Chicken thighs are prized cuts on the bird due to how juicy and tender they turn out after cooking. Crisping up the layer of skin on the thigh also makes that part of the chicken even more delicious.
If you prefer chicken thighs yourself, you should learn how to cook and check them properly.
In this article, you’ll learn about the different ways to tell if a chicken thigh is cooked through. We’ll also let you know what could happen if you eat undercooked chicken.
Undercooked Chicken Thigh
Chicken Tigh is undercooked if the internal temperature does not reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). Chicken thighs are considered cooked through when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). Cooking the chicken thigh until it hits an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) gives it a more pleasing texture. Use a meat thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the thigh to get an accurate reading of the chicken’s internal temperature.
What Are the Different Ways of Checking if a Chicken Thigh Has Been Cooked Through?
Pieces of chicken are properly cooked when their meat is opaque and their juices run clear. Eating undercooked chicken must be avoided because it can lead to a Salmonella infection.
Despite how prominently featured chicken is throughout the average American’s diet, it is still something that people often have trouble cooking. Chicken is also not the type of meat that you can get away with undercooking.
Making sure that your chicken is cooked properly before serving it is an absolute must. Detailed below are some of the things you can do to check if your chicken thighs are cooked through.
1. Test the Chicken Using a Meat Thermometer
By far the safest and easiest way to check if your chicken thighs are done involves using a meat thermometer. You should be able to find a meat thermometer in any cookware store.
To use the meat thermometer properly, insert its probe into the thickest section of the thigh. Keep it there until it gives you a reading.
When it comes to chicken, the internal temperature you want to aim for is 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). The chicken thigh is already cooked through when you hit that temperature.
However, most cooks prefer to let the chicken thigh go a little further so it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius).
Why should you wait until the chicken thigh reaches that temperature? It’s all about texture.
At 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the thigh is already cooked but it may still be chewy. By letting it cook a little more, you can achieve that tender texture that makes chicken thighs so delectable.
2. Check the Color of the Chicken’s Juices
Are you having trouble finding your meat thermometer? If you cannot use that tool to check the doneness of your chicken, there are other methods you can employ.
One such method involves examining the juices of the chicken thigh.
Grab a knife and slice into the chicken thigh just a little bit. After making that cut, press down slightly on the meat until juices come out.
You’ll know the chicken thigh is cooked if its juices are clear. If you’re getting some color, you should let the thigh cook a bit more.
3. Examine the Appearance of the Chicken
You can also examine the appearance of the chicken thigh to see if it’s done.
Thoroughly cooked chicken thighs will be completely opaque. If there are still portions of the thigh that look slightly translucent, then that means the chicken is not done yet.
The color of the chicken is not a reliable indicator of how well it has been cooked. Only reference the opaqueness of the meat if you want to get an accurate read on things.
Why Is Eating Undercooked Chicken Bad?
Whether you cook often or not, you’ve probably heard at some point that eating raw or undercooked chicken is bad for you. Chicken is not like beef in the sense that you can get away with serving it rare or even medium-rare.
But why is undercooked chicken bad for you? The answer is related to the bacteria known as Salmonella.
According to the CDC, one in every 25 packages of chicken you’ll find at the grocery is contaminated with the aforementioned bacteria. That’s a big reason why raw or undercooked chicken causes a lot of illnesses among careless cooks.
Thankfully, you can eliminate the threat of Salmonella by storing the chicken safely and cooking it thoroughly.
What happens if you fail to handle the chicken properly and contract a Salmonella infection?
For starters, you will likely develop a fever. Not long after that, you may also experience a bout of diarrhea and vomiting.
If the infected person does not get enough fluids, they may also become dehydrated.
In some cases, the person with a Salmonella infection may also suffer from abdominal cramps, sore muscles, and headaches.
Note too that the symptoms of a Salmonella infection can linger for a while. Avoid putting yourself at risk that way by taking the time to cook your chicken thighs correctly.
Conclusion to How Can You Tell if a Chicken Thigh Has Been Undercooked
Whether you’re eating the chicken thighs yourself or serving them to guests, you must be completely certain that they are cooked thoroughly. Utilize the checking methods we discussed here so you have no doubts about the doneness of the chicken thighs.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Can You Tell if a Chicken Thigh Has Been Undercooked
How Long Should Chicken Thighs Be Cooked?
You want to cook chicken thighs until they hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Boneless thighs usually hit that temperature after about 20 minutes of cooking. If you’re preparing bone-in thighs, the average cooking time goes up to around 30 minutes.
Are Pink Chicken Thighs Undercooked?
Some chicken thighs may retain a slightly pink color even after they’re cooked through. Smoked chicken thighs, in particular, are known to feature a little bit of pink. Double-check if the slightly pink chicken thigh is done by using a meat thermometer.
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.