Chicken is a meat that runs a high risk of salmonella poisoning. Therefore when you’re cooking it, you want to cook it properly. Undercooked chicken can put you at high risk for food-borne illnesses.
Making sure that your chicken is cooked fully through prevents this danger. So what happens if you undercook your chicken? Are you able to salvage it by recooking it?
Can You Recook Undercooked Chicken?
When it comes to recooking undercooked chicken, you can, but there is a catch. If you notice that your chicken is undercooked right when you take it out of the oven, you can put it back in and continue cooking it. If you have chicken that has been left out or refrigerated and you discover it is undercooked, you should discard it.
How To Cook Chicken
When it comes to chicken, well-done is really the only route to take. Chicken is a large carrier of salmonella. If you undercook your chicken, you put yourself at risk for this food-borne illness.
When cooking chicken, both fresh or frozen, you want to ensure that it reaches temperatures of 165 ºF. You can also check your chicken for the coloring. You want the meat to be white, not pink. If you see pink you should continue cooking it.
When looking at coloring, however, you may notice that your chicken has a dark red or purplish color. This is not an indication that your chicken is undercooked. If you have purchased chicken that wasn’t prepped properly you may notice discoloration due to remaining blood vessels.
Why Time Matters
When it comes to recooking undercooked chicken, time is the most important factor. Undercooked chicken, even if it has been sitting in the fridge, starts to develop bacteria.
Bacteria develop within two hours. While you may think that if it has been refrigerated or partially cooked this will prevent bacteria growth, this is untrue.
Bacteria can grow in many different conditions, including a refrigerator. If you notice hours after cooking your chicken that it is undercooked, discard it. When it comes to chicken it is better to be safe than sorry. This also goes for take-out.
If you order chicken and when it arrives at your home undercooked, you should not recook it. The reason is that you don’t know when the chicken was prepared and even in the process of transit, bacteria will have started to grow.
The Best Way to Recook Undercooked Chicken
When it comes to undercooked chicken, there are some methods of cooking that work better than others. The best method of recooking your chicken is in your oven.
Depending on if you are cooking frozen or fresh chicken, you can still run into issues where the inside remains undercooked.
When cooking your chicken in the oven you have a constant source of heat. This even heat dispersion means that your chicken will cook from the inside out.
The center of the chicken is usually where you notice that it has been undercooked. Recooking it in the oven eliminates that issue.
In a similar process of reheating the center, you can stick chicken that you’ve cooked into the microwave. Microwaves are designed to cook food from the inside out. This is a quick and easy method to recook your undercooked chicken.
However, it is important to note that this is also a method where time is of the essence. Even cooking in the microwave will not kill bacteria that undercooked chicken has been exposed to if it has been out for a good deal of time.
If you choose to pan fry or deep fry your chicken to recook it, using a meat thermometer is a must. While you should always use a meat thermometer when cooking your chicken, when you are cooking chicken where it is breaded or fried, it can be hard to determine what the color is.
Using a meat thermometer ensures that your chicken has reached a safe temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Recook Undercooked Chicken?
How do I know if my chicken is undercooked?
One of the easiest ways to determine if your chicken is undercooked is to test it with a meat thermometer. No matter the cut of chicken, it should always be at a temperature of 165 ºF or more. Otherwise, you should either re-heat or discard it. Appearance is another important factor. If your chicken is undercooked it will be pink in the center.
How long can I wait to recook undercooked chicken?
When it comes to undercooked chicken, you’d want to recook it immediately, no matter what cooking method you used. Storing or letting it sit before recooking will increase the chances of bacteria multiplying, thus it will not be safe.