Is chicken undercooked? Chicken remains one of the most popular meat choices, with more than 85 percent of Americans consuming it regularly. As much as we love eating chicken, we also have to make sure it’s cooked properly or we risk getting sick from foodborne illnesses like salmonella or campylobacter bacteria. Fortunately, there are some ways to tell if your chicken is undercooked without cutting into it first and taking the chance that you’re going to ruin the dish you’re making by leaving the meat pink in the center.
Check the Color
The color of the chicken is a good way to tell if it is ready. If it is pink, it needs more time. One way you can test this is by cutting into the meat and making sure that the juices are clear. Another way to know if your chicken has been cooked enough is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken without touching any bone or fat.
Check the Temperature
The temperature of the chicken can tell you if it is fully cooked. For poultry, you’ll want your thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh or breast and make sure it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If a digital thermometer isn’t available, use one that will register a temperature over 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that there are no bacteria lurking and ready to take advantage of any food left undercooked. Cooking chicken on high heat will shorten the cooking time but it also increases the chance of overcooking or drying out your poultry. If you’re unsure about cooking with high heat, try cooking on medium-high for about ten minutes before flipping it and continuing with another ten minutes.
Cut Into the Chicken
In order to check if your chicken is cooked, you should use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken at the end of its cooking time. If the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, your chicken is done. Use this as a guideline and not a rule as internal temperatures can vary depending on how big or small your chicken is and if you’re cooking it from frozen or fresh.
It is important to make sure that when you cook your chicken, you don’t overcook it. This will make your meat tough and dry, which will affect its flavor too.
Look for Pink Juices
Checking for pink juices is one way to determine if your chicken is undercooked. Remember, cook times will vary based on the size of your piece of chicken. There are many variables that go into cooking a piece of chicken so it’s important not to rely solely on this test. Make sure you also use a meat thermometer and check the temperature of the meat before eating it.
Is the Chicken Slimy?
If the chicken is slimy, it is likely undercooked. This texture is caused by a protein known as collagen, which naturally occurs in poultry and can remain even after the meat has been cooked. Collagen will become less noticeable after cooking for a longer time. If you are not sure if your chicken is done or not, cut into it with a knife and see if the juices run clear rather than pink.
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Trust Your Instincts
If you’re cooking chicken for the first time, it can be difficult to determine whether or not it is cooked through. One way to tell if your chicken is undercooked is by checking the juices that are running out of the meat when poked with a fork. If they’re clear, then they are most likely done, but if they’re pink, then they need more time. The best thing you can do is trust your instincts and follow your gut. If something feels off about the way it smells or looks, it probably needs more time on the stove.
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