Temperature for Chicken (Cooked Chicken 101)

How to Properly Cook Chicken – From the right temperature to tips for how long to cook, here is everything you need to know for cooking perfect chicken breast, thighs, and more!

Roast chicken in a dish with potatoes.

It is no surprise to learn that chicken is the #1 most popular type of poultry sold in the US – and, indeed, the world!

Tender, juicy, mouthwatering chicken is a staple protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. Both white and dark meat sections are delicious, versatile, and quite healthy when you compare them to other proteins like red meat. What’s not to love?

To really enjoy this delectable meat you absolutely need to ensure it is thoroughly cooked before eating. (No one wants to bite into a piece of raw chicken!) There are reasons to cook chicken at different times and temps, such as extra-large or small pieces, special rubs or crusts, etc… But here we share the standard cooking temperatures and recommended times for how long to cook boneless and bone-in chicken at 350 degrees, 400 degrees, etc. – plus our top tips! – that should ensure the meat is cooked properly every time.

Top down view fried chicken pieces on a white plate, other types of cooked poultry in the background.

What Is The Safe Internal Temperature For Chicken?

Let’s first get this super important information out of the way…. The internal temperature of properly cooked chicken is 165 degrees F.

Use a meat thermometer to be sure this temperature is reached after cooking but before the meat remains. I highly suggest a digital meat thermometer for the most accurate reading.

Make sure to sink the meat thermometer deep into the center of the chicken pieces for an accurate reading.

Testing the internal temperature of grilled chicken with a meat thermometer.

Top Chicken Cooking Tips

  • Brining the meat is a great way to add internal flavor and juiciness, if you have time.
  • Always pat the chicken pieces dry before seasoning or breading.
  • We recommend you never boil chicken. All stovetop methods mentioned in this guide are for sautéing or pan-frying chicken.
  • If deep frying, our cooking times assume the chicken is breaded.
  • Make sure two oil the pan or use parchment paper or foil when baking/roasting chicken.
  • For slow cooker and instant pot methods, always add some water or broth to the bottom of the pot. Usually 2 cups for slow cookers, and 1 cup for instant pots.
  • Make sure to add pieces of chicken to an air fryer in a single layer. Never stack the pieces.
  • Again: Always check the internal temperature for doneness.

Keep reading our handy guidelines for how to cook perfect boneless and bone-in chicken breast pieces, thighs, wings, and more!

Fried chicken pieces on a white plate.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

  • On the Stove top – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 5-6 minutes per side, 10-12 minutes total.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for about 12 minutes.
  • In the Above – 400°F for 15-20 minutes. (20-25 minutes for extra large breasts.)
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 5-6 minutes per side, 10-12 minutes total.
  • In the Slow Cooker – Low heat for about 3 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 8-10 minutes, then Natural Release (10-12 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 370°F for 5-6 minutes per side, 10-12 minutes total.
Two grilled chicken breast pieces on a cutting board, still whole.

For quick reference, here are more specific cooking temps and times for average-size pieces:

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast at 350? 20-25 minutes

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast at 375? 17-22 minutes

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast at 400? 15-20 minutes

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast at 425? 13-18 minutes

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast at 450? 12-15 minutes

Here are some fabulous Boneless Chicken Breast recipes for you to try:

Breaded buffalo baked chicken breast.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

  • On the Stove top – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 3-4 minutes per side, 6-8 minutes total.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for about 15 minutes.
  • In the Above – 400°F for 20-22 minutes.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 4-5 minutes per side, 8-10 minutes total.
  • In the Slow Cooker – Low heat for about 3 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 10 minutes, then Natural Release (12 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 380°F for 5-6 minutes per side, 10-12 minutes total.

Here are some fabulous Boneless Chicken Thighs recipes for you to try:

Top down view skillet parmesan chicken with rice and lemon.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Bone-In Chicken Breasts

  • On the Stove top – Not the best cooking method.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for 15 minutes.
  • In the Above – 425°F for 40-45 minutes.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 15 minutes per side, 30 minutes total.
  • In the Slow Cooker – High heat for about 3-4 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 10 minutes, then Natural Release (20 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 380°F for 23-25 ​​minutes, skin side up.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Bone-In Chicken Quarters

  • On the Stove top – Not the best cooking method.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for 15-18 minutes.
  • In the Above – 425°F for 40-45 minutes.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 15-18 minutes per side, 30-36 minutes total.
  • In the Slow Cooker – High heat for about 3-4 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 12 minutes, then Natural Release (20 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 380°F for 25-27 minutes, skin side up.

Here are some fabulous Bone-In Chicken recipes for you to try:

Two pieces of bone-in chicken quarters cooked, on a white plate.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Bone-In Chicken Thighs and Legs

  • On the Stove top – Not the best cooking method.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for 15 minutes.
  • In the Above – 425°F for 40-45 minutes.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 15 minutes per side, 30 minutes total.
  • In the Slow Cooker – High heat for about 3-4 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 10 minutes, then Natural Release (20 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 380°F for 23-25 ​​minutes, skin side up.

Here are some more fabulous Bone-In Chicken Thighs recipes for you to try:

Spoon scooping coq au vin from a large pot.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Whole Chicken

  • On the Stove top – Not the best cooking method.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
  • In the Above – 450°F for 45 minutes, then 350°F for 75 minutes, 2 hours total.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 75-90 minutes, rotating sides.
  • In the Slow Cooker – High heat for about 4 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 28 minutes, then Natural Release
  • In the Air Fryer – 360°F for 30 minutes per side, 60 minutes total.

Here are some fabulous Whole Chicken recipes for you to try:

Top down view whole chicken cooked in the oven, with baby potatoes.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders

  • On the Stove top – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 3-4 minutes per side, 6-8 minutes total.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for about 8-10 minutes.
  • In the Above – 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 3-4 minutes per side, 6-8 minutes total.
  • In the Slow Cooker – Low heat for about 3 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 8 minutes, then Natural Release (10 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 380°F for 4-5 minutes per side, 8-10 minutes total.

Here are some fabulous Boneless Chicken Tenders recipes for you to try:

Hand dipping chicken pretzel tender into small dish of honey mustard.

Go-To Cooking Time and Temperature for Bone-In Chicken Wings

  • On the Stove top – Medium heat, 10 minutes per side, 20 minutes total.
  • In the Deep Fryer – 350°F for 10-12 minutes.
  • In the Above – 450°F for 45 minutes, flipping after 25 minutes.
  • On the Grill – Medium heat (350-400°F) for 20-30 minutes, turning every 5-8 minutes.
  • In the Slow Cooker – High heat for about 2 ½ – 3 hours.
  • In the Instant Pot – Pressure Cook High for 10 minutes, then Natural Release (15 minutes from frozen)
  • In the Air Fryer – 360°F for 12 minutes per side, 24 minutes total.

Here are some fabulous Bone-In Chicken Wings recipes for you to try:

Plate of baked buffalo chicken wings on a plate, surrounded by pieces of carrots, celery and a ramekin of dressing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chicken safe at 145 degrees?

To put it simply, no. The internal temperature for chicken needs to be 165°F to ensure it’s properly cooked.

Is slightly pink chicken ok?

The meat color does not necessarily match with doneness, so if the pieces have all reached 165 degrees F it should be safe to eat. Even properly cooked poultry can tend to have a slight pink color, especially around the bone and in dark meat pieces.

Is it better to bake chicken at 350 or 400?

With our guide here you will have no problem cooking perfectly tender chicken at either temperature. The real difference is the amount of time the poultry will require at the different temps. Pieces cooked at 400°F cook more quickly, but you also run the risk of drying out the meat if not done properly.

Follow our tips above for how long to cook chicken at 350°F and how long to cook chicken at 400°F to see the specific time differences for each cut of meat.

What is the best way to store cooked chicken?

Let the chicken cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Cooked chicken will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.

It also freezes very well! Store in the freezer for up to 3 months, and thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Top down view two pieces of fried chicken cooked to the right internal temperature, on a plate surrounded by other cooked chicken dishes.

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