Making sure your chicken is properly cooked is a very important job.
Whether you are cooking for yourself or a crowd, it is a bad idea to serve undercooked chicken.
If you have a thermometer with you, it is easy to tell if the chicken is ready to be served.
Without a thermometer, things can get a little trickier, but it is still possible to tell if your chicken is ready to serve.
Here are a few ways to tell if your chicken is done cooking without using a thermometer.
How to Tell if Chicken Is Cooked Without a Thermometer
Four Ways to Tell if Chicken Is Cooked Without a Thermometer
1. Check the Color of the Juice
While you are cooking chicken, you should see the juices running out in the pan.
The juices will probably be a pinkish-reddish color when you first start cooking.
As your chicken starts getting closer to being cooked, you will notice that the juices start running clear.
This is not always that easy to tell, but when you get better at it and train your eye as to what you are seeing, you should have no trouble seeing the proper color.
2. Check the Texture of the Chicken
Cooked chicken and raw chicken feel much different from each other.
The raw chicken is very rubbery, and you can push it down quite easily.
As your chicken cooks, it becomes firmer, and you will be able to notice it.
The exact level of firmness takes a bit of time to learn.
The great thing about this method is that you do not need to cut the chicken open to see if it is finished.
Having to open the chicken to see if it is finished cooking will lead to quite a bit of the juice leaking out.
This will potentially change the overall flavor and texture of the food when it is time to serve it.
3. Check the Color of the Meat
You can check the color of the meat both on the outside and the inside as well.
The cooked chicken is going to be white in color.
Look at the chicken’s thickest part and see if it has a white or an opaque color.
The opaque color would be a sign that the chicken is not cooked all the way through.
You can use this method without cutting the chicken open, but you have to be careful with the meat’s thicker sections.
Sometimes the outside will be white, and it will look cooked, but the meat is not cooked all the way through.
This is why it is best to use a combination of color and texture to make sure the chicken is cooked.
When you slice chicken open, you can see if it is white or pink.
Sometimes around a chicken bone, you will notice that there are some pink areas.
This is completely normal and has nothing to do with how the chicken is cooked.
4. Does the Meat Fall Off the Bone?
When you are cooking a whole chicken or even chicken thighs, you may notice the meat starts to fall off the bone.
When the meat starts falling off the bone, you know your chicken is perfectly cooked.
This is precisely how you want the chicken to be when it is finished cooking.
It takes a bit of time to learn this exact timing, but it is an excellent method when you do.
If you miss the window on this, the meat will start to get a bit tough.
What Should You Do if You Overcook Chicken?
Overcooking chicken is an unfortunate mistake.
When you overcook chicken, there is no turning back.
You can do a few things if you overcook chicken, but they may be different from your original meal plan.
One of the best ways to deal with overcooked chicken is to put it in a soup.
A soup is going to help give the chicken some of its moisture back.
You can also accomplish the same thing using a sauce on your chicken.
Another great way is to hide the overcooked chicken in a sandwich.
A sandwich will usually have extra ingredients which help make the chicken less dry and hide the overcooked taste.
If you are having company and you overcook your chicken, the sauce option is certainly the best way to save the meal.
How Do You Know if Chicken Is Overcooked?
If you have ever had overcooked chicken, you know how difficult it can be to eat.
The texture of overcooked chicken is stringy and difficult to chew.
When you are eating overcooked chicken, you will feel like you have to chew twice as much as you do when you eat chicken that is cooked properly.
Overcooked chicken will most likely have the same flavor as chicken that is cooked properly, so the largest difference will be in the texture of the food.
The easiest way to tell if your chicken is cooked is to use a thermometer.
The good news is that, even though this is the easiest way, it is not the only way.
There are lots of other methods you can use, and even though they may take a little more time and practice, in the long run, they may be even better than a thermometer.
Learning to cook chicken properly is one of the first steps in becoming a great chef.