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How to Tell If Fried Chicken Is Done

  • 17 min read

Fried chicken is such a simple meal and tastes so good that you can often overlook the fact that you might be eating raw chicken. This page on how to tell if fried chicken is done is an essential guide for perfectly cooked chicken, whether you’re cooking wings, breasts, or thighs.

The best way to tell if your fried chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. When the breast meat measures 165 F degrees, it’s done cooking. However, If your chicken is golden brown but still pink inside, it’s not entirely done. The chicken is overdone if it shows no sign of browning and the pink juices.

Additionally, the best-fried chicken is golden brown and crisp on the outside and juicy and tender inside. The chicken is finished cooking when it’s cooked all the way through with no trace of pink or blood in the juices. 

Remember that the fried chicken should never be served hot right out of the frying pan despite the color. It needs to rest so the meat can soak up the juices and flavor. To make the most tender and juicy fried chicken, don’t cut it into a piece until you’re ready to serve it.

How to Tell If Fried Chicken Is Done

How to Tell If Fried Chicken Is Done There are many ways to know if fried chicken is done. The way it looks, its temperature, and the number of juices produced are a few obvious ways to tell. However, there are some more subtle methods to tell if fried chicken is done that use other means of checking the food, such as looking at the juices on the cutting board.

1. Check the Color Of the Chicken

The meat will take on a slightly golden color and feel firm to the touch. In general, if you are cooking a whole chicken, you can add 15 minutes to the total time for each additional pound of chicken. Smaller pieces of chicken will cook much faster than larger pieces.

However, the color of the meat, not the batter, is what matters when determining whether the chicken is done.

2. Use a Food Thermometer

There is a significant difference between crispy fried chicken and crunchy fried chicken. Crispy fried chicken is done when the temperature reaches 165 degrees in the deepest part of the meat. 

To get mouthwatering results every time, use a food thermometer to check if your chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you take it out of the fryer. Don’t forget to remove your chicken at least 3 inches away from heat to prevent burning.

An instant-read digital thermometer is another tool you can use, or you can use a quick-read thermometer built into a dial timer. At the same time, your food is cooking, set your food thermometer to 165°F (74°C). When the internal temperature of the chicken thighs reaches 165 degrees F, remove them from the heat and let them rest for five minutes.

Moreso, The best place for the food thermometer is in a hole made in the thickest part of the chicken. It will ensure you’re getting an accurate reading on the temperature. The USDA recommends using an instant-read food thermometer such as a dial thermometer or digital probe thermometer.

However, be careful not to touch the bone because the meat will still be underdone there.

 3. Cooking Time

A pound of chicken takes 30 minutes to fry. However, this is not very helpful if you are cooking for a crowd and require large amounts of food to be cooked at different times. Apply the 5-minute rule for fried chicken to ensure that the chicken is both perfectly golden brown and crisp.

4. Check the Juices

If the juices are clear and runny, that means the chicken is done. The juices should never be pink or red. The juices that should come out from the piece of fried chicken should be brown.

Another way to know whether your chicken is done is to carefully pierce the skin near the inner thigh with a knife or fork. If you see a clear juice, it is done. However, your chicken is not done yet if some pink liquid runs out. 

You can also press on the meatiest part of the chicken. If it feels firm and springs back after being pressed, you are good to go, but if it barely springs back and no longer has any resistance, then your chicken is overdone.

5. Chicken Floats

A great way to tell if the chicken is done is to check if it floats. Cook it a little longer if it doesn’t.”

All you have to do is dip the meat into a bowl of cold water and wait until it floats. If the meat floats on top of the water, then your chicken is cooked through!

However, another way to tell if your fried chicken is done is to check the weight; home-cooked chicken should always be at least 165°F and weigh between 1/2 and 3/4 pounds. 

6. Using a Skewer

Insert a skewer through the thickest part to tell if the chicken is done. If it goes in without resistance and then comes out coated with juices that run clear, you know your chicken is cooked.

Insert a thin metal skewer into the thickest part of the chicken. If the juices run clear or you’re able to pull the meat easily off the bone, it’s done.

7. The Chicken Skin

To use this method, take the chicken out of the pot, then place it on a plate (skin side up) when it’s cool enough. The skin will start to sink from its original position, making it easy to determine if your fried chicken is done or not.

Common Mistake to Avoid When Frying Chicken

Common Mistake to Avoid When Frying Chicken Frying chicken can seem like a tricky thing. Some common mistakes to avoid and some hacks to save you from disaster. Here are what to look out for:

1. Don’t under-season

Seasoning the chicken will give it an additional layer of flavor.

2. Use fresh oil

Anything less than fresh oil can easily splatter and burn you as it fries. 

3. Skipping Breading

Kindly don’t skip the breading; it’s the secret to making fried chicken crispy. It is one of the most common mistakes when frying chicken. Chicken that’s not breaded will end up tasting bland and dry, and there will be no crispy crust to speak of on the underside. 

Breading seals in all the juices and flavors, making sure that your chicken stays moist and flavorful all the way through.

Moreso, adding breading will keep your chicken moist with a crunchy crust and prevent it from drying out.

However, like many things, it tastes better if you take the extra time to coat it in batter and deep fry it in hot oil. It is well worth the extra effort because the breading creates a savory outer layer that contrasts perfectly with the juicy tenderness inside.  

4. Don’t use too high of heat

Too high heat can cause the coating to be brown too quickly and leave your skin undercooked. The oil temperature must be hot enough to “fry” the chicken, but not so hot that it will burn or brown it. 

The most straightforward way to determine if your oil is at the right temperature is to drop a piece of food in. If it sinks, and there is no bubbling or spitting on contact, you’re good.

5. Bringing the chicken to room temperature

A half-hour or so before preparing the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator and let it stand on the counter. It will allow the meat to come up to room temperature, which will cook more evenly. 

Also, be sure that you have plenty of paper towels on hand. When transporting the raw chicken from the kitchen to the table, always drape a clean kitchen towel over your arm and hold it with one hand. 

Now, use your other hand to grasp the chicken by its bottom (the tail). It will prevent any juices from dripping onto your arm.

6. Skipping the Brine

Brining is a technique you must never skimp on. Brining helps keep your chicken juicy and tender by adding moisture to the meat, hindering the protein-coagulating action that makes the fried chicken crispy and flavorful. 

To fully brine your chicken, place it in a large pot or bucket filled with a salt-and-sugar solution. Leave it and let it marinate for at least two hours, longer if you have time. After you fry your chicken, be sure to let it rest on a cooling rack, this will allow excess oil to drip back into the pan. Then enjoy your spicy, crunchy pieces of juicy fried chicken.

7. Using a Low Smoke point oil

When oil with a low smoke point is used, it can taste unpleasant, even when the chicken is cooked to perfection. Don’t make that mistake! Using oil with a high smoke point will ensure that your fried chicken tastes its best.

Additionally, using a vegetable or olive oil will produce a fried chicken that is soggy and greasy. It is best to use peanut, canola, grape seed, or sunflower oil with a higher smoke point.

8. Don’t Put the chicken into the hot oil before it is cured.

What Temperature to Fry Chicken?

What Temperature to Fry Chicken The recommended temperature of the oil that you should use to fry chicken is 375°F to 400°F. To determine if the temperature is just right, dip a food thermometer into the oil to check the temperature. 

However, the next time you’re ready to fry chicken, remember these three tips:

1. Cook at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Use peanut oil

3. Allow chicken to rest after cooking. 

For best results, cook frozen deep-fried chicken within 24 hours of capture.

How to Deep Fry Chicken

There are several ways to deep fry chicken. The most basic method is to use a pot of canola oil and a deep fryer, but other methods don’t involve as much work. You can cook your chicken in the oven or on the stovetop with minimal clean-up. There are even ways to deep fry chicken without cooking oil that make for healthier eating.

Steps to deep fry chicken 

1. Wet the whole chicken with saltwater and set it aside in the refrigerator for a few hours. 

2. Take the brined chicken out of the fridge and set it on a wire rack to dry for about 30 minutes 

3. Heat oil to about 350 – 400 F and fry the chicken for 12 – 15 minutes, turning every few minutes. The meat will turn from pale white to golden brown/white. 

4. Remove cooked chicken from oil, drain off oil and let cool enough to handle 

5. Serve with your favorite sides and cornbread, garlic bread, or biscuits

Deep-Fried Chicken Frying Time

Deep-Fried Chicken Frying Time You can deep fry chicken for up to 20 minutes. But if you’re frying dark meat, you should start checking for doneness after around 15 minutes. And when frying thin cutlets or boneless chicken breasts, you should check for doneness after 12 minutes.

However, for the perfect fried chicken, you need a full three inches of oil and an oil temp of 325°F.

Additionally, whole chickens may brown and appear to be done at 375 degrees F. the internal temperature must reach 180 degrees F. Some recipes recommend frying at 300 degrees F, but this will not produce sufficient crispness in the coating.

Fried Chicken Frying Time

You can fry chicken anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes; it just depends on how you like the chicken and how thick your chicken cut is.

Although, most chicken recipes recommend about 20 minutes to fry chicken for each pound. While some recipes would have you frying chicken for only one hour, I’ve found that it is more prudent to fry them longer to achieve a smooth texture and a golden color.

It is important to remember that frying chicken takes time and patience, as it doesn’t fry well just straight out of the fridge. It needs to be at room temperature. 

The general rule is once the chicken has reached room temperature, you want to fry it for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down and continue cooking until done.

How to Tell If Fried Chicken Is Done Without a Thermometer

How to Tell If Fried Chicken Is Done Without a Thermometer A thermometer is the easiest way to tell if the chicken is cooked through, but without one, there’s an easy way to see if your bird is done. 

Step 1: Use a knife to poke the thickest part of the chicken. 

Step 2: The juices should run clear. If you are unable to tell whether or not the chicken is done, check its internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Chicken usually is safe when the internal temperature reaches 165 F (74 C).

Moreso, A thin-bladed knife will also work after it is inserted into the center of the breasts, thighs, or drumsticks. The temperature should reach 180° F. 

Does Fried Chicken Float When Done?

A piece of fried chicken will float in hot oil when done. Cooking it slowly and steadily at 350 degrees can ensure that the meat is fully cooked through. 

If your chicken doesn’t float, it may not entirely be done, or it was overcooked. Fried chicken floats, but you have to be careful, though, as there are a lot of variables at play here like cooking temp, batter type, fat content, marinade or not, etc.

Fried chicken floats because frying causes the fat in the chicken to melt out of the skin, leaving just the protein and water trapped in between. 

However, it should be re-fried if it doesn’t float until it can float. It is not an exact science and may vary with different cooking methods and where the chicken was purchased.

How to Fix Soggy Fried Chicken

How to Fix Soggy Fried Chicken Fixing soggy fried chicken is pretty straightforward: Drain off the grease, toss the chicken in flour and fry it again until it’s done. As a general rule, anything cooked in hot fat will absorb some fat, so draining and frying again helps prevent “greasy” food.

Here is a step by step guide:

1. If you’re using the oven to fry, increase the temperature and shorten the cooking time. 

2. For outdoor frying in hot weather, preheat the oil using the double-fry method, then let it sit for a while before adding in your chicken, which will allow it to get crisp on the outside without having to cook it all day. 

3. Another option is to “poach” your chicken or bake it in a low oven before adding it to the fryer – this works well. 

4. Don’t let your oil get too hot before your chicken gets added, and scoop out any grease that floats on top into a container, so it doesn’t clog the fryer. Be sure to use enough oil so that your chicken goes completely under when you drop it in – do not use deep fryers for this step if you don’t have enough room for it to go completely under. 

How to Tell If Fried Chicken Is Undercooked

Fried chicken is easily recognized by the color of the chicken. The crust becomes golden and crispy when it is fried to perfection, but if the inside of the chicken is still raw and pink, it means that the chicken was undercooked.

But the easiest way is to use an instant-read meat thermometer. Stick it into the innermost part of the chicken breast, making sure not to touch the bone. If the temperature is between 165° and 170°F, your fried chicken is done.

If you dont have a thermometer, you can use another tricky test. Gently press down on the chicken breast with your finger. If it bounces back quickly and springs up, it is well done.

Additionally, To be sure, cut into the thickest part of a breast. The juice should run clear rather than pink.

How Long to Deep Fry Chicken Thighs

The best method to deep fry chicken thighs is to use a temperature of 360 degrees Fahrenheit and a frying time between eleven and twelve minutes. The moderate temperature of 360 degrees is the easiest manner to cook chicken and not burn it. Be sure to cover it with a lid while cooking and check on it regularly to ensure there is enough oil.

Deep fry your chicken thigh in hot oil until they are completely cooked through and crispy on the outside. It can take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes.

Fried Chicken Temperature Done

At 350°F, chicken is DONE, which means not just warm or hot but cooked through. By this time, the chicken will be cooked through, with a nicely browned surface that is sufficiently crisp and crunchy to satisfy.

Although most recipes call for frying chicken between 350 and 390 degrees, food cooked at higher temperatures tends to turn brown too quickly. In contrast, overly low temperatures don’t fully cook the chicken and allow pathogens to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long to deep fry chicken thighs?

Fry chicken thighs in deep fat until golden brown on both sides and cook for about 10 minutes. You will need one inch of oil in your pot to fry the chicken thighs at 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, The cooking time is somewhat dependent on the size of the pieces, but a good rule of thumb is 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces per quart of cooking oil. 

How to know when fried chicken wings are done?

If wings are ready, they should slightly resist pressure from your fingers. They are not done yet if you have to apply a lot of pressure on them (think toothpick-in-doughnut). If the wing is soft and has no resistance, they are overcooked. So make sure that there is some resistance when you touch it.

Conclusion

The crispness of the batter is directly proportionate to the inside of the chicken. On how to tell if fried chicken is done, if it’s not cooked all the way through, your fried chicken will be noticeably soggy and lack that distinctive crunch that you know and love. As a tip, aim for crispy, golden brown chicken with a juicy and flavorful center.