How Long to Cook Every Cut of Chicken
Given its versatility, affordability, and nutritional standing, chicken has become one of the most popular protein choices in the world. However, from a food safety standpoint, chicken is also one of the most dangerous meats to cook incorrectly, as consuming undercooked poultry can potentially result in life threatening foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E.coli.
As a rule of thumb, every cut of chicken—with the exception of a full chicken—should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re cooking a chicken whole, the internal temperature should reach 180 degrees to guarantee the entirety of the bird is safe to consume. In order to get a completely accurate internal temperature, invest in a meat thermometer and be sure to place the thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken, not touching any fat, bone, or gristle. While you can generally get a visual sense of whether your chicken is fully cooked, when meat has turned opaque and the juices run clear, using a thermometer is the only way to guarantee your meat is completely safe to consume.
Use these timing guidelines for every cut of chicken and method of preparation to guarantee that your roasted, grilled, pan-fried, and deep-fried chicken is safe to consume every time.
Watch: How to Break Down a Chicken
This health-conscious method of cooking is a popular choice for many cuts of chicken, thanks to its easy, hands-off nature. Each of these time guidelines is suitable for roasting in a 350-degree oven. A whole, unstuffed chicken should be roasted for 1 hour and 40 minutes, while a whole stuffed chicken should be roasted for 2 hours and 10 minutes. Boneless breasts should be cooked for 35-45 minutes depending on the size, while bone-in breasts should be cooked for 40-50 minutes. Boneless thighs should be roasted 20-30 minutes, while bone-in thighs should be roasted for 35-45 minutes. Bone-in chicken legs should be cooked for 40-55 minutes, while chicken wings and ground chicken patties should be cooked for 25-30 minutes. For each of these time frames, smaller cuts will be cooked on the shorter end of the time frame, while larger cuts should be cooked for the maximum amount of time.
Grilling is a great option for cooking a larger quantity of chicken in a shorter time period, thanks to the concentrated heat of the fire. Boneless breasts should be grilled 9-12 minutes per side, and bone-in breasts should be grilled 14-17 minutes per side. Boneless thighs will be cooked in 5-8 minutes per side, while bone-in thighs will require 7-10 minutes per side. Wings should be grilled for 8 minutes per side, ground patties for 6 minutes per side, and bone-in legs for 15-18 minutes per side. If you’re planning to grill a whole unstuffed chicken, grill for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Grilling is not recommended for a whole stuffed chicken, as the stuffing is unlikely to be heated to the necessary temperature to kill any bacteria that’s been transferred from the uncooked chicken. Each of these guidelines are for grilling over medium heat.
For smaller portions of chicken, frying in a skillet is the perfect solution for a quick, healthy meal. Boneless breasts will require 8-11 minutes per side in the pan, while bone-in breasts will need 11-15 minutes per side to cook fully. Boneless thighs should be cooked for 5-7 minutes per side, whereas bone-in thighs require 8-11 minutes per side. Both wings and ground chicken patties should be cooked for 8 minutes per side, and bone-in legs will require 13-16 minutes per side. Each of these guidelines are for cooking over medium-high heat in a preheated skillet.
Deep frying can be one of the trickiest methods when it comes to cooking a piece of chicken all the way through, thanks to the intense external heat that cooks the outside quickly while leaving the inside somewhat neglected. No matter which cut of chicken you’re hoping to fry, make sure your pieces are a uniform size, so that no particular piece cooks faster or slower than the others. Deep fry in oil that’s been preheated to 350-375 degrees and allow your wings or pieces to cook for about 15 minutes until they’ve reached a deep golden brown. Measure the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, and slice open a piece to guarantee the meat is opaque all the way through with no pink spots before serving.
Once you’ve got a hang of the timing for each of your cuts of chicken, you’ll be more than ready to try out some of our Best Chicken Recipes, while keeping you and your loved ones entirely safe.