Chicken thigh meat has become a favorite food for many people because of its delicious juicy texture and high protein content. The problem is that some people don’t know how to cook chicken thigh meat properly.
Chicken thigh meat should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) before consuming.
If the internal temperature is below 165 degrees Fahrenheit, then the meat may not taste right, and could still be carrying some harmful bacteria.
This is why knowing the internal temperature of chicken thigh meat is important.
Chicken Thighs Internal Temperature
Chicken thighs should be cooked until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature ensures that it is safe to consume while giving the chicken a juicy texture.
To be safe, it is recommended that you use a thermometer, especially an instead-read one. This will ensure that you are 100% certain that the chicken has been cooked to the appropriate temperature.
Breasts Vs. Thighs
Chicken breast is also a popular option when it comes to buying chicken, and it is a whiter form of meat that cooks relatively quickly.
While this is a big positive, especially for beginners, if you don’t get the cooking time just right, they can become dry and not very pleasant to eat.
Chicken thighs are more forgiving because they can be cooked beyond 165 degrees Fahrenheit and still taste great! This is because they have a meatier, juicier flavor.
Chicken Internal Temperature
All poultry is safe to consume when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the meat reaches this temperature, all bacteria that can cause salmonella will be killed off.
The safest way to cook chicken and to be reassured it is at a safe temperature to eat is by using a thermometer, as mentioned earlier.
When you’re roasting, barbecuing, or grilling a whole chicken, insert your thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken.
Thighs have a darker meat, and this part will take longer to cook, so you should rely on this section to determine whether the meat is safe to eat.
Chicken Thighs Temperature
While 165 degrees Fahrenheit is when you know your whole chicken is done, if you are solely cooking chicken thighs, you should take the chicken off the heat when they reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reason for this is that chicken thighs contain collagen, and when collagen is heated, it transforms into gelatin.
This makes the meat more tender, while also making it moist. If you take your thighs off the heat when they reach 165 degrees and serve it, while it is safe to consume, it can be a little chewy.
If you wait a little longer, until they reach 180 degrees, they’ll be a lot more tender but still flavorsome and juicy.
How Long Does It Take For Chicken Thighs To Reach Their Desired Temperature?
The overall time it takes to cook boneless chicken thighs is around 10 to 12 minutes, and bone-in thighs would take around 15 to 20 minutes.
However, this will depend on the temperature of the apparatus you are using to cook the thighs.
It is recommended to cook boneless thighs at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bone-in thighs at 450, but you will need to remember to keep turning them to avoid burning.
If you are cooking them at a lower heat, they may take a little longer to cook, but you’ll still have a nice juicy texture at the end.
There are many factors that will determine how long they will take to cook, and that is why having an instant-read thermometer will make your life a lot easier, and safer!
Can Chicken Thighs Be Pink In The Middle?
Chicken paranoia is a thing, and we all know someone who believes that chicken is only properly cooked if it is fully white.
While it isn’t a terrible rule to live by, it is not necessarily true, especially when it comes to chicken thighs.
As mentioned, chicken is truly done cooking and safe to eat as long as it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chicken thighs have darker meat than other cuts of chicken, so as long as the internal temperature is 165 degrees, you should not worry about any parts of the meat that have a pinkish hue, or darker tones.
Chicken Thighs Are Tastier…But Are They Healthier?
Yes, chicken thighs are tastier than chicken breast, as darker meats carry more flavor. When it comes to which is healthier, they are both great sources of protein.
The main difference between the two is the calorie and fat content. Breasts tend to have less fat content, with 3 grams of total fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat.
Chicken thighs have a total amount of fat of 9 grams and 3 grams of saturated fat. Their calorie content also differs, with breasts having a total of 140 calories, and thighs having 170.
However, chicken thighs do have a few advantages over breasts. First, they are much juicier. When you bite into a chicken thigh, you get a burst of flavor that just doesn’t come from a breast.
Second, they are often more flavorful than breasts because they are made up of dark meat, as mentioned above.
Dark meat contains more iron and zinc than light meat, so they are better for your body. Third, they have more muscle mass than breasts, which gives them a richer taste.
Fourth, they are typically fattier than breasts, which means they are more filling. And finally, they are smaller than breasts, which means you won’t need as much to fill you up.
So, Which Should I Choose?
If you want to save money, then go for the thighs. They are generally cheaper than breasts, and we’ll tell you why.
As covered already, thighs contain dark meat, and many believe that dark meat is bad for you. Many people prefer to purchase white breast meat because they believe it is leaner, so there is less demand for dark meat.
While there are slightly more calories and fats in thighs, both parts of the chicken are nutritious and yummy. Either way, you’re going to be getting plenty of protein and nutrients, and both options are delicious.
While chicken thighs tend to take longer to cook than breasts, their flavor makes the extra time worth it.
You also won’t have to worry about overcooking them as they are more forgiving, and will still carry their delicious texture and flavor.
The fact that they are cheaper than other parts of the chicken, is an amazing bonus!