chicken, you encourage the growth of bacteria on your meal. The refrigerator’s temperature creates an environment where bacteria can grow swiftly.
- The uncooked chicken can be kept in a freezer as an alternative method of storage. The freezer’s low temperature would slow the bacteria’s pace of growth. Additionally, freezing is the best way to preserve the health of your chicken for an extended period of time.
4. Leave Undercooked Chicken Uncovered
How long can cooked chicken be left outside? Sadly, it can’t, and undercooked ones are out of the question. You’ll have a lot of problems if you leave your uncooked chicken unattended and at room temperature.
First off, airborne bacteria or viruses may assault and begin to proliferate on your meat. Second, oxidation occurs quickly in heated environments when food is left exposed, altering the flavor and aroma of the food.
5. Use The Same Utensils When Recooking
Many people prefer to cut cooked and uncooked meat with the same knife. However, you must properly wash the same utensils before using them again. Utensils should be cleaned or washed to stop bacteria from getting on the well-cooked chicken portions.
Harmful Effects Of Eating Undercooked Chicken
Many individuals are aware that eating raw chicken flesh can result in mild to severe food poisoning symptoms. What are they, though? To locate the solutions, proceed through the sections below.
The most prevalent sign is diarrhea. Loose or watery bowel motions are considered diarrhea. When diarrhea occurs more than three times per day, you are in risk.
Dehydration from these symptoms can be hazardous for young children and elderly adults with compromised immune systems. When the symptoms worsen, make sure you know how to get to the closest hospital.
Stomach pain, often known as abdominal pain, is one of the symptoms of food poisoning after consuming uncooked chicken meat between 8 to 72 hours.
Abdominal pain is brought on by the bacteria that inhabit partially cooked meat. They could give you abdominal pain and make your stomach hurt.
Fever is one of the clear indicators that you have eaten chicken that has been partially cooked. You could get a little degree of fatigue after eating chicken meat tainted with bacteria.
Your body temperature rises until it hits 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, you might catch various infections like a cough or sore throat.
Additionally, eating undercooked meat causes vomiting. It happens when you feel terrible to your stomach and wants to vomit the entire meal you just had.
After a number of hours have passed since you last consumed bad chicken meat, the symptom will begin. By consuming water or eating bread, you can prevent vomiting. However, if the symptom persists, you should visit a doctor.
Learn what happens if you consume improperly cooked chicken.
FAQs Of How To Tell If The Chicken Breast Is Undercooked
What Should I Drink If I Eat Undercooked Chicken?
If you have eaten undercooked chicken, drinking fluids such as water or clear broth can help flush bacteria out of the system and keep your body hydrated. Additionally, probiotics and digestive teas may help reduce symptoms like nausea or diarrhea.
Can I Reheat Undercooked Chicken?
Yes, you can reheat undercooked chicken by placing it in a shallow dish and baking it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Additionally, you can cook the chicken over low heat in a pan or skillet until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. However, be sure to discard any leftovers after reheating.
What Are The Symptoms Of Eating Undercooked Chicken?
The most common symptoms of eating undercooked chicken include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, you may experience headaches or a general feeling of unease. If these symptoms persist after 24 hours, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Be Left Outside?
Cooked chicken should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. If the temperature is hotter than 90 degrees, the food should not be left out for longer than one hour. Food should also be covered to keep away insects and potential contamination from other environments when food is left exposed, altering the flavor and texture.
Who Should Avoid Eating Undercooked Chicken?
Undercooked chicken is potentially dangerous for anyone to eat, but can be particularly hazardous for pregnant women and young children. Additionally, those with weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions should avoid eating undercooked chicken as it may cause an adverse reaction in the body.
How To Tell If The Chicken Is Done Without A Thermometer?
To tell if the chicken is done without a thermometer, poke the meat with a knife and check that the juices run clear. Additionally, you can cut into the thickest part of the meat and make sure it’s cooked all the way through by checking that there is no pink inside. If unsure, use a digital food thermometer to check internal temperature and make sure the chicken has reached 165 F.
After Fixing Undercooked Chicken, Does It Still Taste Good?
Yes, undercooked chicken can still taste good after it has been cooked correctly. The key is to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and all the way through. Additionally, you may need to add more seasoning or spices to improve the flavor of the chicken after it has been reheated.
Is It Safe To Eat Slightly Undercooked Chicken?
No, it is not safe to eat slightly undercooked chicken. Even if the chicken looks and smells okay, there can still be bacteria present that could cause food-borne illness. The best way to make sure your chicken is cooked properly is to use a digital food thermometer and check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
What If I Undercook The Chicken?
If you undercook the chicken, you are at risk of foodborne illness caused by bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli. Symptoms of food poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
So, you get the answer to the question “how to tell if chicken is undercooked”? No one wants to get food poisoning, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if the chicken is undercooked. To be on the safe side, always cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temp of your chicken before you eat it. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast and make sure there is no pink inside. Keep in mind that dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat, so give yourself extra time if you’re cooking thighs or drumsticks. With these tips, Sweet Basil’s Cafe hopes you can avoid getting sick and enjoy your meal!