How to Tell If Chicken is Cooked Without Thermometer


You must be aware that most types of meat don’t have to be completely done to be enjoyed. So many people prefer medium-rare over well-done steaks!

However, the same cannot be said about chicken. This is because raw chicken is a cause of many foodborne illnesses.

For instance, it contains harmful bacteria, such as salmonella. Salmonella alone can be a cause of food poisoning, typhoid fever, and many gastrointestinal diseases, etc.

Undercooked Chicken

But if you cook the chicken at the right temperature at the right time, the harmful bacteria are rightfully destroyed, making your chicken not only a tasty but healthy food to consume.

For this reason, we’re here to help you figure out how to cook chicken enough to be consumed safely, without even using a meat thermometer to assist you!

How Can You Tell If Meat is Cooked Without a Thermometer?

When it comes to chicken, it’s best to cook it under strict supervision of temperature and time. This means that a meat thermometer is the best choice to use in this case.

Cooked Buffalo Chicken

However, we understand that using meat thermometers can be a bit of a hassle at times. Which is why we’re here to help you tell your undercooked chicken from the end result you really want.

  • Cut Your Chicken – Piercing through the chicken can tell you if it’s cooked or not.

When you think it’s done, cutting through its thicker parts will help you check its firmness, which can be a good indicator of cooked chicken.

  • Observe its Color – Chicken is okay to consume if there is little to no visible pinkness or blood on it when cut through.

Cooked chicken is always white, whereas an undercooked chicken will have a lot of pink. If there’s more, you should let it cook for a little longer. But make sure it’s only a little more time, to not overcook it!

  • Observe its Juice – Observing its juices is almost the same as looking for blood on it.

When cooked chicken is cut through, the juice that comes out of it is clear, unlike if there was blood in it, in which case it would be pink.

  • Check its Texture – One good way to tell if your chicken is done is by observing its texture.

Undercooked meat always seems rubbery to touch. Whereas cooked meat is less rubbery and stretchy when felt, and is also firm.

If it’s too firm, rather tough, then it has been overcooked.

Part of ChickenWay to Check if it’s Cooked
● A whole chicken● If you cut through it, the leg falls right off the breasts with no effort when perfectly cooked. If it’s undercooked or overcooked, separating the two parts is quite tough! (usually takes several hours on medium heat)
● Chicken Breasts● When a breast is pierced through, it should be completely white with no visible pinkness on it. (usually takes 20 minutes on medium heat)
● Legs or thighs, and wings● They are done when their juices run clear. (usually takes 15 minutes on medium heat)

Despite giving you all these ways to check for cooked chicken, we still recommend that you get yourself a meat thermometer so that there are little to no chances of cooking mess ups!

How Can You Tell If Grilled Chicken is Done Without a Thermometer?

If you’re thinking that for different methods of cooking, you need to observe the chicken differently, we want you to know that it’s not true!

Regardless of what cooking method you adopt, the tricks to check for cooked chicken mentioned above will help you out.

If you’re grilling chicken breasts, for instance, you must be wondering how to tell if chicken breast is done without a thermometer on a grill.

But that’s really not a concern. Whether you are making chicken breasts or drumsticks, and whether you’re grilling them or frying them, the best way to ensure they are cooked is by cutting them.

Once they are white, firm, and their juices run clear, they are safe to eat.

How Can You Check if Chicken is Undercooked?

Like we mentioned earlier on as well, chicken is undercooked if it’s too tough to cut. However, the same goes for overcooked chicken as well, which can cause confusion.

Not only is undercooked chicken hard to cut through, it’s also pink on the inside. Cooked, and even overcooked chicken is white.

Similarly, undercooked chicken also doesn’t have clear juices. Its juice is pink from the blood in it. As long as it remains pink, the chicken is not ready to consume.

It’s always better to look for pink juices to see if the chicken is undercooked, because if you think it’s not ready just because it’s tough to cut, you might end up overcooking it!

Is Chicken Cooked If It’s Slightly Pink?


If your chicken is only very slightly visibly pink, then it’s considered safe to eat.

However, if you’re a new chef, we highly recommend that you do not consume chicken that is pink or has tiny traces of blood in it. You should let it cook for a little longer.

But when you cook such a piece of chicken, you should strictly observe time because it’s almost ready at that point and will take just a minute to be overcooked.

Wrapping it Up

There’s no denying that using thermometers is the best way to make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly. You can never go wrong if the temperature is being monitored so closely.

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Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.