how to tell if ground chicken is cooked

So, you need to know how to tell if ground chicken is cooked?? Maybe you have never cooked chicken before. Or perhaps you’ve had a bad run-in with food poisoning from suspect chicken.

Properly preparing chicken is crucial. Chicken that hasn’t been appropriately cooked can cause serious illness.

The simple way to tell if the chicken is cooked properly is to use visual cues.

The most accurate way to know if the chicken is cooked correctly is to use a good meat thermometer and see if the internal temperature is 165℉ (75℃).

Is Your Ground Chicken Undercooked?

undercooked ground meat

Making sure ground chicken is thoroughly cooked is just as important as any other poultry.

Properly cooking chicken ensures that possible pathogens in the food are killed, preventing foodborne illnesses like salmonella.

If you are concerned about cooking your chicken correctly, know that it is often best to use multiple signs to ensure food safety. Relying on only one tell is not foolproof, and there are occasionally exceptions to established signs.

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The best indicator of food readiness is using a good meat thermometer and checking that the meat is at the minimum recommended temperature.


Adequately cooked chicken should be white when cut open. The color should be uniform throughout the meat.

Color checking is the most common method of assessing if the chicken is fully cooked.

That said, it is not always the most reliable, and a study has shown that the color of chicken changes before it reaches a safe temperature.

Also, keep in mind – that fully cooked chicken still on the bone can be pink around the bone. This is because the blood in the vessels doesn’t cook until it has reached a higher temperature.

If your chicken has reached a temperature of 165℉, it is safe to eat.

A better way of telling by visuals is to see that the color of the juices has run clear. When you pierce the meat, the juices should be clear. If they are, the chicken is fully cooked.

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Another common visual test is to see the texture of the meat. Cooked chicken is fibrous, while the raw chicken is glossy and smooth. If you cut open your chicken and the middle seems shiny, it is undercooked.

Tip: Never wash your chicken before cooking. This can contaminate your whole kitchen with harmful bacteria.


the temperature

Any chicken should have an internal temperature of 165℉, regardless of how you are cooking it or what kind of cut it is. This temperature is necessary to ensure enough bacteria are killed for the food to be safe.

It is vital to thaw your meat and preheat your oven before cooking. These steps ensure that the chicken will cook fully and at the proper temperature while it is in the oven.

A meat thermometer is necessary for this reason. You cannot tell the temperature of the meat with sight or touch (nor should you try).

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When using a meat thermometer, make sure that it is accurate first. When measuring the temperature of poultry, put the thermometer into the thickest part.

If you are cooking the whole bird, this would be the thigh.

Tip: If you want to be fancy, the sous-vide method allows you to cook your chicken at a constant temperature while still keeping it juicy and safe to eat.


the cooking time

Make sure you know how long to cook your chicken. Different methods require different lengths of time.

Grilling tends to be the fastest method. The cut of chicken also changes how long it needs to be cooked.

Ground chicken needs to be cooked for around 5-7 minutes. Remember that this is the time at the minimum temperature (165℉).

If you are cooking meat at a higher temperature, it may not need as much time.

A lower temperature needs more time.

Tip: Don’t have a sous-vide machine? Try cooking breasts and thighs separately to maintain their juiciness.

How To Tell if Ground Chicken is Cooked Has Gone Bad

It is essential to know the signs of cooked ground chicken gone bad. Spoiled food can cause illness if consumed.

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You should not keep the cooked ground chicken in the fridge for more than two days. Harmful bacteria can grow if food is kept in the refrigerator longer than recommended.

If frozen, the meat will be good for 3-4 months.

Make sure that stored chicken is kept at the proper temperature. Fridges should not be above 40℉, food in the freezer should be kept under 0℉.

tell if ground chicken bad

If food is stored at improper temperatures, it creates a high risk of harmful bacteria growing.

Leftovers should be stored as soon as possible. You should never leave perishable foods out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if you are in a hotter environment).

Doing so will increase the chances that harmful bacteria will grow.

If you suspect your leftovers have gone bad, it is best to throw them out. There are ways to be more confident that the food has spoiled.

The color change can mean that meat has gone bad — but this isn’t a foolproof indicator on its own. Meat that is good to eat can also exhibit color changes during storage.

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The best way to tell if meat has gone bad is the smell. Spoiled meat will have an off smell.

If you have trouble smelling food’s freshness, the texture of the meat can also tell you if it has gone bad. Spoiled meat will have a different texture than fresh meat.

Meat that has gone bad will have a sticky, tacky texture. It can also feel slimy. If the food has developed these textures, it should be thrown out.

Tip: While wasting is never encouraged, if you’re really not sure if your chicken is still good, the safest option is to throw it out instead of risking getting ill.

Frequently Asked Questions

related questions

What Happens if You Eat Slightly Undercooked Chicken?

Eating undercooked chicken, even if it’s only a little undercooked, will most likely result in food poisoning.

Is Dry Chicken Overcooked?

Probably. When chicken is cooked for too long or at too high a temperature, it ends up being tough and dry.

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Why Is My Chicken Raw in the Middle?

Temperature is key. If you’re cooking your chicken at too high a temperature, you run the risk of burning the outside without having even cooked the inside.

Make sure to keep your cooking temperature not too far from 165℉ to avoid this.

How Soon After Eating Undercooked Chicken Will I Get Sick?

Interestingly enough, food poisoning from chicken doesn’t manifest immediately. In fact, it can take anywhere from two to five days for symptoms to occur.

What Are the Signs of Food Poisoning?

The main symptoms are vomiting (or nausea without vomiting), stomach cramps, and diarrhea. They can also include headaches, fever, and muscle aches. Fun!

Is It Ok to Eat Cooked Chicken Left Out Overnight?

Nope. Never ever. Any cooked chicken left out for more than two hours should be thrown out. Eating cooked chicken left out overnight can, and likely will, result in serious illness.

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It is essential to know how to tell if ground chicken is cooked. The consequence of consuming undercooked chicken is likely illness.

Foodborne illnesses can become severe for anybody, but especially high-risk individuals.

There are good visual cues to tell if the chicken is cooked correctly or has gone bad. Be aware of the texture and smell of chicken to see if it is still safe to eat.

Use a meat thermometer to be sure that the chicken has been cooked properly.

The fact that ground chicken looks slightly different from regular raw chicken pieces changes nothing about the way it needs to be cooked.

But don’t let your fears get the better of you – go enjoy those chicken tacos! Just be smart!