How To Cook Chicken Information and Cooking Time Table
Are you looking for information on how to cook chicken? Well, we have plenty of chicken cooking information.
There are so many different ways to prepare chicken like baking it, frying it, grilling chicken, making crockpot chicken, stir frying it, microwave cooking it, etc... I could go on and on about the methods for cooking chicken but I won't. You came here to learn how to cook chicken so let's get to it.
First, let's talk about food safety and chicken. Chicken is definitely one food that you want to handle safely. That means keeping it cold, using it within a minimal amount of time, thawing it safely and preventing cross-contamination from it.
Keeping Chicken Cold
How long does it take you to get from the grocery store to home? How hot is your car inside during this trip? These are things to think about if you want to keep your chicken as fresh and safe as possible. If you live in a climate like Florida, like I do, it can be very warm in the car (ok, downright hot!) after you are done grocery shopping. So, I prefer to use insulated grocery bags for my chicken and other cold or frozen items. I place the chicken in a disposable plastic bag like the produce bags at grocery stores, and then place the bagged chicken into the insulated bag with other cold or frozen products.
Upon getting home the chicken is among the first items I will get into refrigeration. The goal is to keep the chicken at a temperature in the refrigerator at approx. 40 degrees. You also want to try to use it within 1 to 2 days and if you aren't going to I recommend freezing it until you are ready to use it.
Thawing Frozen Chicken
There are 3 ways to thaw frozen chicken according to the FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service).
They are to:
1. Thaw it in the refrigerator
2. Thaw it in cold water
3. Microwave thaw it.
The preferred method is in the refrigerator but it can also be the least convenient if you want to eat it soon. Refrigerator thawing can take 1 to 2 days depending on how much chicken there is.
Thawing chicken in cold water can be done by submerging the chicken in cold water after you have sealed it in an airtight bag or container. The store bought container will work fine if it is sealed. Change the water approx. every 30 minutes to keep it cold. This method will take an hour or more, again depending on how much chicken you are thawing.
You can also microwave thaw chicken by following your microwave instructions. The important thing to remember when microwave thawing chicken is to cook it immediately after thawing because the microwave may begin to partially cook the chicken.
Chicken Cooking Times and Temperatures
So how long does it take to cook chicken? The recommended temperature to cook chicken to is 165 degrees. I prefer to cook chicken at a minimum to this temperature and usually stay on the safer side and go to 170 degrees. (I work in the food service industry and have successfully completed Food Safety Certification courses. I prefer to know that there is no bacteria growth on my food from under cooking it!) I also, always, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken to ensure that it is done.