When Is Fried Chicken Done? (Internal Temperature)


Without a doubt, fried chicken is one of the greatest eating pleasures known to man. However, knowing exactly when it is done is a common question among people who are frying it for the first time.

According to the USDA, fried chicken is done when the internal temperature is at least 165 ºF.  This ensures that the bacteria that may cause food poisoning is neutralized. The best way to tell if fried chicken is done is by using a thermometer and checking the internal temperature of the bird.

It’s vitally important to make sure that your fried chicken is fully cooked, but what if you don’t have a thermometer? Or you check it, and it’s under the 165-degree mark; what do you do then? Read on as we dig into just how to make sure that your fried chicken is safe for consumption.

How to Know When Fried Chicken Is Done

Chicken, by far, is one of the most popular dishes that you could serve up, but it comes with a small risk if not fully cooked. You must check the temperature of your chicken once it’s done cooking. To make sure that you’ve killed off all of the bacteria that might cause food poisoning.

Using a thermometer; is the best way to check your fried chicken. By ensuring that it’s reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can rest assured that you’ve killed off the bacteria that causes food poisoning and it’s safe to eat.

It’s very important to understand that all pieces may not be done at the same time. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the chicken as well as other factors. If you check the temperature of a thin piece, the thicker pieces may still be very undercooked in the center.

Always use a meat thermometer you trust and check every piece as it comes out of the fryer or oven.

How Do You Know When Fried Chicken Is Done Without a Thermometer?

Another way to check if your fried chicken is done is to cut it open. Once again, use the thickest part of the biggest piece of chicken. The juices coming out of the chicken should be clear, and there should be no pink or blood inside at all.

The average piece of chicken takes around 15 to 20 minutes to cook, but the times may vary depending on how thick your chicken is; always test your chicken to be on the safe side.

Experienced chefs can tell how cooked a piece of chicken is just by the texture and springiness. Don’t try to do this yourself unless you are a professional—it takes lots and lots of practice to get an accurate sense for it.

Honestly, you should have a thermometer to cook chicken. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive, just something like my recommended Deep Fry Thermometer that you can pick up on Amazon. It’ll help save you some worry, especially if you’re new to cooking chicken.

What Is the Best Temperature for Deep Frying?

Chicken Frying in Oil

The size of the chicken pieces and what part of the chicken you are planning to fry up can change the temperature you are going to want to use when cooking them. As well as the time it’ll take the piece to be thoroughly cooked. While estimated times give a good idea of how long your meal will take to cook, the cook times can vary, so you must always test your chicken before serving it.

WeightOil TemperatureCook time
Bone-in Breast8 oz350 degrees Fahrenheit20 Min
Boneless Breast8 oz350 degrees Fahrenheit15 Min
Bone-in Wings 3 oz375 degrees Fahrenheit10 Min
Boneless Wings3 oz375 degrees Fahrenheit8 Min
Legs4 oz375 degrees Fahrenheit10 min

As long as you’re cooking your fried chicken in oil that is between 300 and 375 degrees, your chicken should out perfect within twenty minutes. No matter the piece of chicken, the internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can get the darker meat as hot as 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Safe Bone-in Chicken Breast Temperatures

Please note that bone-in chicken breast does take a little more time to cook thoroughly than boneless. To get your bone-in fried chicken cooked safely, you’re going to want to heat your oil between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pro Tip: To make sure that your oil is maintaining a good temperature, continuously flip your chicken every few minutes for around ten to 15 minutes; once the skin is golden brown, pull it out of the pan and check the temperature, which should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do You Finish Undercooked Fried Chicken

You’ve fried up that delicious chicken, put it on a plate, and tested its edibility, and it has failed; what do you do now? Don’t worry; dinner isn’t ruined; you still have options. You can always go to your trusty oven to finish it off.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Place you partially cooked pieces onto a pan
  • Let the chicken cook for 5 mins 
  • Check the temperature or test the chicken once again

Alternatively, you can put your chicken back into the frying pan at a lower temperature and let it cook for another five minutes or so. When you’re refrying your chicken, keep the oil around the 300 degrees Fahrenheit mark and flip it every minute or so. Make sure that whichever method that you choose, you recheck the chicken.

Uncooked chicken can possess several forms of bacteria that can cause severe nausea. So, if you’re going to prepare some of that delicious bird flaky and golden brown, ensure that your chicken has reached 165 degrees to kill all the bacteria that might cause food poisoning.

Keep your oil in between the temperatures of 300 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You can lower and raise it depending on the thickness of your pieces of chicken. Keep in mind that the thicker the piece of chicken you’re cooking, the lower the temperature you will use to fry it.

Final Bite

Obtaining a temperature of at least 165 ℉ ensures that chicken is done and safe to eat. However, there is a bit more to it and how you get the tastiest chicken possible depends on several factors including the cut of chicken and personal preference. Hopefully, this article has helped you get a bit closer to that perfectly cooked fried chicken you desire.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, check out When To Brine Chicken (And When Not To).

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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