When cooking chicken thighs, it is easy to get confused as to what temperature they should be cooked at.
Should you cook them until they reach 165 degrees or 180 degrees? What is the difference between these two temperatures?
Chicken thigh meat has a high fat content and cooks very well. The USDA recommends cooking chicken thighs to an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
If you want to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked, then you should follow the recommended guidelines. However, if you prefer to eat chicken at lower temperatures, then you can cook them to 180 °F (82 °C) instead. This will give you a slightly juicier result.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at cooking chicken thighs properly in more detail.
How To Know Your Chicken Thighs Are Ready
The best way to determine when your chicken is done is by using an instant read thermometer.
Insert it into the thickest part of the thigh without piercing its skin. It should register 165 °F (74 °C) when the chicken is ready. If it does not, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before testing again.
When cooking chicken thighs, you need to make sure that the pan is hot enough so that the oil sizzles as soon as the chicken hits the pan. You also need to use a large skillet with a lid.
When cooking chicken thighs in a smaller skillet, you may have to increase the heat. Make sure that the chicken is searing on all sides before turning it over.
You can also use a digital probe thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken. Insert it into the center of the thigh. Once inserted, press down firmly.
This method works great because it gives you accurate results. However, some people find this method too difficult.
How To Check Chicken Thighs Cooked Without A Thermometer
One way to tell whether your chicken is cooked through is to poke it with a fork. If there are no juices running out, then the chicken is likely overcooked.
Another way to test the chicken is to cut into it. If the inside looks white, then the chicken is probably cooked.
To avoid overcooking your chicken, you should keep track of how long it takes to cook.
Once you know how long it takes to finish cooking, you can adjust the time accordingly. For example, if you cook chicken thighs for 20 minutes, but they still seem undercooked, then reduce the cooking time to 15 minutes.
How Long Do Chicken Thighs Take To Cook?
It takes about 10-15 minutes per pound (450 grams) of chicken to cook through.
So, for example, if you are cooking 2 pounds (900 grams), it will take 20-30 minutes.
However, keep in mind that the time needed depends on the size of the chicken. A whole chicken breast will only take 15 minutes.
A whole chicken leg will take longer than a boneless one. So, if you are going to cut up the chicken, then you should start checking the temperature after 25 minutes.
How Long Do Chicken Thighs Need To Rest After Cooking?
Chicken thighs need about 10-15 minutes rest after cooking. During this time, the juices start to settle back into the meat.
This is important because it stops the meat drying out and toughening up.
Do You Have To Remove Bones From Chicken Thighs Before Cooking?
No, you do not need to remove bones before cooking chicken thigh.
Removing bones is only necessary if you plan to use the bones for something else. Removing the bones however increases the amount of surface area available for the sauce to coat.
What Do Overcooked Chicken Thighs Look Like?
Overcooked chicken thighs look dry and tough. When cooked correctly, the meat should be moist and tender.
If you overcook chicken thigh, then it becomes dry and tough.
To avoid overcooking, make sure that you monitor the chicken closely during the first few minutes of cooking.
How Much Oil Should I Use For Chicken Thighs?
For every 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of chicken, you should add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of oil. This ensures that the chicken has plenty of fat to help prevent it from drying out.
If you don’t want to waste any food, then you can always freeze leftover chicken thighs.
Can I Use Different Types Of Oil For Cooking Chicken Thighs?
Yes, you can use different types of oils for cooking chicken thighs. But, there are certain things you need to consider.
First, you should avoid frying foods in vegetable oil. Vegetable oils contain polyunsaturated fats which can oxidize quickly and cause free radicals. These free radicals damage cells and are thought to lead to cancer.
Second, you should avoid deep frying food in olive oil. Olive oil contains antioxidants called hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein.
These antioxidants help prevent oxidation. However, they do not protect against other forms of oxidation such as lipid peroxidation.
Third, you should avoid using butter or margarine for cooking chicken thighs. Butter and margarine contain saturated fats. They are solid at room temperature and therefore don’t allow the chicken to brown.
Fourth, you should try to avoid using coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids. When used for cooking, these fatty acids tend to create off flavors.
Fifth, you should be careful when using peanut oil. Peanut oil has high levels of arachidonic acid. This compound is known to contribute to inflammation and heart disease.
Finally, you should avoid using lard. Lard is made from rendered pork fat. It is very unhealthy and should be avoided.
How To Season Chicken Thighs
Seasoning chicken thighs is easy. Just season them with salt and pepper.
You can also rub your chicken thighs with a mixture of herbs and spices. For example, you could mix together:
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning on both sides of the chicken thighs before placing them into the pan.
What Should I Know About Grilling Chicken Thighs?
Grilling chicken thighs is an easy way to prepare them. The key here is to grill them slowly.
The best grills are charcoal ones. Charcoal provides more flavor than gas grills. Gas grills are good for preparing vegetables but not so much for meat.
When grilling chicken thighs, make sure that you place them directly over the coals. If you place them on top of the coals, they will burn easily.
The ideal temperature for grilling chicken thighs is around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should also remember to turn the chicken every few minutes.
If you want to get the most out of your grilled chicken thighs, you should marinate them first.
Marinating helps tenderize the meat and gives it a delicious flavor. You can marinate them with herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, etc.
Can I Use A Grill Basket When Grilling Chicken Thigh?
A grill basket is useful for grilling chicken thighs without having to worry about getting burnt fingers.
Simply place the chicken thighs in the basket and then set it over the hot coals.
Is There Any Difference Between Broiling And Grilling Chicken Thigh?
Broiling and grilling chicken thighs are both great methods of cooking them. However, broiling takes less time than grilling.
Grilling chicken thighs requires longer cooking times. It also produces more smoke which adds an extra dimension to the flavor.
Broiling chicken thighs involves placing them under the broiler for 5-10 minutes.
How To Know Grilled Chicken Thighs Are Done
To know if your grilled chicken thigh is done, use a thermometer. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh.
It should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does not reach this temperature, cook it for another minute or two.
If you do not have a thermometer, you can also test the chicken by cutting into one. If it feels firm, it is cooked.
You can also just stick a fork or knife into it.
The juices should come out cleanly, indicating that the meat is cooked through.
Should Chicken Thighs Be Covered In Foil Whilst Cooking?
It’s always better to cover food while cooking. This prevents moisture loss and allows the food to cook evenly.
But, foil does have its benefits too. For instance, it keeps the heat inside the oven and prevents steam from escaping.
But, you should never put plastic wrap or aluminum foil directly over the flame. Doing this could result in fire.
Does Covering Meat In Foil Make It Cook Faster?
Yes, if you cover food in foil, it will cook faster. In fact, some people even claim that covering food in foil makes it taste better!
However, you shouldn’t just throw any old piece of foil over your food. You should use heavy-duty foil. Heavy-duty foil is thicker and stronger.
Why Is It Important To Cook Chicken?
Cooking chicken is important because it makes it healthier. This ensures that all the nutrients are retained and there is no risk of food poisoning.
Chicken contains a lot of protein. Protein is essential for building muscles.
Also, cooking chicken reduces the risk of contracting salmonella. Salmonella is one of the leading causes of food poisoning.
What Is The Best Way To Store Leftover Chicken?
Leftover chicken should be stored in the refrigerator. This will help prevent bacteria growth.
If you don’t store leftovers properly, you run the risk of food poisoning. Leftover chicken should be covered tightly so that oxygen cannot penetrate the container.
If you’re planning on making chicken salad, you should keep leftover chicken separate from other ingredients.
When storing chicken thighs, you need to take care not to let them dry out. Drying out chicken thighs means losing all their juices.
How Long Can You Keep Cooked Chicken Thighs In The Refrigerator?
Cooked chicken thighs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
However, if you have leftovers, you may want to freeze them instead. Frozen chicken thighs can last up to 6 months.
How Long Can I Keep Chicken Thighs Frozen?
Freezing chicken thighs is a great way to preserve them before you cook them. They can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
To freeze chicken thighs, simply remove them from their packaging and place them into a large zip lock bag.
Then, add as many ice cubes as possible before sealing the bag tightly.
This process helps keep the chicken thighs cold during storage.
How To Defrost Frozen Chicken Thighs
Defrosting frozen chicken thighs is easy. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Remove the chicken thighs from the freezer and leave them at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Place the defrosted chicken thighs in a colander placed over a bowl.
- Cover with a damp towel. Leave them undisturbed until completely thawed.
- Once they’ve been fully defrosted, drain off excess water by patting the chicken thighs with paper towels.
Is There A Way To Reheat Chicken Thighs?
You can reheat chicken thighs using the microwave. Here is how:
- Simply cut the chicken thigh into small pieces and then place them on a microwavable dish.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to the dish and cover with a lid. Microwave for 2-3 minutes.
- After heating, serve immediately.
- Or, you can also bake chicken thighs. Just preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chicken thighs on top of the parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Why Do People Prefer To Eat Chicken Thighs?
The reason most people choose to eat chicken thighs is because they contain more fat than breast meat.
Fat is an excellent source of energy. It’s also good for your heart.
It’s also rich in nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and selenium.
Chicken thighs are also high in protein. This makes them ideal for those who wish to consume lean proteins.
Chicken thighs are also low in calories. Therefore, it’s perfect for those who are trying to lose weight.
They also taste delicious. So, if you love eating chicken thighs, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t eat them!
How Much Fat Is In A Chicken Thigh?
A 4 ounce serving of chicken thighs contains about 5 grams of fat. That’s less than one teaspoon.
This makes it a much healthier alternative if you are looking to eat meat, but want something that has a low fat content.
However, this does not mean that you should avoid eating other chicken options such as breast and leg. You just need to make sure that you’re choosing healthy options when you purchase them.
What Should I Look For When Buying Chicken Thighs?
The best way to ensure that you get the best quality chicken thighs is to buy them fresh.
When buying chicken thighs, look out for signs that indicate that they have been freshly slaughtered. These include bright red skin coloration.
Also, check for any bruises or cuts on the skin. If you see any of these, don’t buy them.
If you find yourself unable to tell whether the chicken thighs were recently slaughtered, ask the butcher. He will be able to confirm that fact for you.
If you notice anything else that seems suspicious, simply return the product to the store where you bought it.
If you’re looking for ways to make chicken thighs healthier, here are some tips that will help you achieve this goal:
Try adding spices like garlic powder or cayenne pepper when cooking the chicken. These ingredients will enhance its flavor.
Instead of frying chicken thighs, try grilling them. Grilling enhances the flavor of chicken thighs while reducing the amount of fat.
Lastly, you should always opt for leaner cuts of meat whenever you cook them. This is especially true for chicken thighs.
We hope this article was helpful in your journey to becoming a chicken thigh pro. Happy eating!
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