You can absolutely recook undercooked chicken, but you must make sure that’s done almost immediately after you turn off the heat.
Why? Because allowing it to cool before recooking might have given your chicken the opportunity to become a breeding ground for bacteria that can be harmful.
But what can cause undercooked chicken and when it happens, what can you do to fix your undercooked chicken?
In this article, I will discuss all you need to know about undercooked chicken and how you can recook the right way. In addition, I will also answer other related questions about cooking chicken.
So let’s get to it.
What Can Cause Your Chicken to be Undercooked?
1. Not defrosting the chicken properly
If your chicken comes out dry and undercooked, it’s likely because you didn’t defrost the bird properly. Chicken should be defrosted in the refrigerator, but many people like to thaw it in their sink or on top of the refrigerator so they can see what’s going on with their food.
This is a bad idea because bacteria can be present in water and produce harmful chemicals when you cook it.
2. Not cooking at a high enough temperature
The internal temperature of the meat is measured by using a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the meat. If your chicken is not cooked at a high enough temperature, then it will be raw inside even after being cooked properly on the outside.
I recommend cooking your chicken until an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat and registers 165°F (74°C).
Undercooking chicken is one of the most common mistakes people make when cooking chicken. If you’re undercooking your chicken, it’s almost always because you’re impatient and don’t wait long enough for it to cook through.
When you’re in a hurry, you may do things like turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.
4. Wrong cooking utensils
Some people think that because they’re using a large skillet, they can use heavy-duty cookware instead of their usual baking sheet or roasting pan. This is a mistake — large skillets can’t handle high heat well enough, which will lead to burning or even melting your chicken on the outside before it’s cooked through on the inside.
5. Improper cooking methods
Some people cook their chicken with too much fat or oil and this can cause it to turn brown before being cooked through. A good way to avoid this is by draining off any excess oil before cooking your chicken with something like sous vide or pressure cooker methods.
6. Not covering the pan properly or leaving the lid off
One of the most common causes of undercooked chicken is not covering the pan properly or leaving the lid off. If you leave the lid off while your chicken cooks, water may evaporate and steam will build up in the pan. This makes it difficult for your chicken to brown properly as it cooks.
7. Cooking frozen chicken pieces
Cooking frozen chicken pieces is also an easy way to get undercooked chicken. Frozen pieces release more water than thawed ones and thus take longer to cook through completely.
Even if you want to cook frozen chicken at all, you should make sure your oven temperature is accurate.
8. Under-thawed chicken
Under-thawed chicken can cause your chicken to be undercooked. This is especially true if you are using a pressure cooker, as they tend to cook at higher temperatures than regular ranges.
In case you do not have the time, you can thaw your chicken in an oven with low heat for about an hour or until no longer frozen but is still slightly firm.
How Do You Recook Undercooked Chicken?
1. Recook using high heat
The first is to use high heat, which will bring the temperature back down to an appropriate level. This method is usually the faster way of recooking the chicken, but it’s not always a good idea to use high heat on all types of meat.
The amount of time needed for cooking underdone chicken depends on how hot your stovetop is, so adjust accordingly. Most people report that their stovetops are about 350 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for perfectly cooked chicken.
Use this as a guide for your own baking needs; if you have an oven set much hotter than this, then use it as-is.
2. Fry it
The best way to cook undercooked chicken is to fry it. Frying a piece of chicken in a pan with some oil until it is browned and cooked through gives you the most consistent results. It keeps the moisture in, so it doesn’t dry out as much and doesn’t need to be reheated as often. It also gives the outside a crusty texture, which makes it easier to eat.
You only need to add some oil and salt, and you can put some pepper too. Then fry on medium-high heat until the meat is heated through. The outside of the meat will be crispy and golden brown.
3. Recook in the oven
This is a much slower method but more reliable: cooking it in the oven. This method uses lower temperatures and can be done without changing the temperature setting on your oven or stovetop.
Simply place it on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil for about 10 minutes per side or until done to your liking (it should be fully cooked through).
Is it safe to recook undercooked meat the next day?
It is not safe to recook undercooked meat or poultry the next day. Make sure you cook it to completion immediately. If you leave an undercooked chicken till the next day, it may take in some harmful bacteria.
Can you recook undercooked pork?
Any meat that’s undercooked can always be recooked. However, you must ensure you do that without allowing the meat to cool
Can you cook undercooked chicken in the microwave?
The microwave is designed to reheat and not cook. Using a microwave to recook your undone chicken will only make it heat unevenly, still leaving some parts undercooked.
How long can partially cooked chicken sit out
Partially cooked chicken shouldn’t be left to sit out longer than 2 hours. The reason is that, when you leave an undercooked chicken for a longer time, bacteria grow rapidly on it.
How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge?
According to the USDA, your cooked chicken should not spend more than 3 to 4 days in the fridge. If you want to preserve longer than that for any reason, it’s better to store your cooked chicken in the freezer whenever possible.
Conclusion: It is Safe to Recook Undercooked Chicken
Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that chicken should be cooked to at least 165°, some claim it’s safe to eat at 145°. But I believe since every temperature in between is possible, there’s no harm in trying to judge for yourself how done your poultry is.
If you have ever undercooked chicken may be because you have not had the time to wait for it to be done, you may have heard that refrigerating it and re-cooking it the next day will allow you to eat it.
However, this is not true, as dangerous bacteria can grow in the chicken while it is in the refrigerator. The best thing is to recook it.
When you want to recook your chicken, consider using a food thermometer instead of your eyes or nose. A thermometer will tell you how hot your food is without burning yourself by taking a peek at it.
This way, you won’t have to throw away perfectly good food because you got carried away with curiosity and checked the temperature before turning down the heat.
I hope you found this article helpful. You should also read about yummy foods to make with rotisserie chicken leftovers. Also, there are helpful articles on food preservation and how to avoid spoilage you may want to check out as well.
Thank you for reading.