Internal Temperature of Chicken and Turkey

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At what temperature and how long should boneless chicken breasts cook in the oven? I have recipes that calls for 20 minutes and ones for up to 1 1/2 hours - Nell Levy (10/28/09)


I, too, have seen recipes that call for cooking the chicken over a hour. I just ignore their inaccurate times and use the following logic:

  • One and a half hours is much too long to cook the chicken at 350 degrees F.

  • The time your chicken will bake in the oven does depend on the internal temperature and the size of your chicken or chicken pieces. Generally I bake chicken at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 40 minutes.

  • To be sure that the chicken breasts are cooked thoroughly, use a instant digital Cooking or Meat Thermometer for the proper temperature of 165 degrees F.

  • If you brown your chicken before placing in the oven, this will also shorten your baking time, as you have already started the cooking process.

This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the left. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.

Check out my Internal Temperature Chart for Cooking Meats and Baked Goods.

Instant-Read Cooking Thermometers - Cooking thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking, as they measures the internal temperature of your cooked meat and poultry, or any casseroles, to assure that a safe temperature has been reached, harmful bacteria have been destroyed, and your food is cook perfectly.  A cooking or meat thermometer should not be a "sometime thing." Use it every time you prepare foods like poultry, roasts, hams, casseroles, meat loaves and egg dishes.

After desired cooking temperature is reached, remove meat from heat source and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

  • The amount of time required for resting varies with the size of the cut of your meat. During this resting time, the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 20 degrees after it is removed from the heat source) and the juices redistribute.

Poultry Internal Temperature Chart:
Fahrenheit and Celsius Cooking Temperatures


Internal Core Temperature

Internal Description


Remember that the chicken will continue to cook after it's removed from the heat and the internal temperature will rise about 5 to 10 degrees F. in the first few minutes it's off the heat.

Whole Chicken or Duck

Dark meat

Breast meat

160 to 165 degrees F.
71 to 74 degrees C.

160 to 165 degrees F.
71 to 74 degrees C.

160 to 165 degrees F.
71 to 74 degrees C.


Insert it in the inner thigh area near the breast of the bird, but not touching the bone. Cook until juices run clear


Whole Turkey


165 degrees F.
74 degrees C.

Juices run clear and leg moves easily.

A 12-pound turkey can easily handle 60 to 90 minutes of resting. During that time, temperature can rise 30 degrees if not exposed to drafts.


Ground Poultry
(Chicken and Turkey)

160 to 165 degrees F.
71 to 74 degrees C.


Turkey Stuffing
(cooked alone or in turkey)


165 degrees F.
74 degrees C.


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