The Correct Temperature To Use For Cooking Chicken Thighs

We all know that you shouldn’t mess with chicken when it comes to the cooking process. If you don’t cook your chicken properly, you run the risk of leaving several unwanted foodborne bacteria inside.

The Correct Temperature To Use For Cooking Chicken Thighs

So it’s understandable that people would run the risk of overcooking their chicken to make sure that they avoid this.

But when you overcook your chicken thighs, they can lose their tasty juiciness, and you will instead be left with a dry, chewy mess.

There’s a very different art to cooking chicken thighs than there is with chicken breast.

If you use the right methods, you can have those juicy chicken thighs that you’re after without having to sacrifice the beautifully crispy skin.

This is where the internal temperature of your chicken thighs will come in handy.

As long as you use a good quality digital meat thermometer to help you, you can accurately see when your chicken thighs have finished cooking.

Whereas chicken breasts are quite lean meat, chicken thighs are naturally higher in fat.

They also have a high collagen content, and when combined with that higher fat content, it can make it difficult to tell from a glance when they have finished cooking.

However, this doesn’t mean that chicken thighs are necessarily harder to cook than chicken breasts.

You will need to ensure that your chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165℉.

This is the absolute minimum you will need to get your chicken thighs to reach to ensure that they are cooked properly without becoming overcooked.

You can cook them to a higher temperature of 185℉ with them still being lovely and juicy, but anything higher than this, and you will run the risk of having dry, chewy chicken.

Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about cooking your chicken thighs to the correct internal temperature.

We’ll cover why it’s important to reach a certain internal temperature, as well as several methods for cooking your beloved chicken thighs.

We’ll show you how to get perfectly cooked chicken thighs every time!

The only piece of equipment you will need for each and every recipe is of course a high quality digital meat thermometer.

So let’s take a look at everything you need to know about cooking chicken thighs!

What Is The Optimal Internal Temperature For Cooking Chicken Thighs?

The optimal internal temperature for chicken thighs is of course 165℉.

You will need to ensure that your chicken thighs reach this temperature for a few minutes to ensure that any potential foodborne bacteria and diseases can be efficiently killed off in the heat.

You can also opt to go for a higher internal temperature than this, such as 185℉, and still have your chicken thighs stay moist and juicy.

Anything more than this and you will run the risk of the chicken becoming overcooked.

So how can you opt for a higher temperature with chicken thighs but not with chicken breasts?

This all comes down to the collagen content in chicken thighs that is missing in chicken breasts.

Collagen is the protein that is typically found in skin, muscles, cartilage, and other parts of the body.

Chicken thighs naturally have a higher content of this collagen protein, which means that they need a certain temperature over a certain time frame so that they can cook properly.

Chicken thighs will need slightly longer to cook properly. It will be best to start with a lower temperature and then gradually raise this to at least 165℉.

We would recommend starting at the 105℉ mark, which will then cause the muscle fibers to let out that delicious moisture.

Turn this up to 140℉, which will then start to cause the collagen to break down. During this process, the collagen gets converted into gelatin.

This gelatin will then keep the chicken thighs moist and account for some of that precious moisture that was lost at the start of the cooking process.

This gelatin effectively bastes the meat so that it stays lovely and juicy, and it can continue up to around 185℉ to 190℉.

If you were to try to cook your chicken thighs at a higher temperature than this, you will be left with the chewy mess that we are trying to avoid.

So you will of course need to cook your chicken thighs for slightly longer than you would cook your chicken breasts.

But this won’t be for much longer – for example, a bone in chicken thigh that weighs around 8 ounces will need to be cooked for an extra 3 minutes when cooked between 165℉ to 185℉.

Now that we know it’s safe to cook your chicken thighs at a temperature between 165℉ to 185℉, you will of course be wondering how to best cook your chicken for certain results.

How should you approach cooking your chicken thighs if you want them to be crispy? How should you approach cooking them if you want them to be juicy?

We’re going to show you several cooking methods so that you can get perfectly cooked chicken thighs every time.

How To Get Crispy And Juicy Chicken Thighs

The Correct Temperature To Use For Cooking Chicken Thighs

You can’t beat perfectly crispy chicken thighs! But how can you achieve that delicious crispy skin?

The best method is to start cooking your chicken thighs on the stove top and then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking.

It will be best to start off with a cold pan and then use a medium to high heat.

You will then place your chicken thighs skin down, and after you’ve crisped them up a bit, you will then need to transfer them into your oven.

By following this method, you give your chicken thighs the best chance possible to cook up that fat so that it becomes lovely and crisp.

But in order to avoid any unwanted foodborne bacteria, you will need to finish cooking your chicken thighs in the oven so that they can reach that crucial internal temperature of at least 165℉.

It will be best to preheat your oven beforehand so that the chicken thighs can continue cooking.

It should take around 25 to 26 minutes for your chicken thighs to finish cooking using this method.

It will take around 10 minutes for the skin to crisp up in the pan, and then a further 15 to 16 mins to finish cooking for your chicken thighs in the oven.

For the best results, you will want your chicken thighs to reach around 180℉ to 185℉ inside to ensure that they are able to cook properly.

The beauty of this recipe is that not only will you get the beautifully crisp skin that you’re after, you will also have chicken thighs that are deliciously juicy!

Let’s take a look at the full recipe in more detail so that you can get the perfect chicken thighs every time.

The Best Recipe For Crispy And Juicy Chicken Thighs

In terms of equipment, you will need a skillet that is also safe for use in the oven. So you should avoid any skillets that have plastic on the handle.

Make sure to be careful when you remove the skillet from the oven afterwards, as it will be incredibly hot.

If you want to use a cast iron skillet, make sure that you check the temperature of the chicken so that it doesn’t burn on the outside.

It will also be worth ensuring that the skillet you select is non-stick. If you opt for a 12-inch skillet, this will give you plenty of room for between 5 and 6 bone in chicken thighs.

Make sure you also have a high quality digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken thighs.

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 6 to 8 ounce chicken thighs (5 to 6)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if not using a cast iron skillet)
  • Spice rub (optional)

Method

  1. First, you will need to preheat your oven to 450℉. Next, start by crisping up the skin of your chicken thighs in your skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you will need to use a little olive oil to help this get crispy
  2. Before you place your chicken thighs on the stove top, you will need to season them with salt and pepper. This is also when you would add a spice rub to your chicken thighs if you wished to. Make sure to keep this spice rub off the skin of the chicken thighs, only using salt and pepper on this.
  3. Allow your chicken thighs to cook for 10 mins skin side down in the skillet over a medium to medium/high heat. You may need to adjust the heat if the fat starts to spit too much.
  4. After 7/8 minutes, use a spatula to gently lift the chicken thighs to see how crispy the skin is. Allow to cook for a further 3 to 2 minutes until the skin is lovely and crispy.
  5. Next, you will need to place your chicken thighs into the oven for further cooking. If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, you will need to use a baking sheet that has been covered in parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place your skillet on the middle rack of your oven.
  6. After 15 to 16 minutes, use your digital meat thermometer to check whether your chicken thighs have reached that crucial internal temperature of 180℉ to 185℉. They will need to be at least 165℉ to be safe to eat.

How To Roast Your Chicken Thighs In The Oven

Don’t have time to start your chicken thighs off on the stove top? Then this oven roasting method will be the best alternative for you.

It will work best if you preheat your baking sheet before you get started. Make sure to be careful of any spitting fat while you place your chicken thighs on this.

By using this oven method, you will have tasty cooked chicken thighs in as little as 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 6 to 8 ounce chicken thighs (5 to 6)
  • Spice rub (optional)

Method

  1. First, you will need to preheat your oven to 450℉. You can preheat your baking sheet at the same time by placing this on the middle rack of your oven.
  2. Use a sharp skewer or knife to serrate the fat on the chicken thighs. Use your salt and pepper to season the skin. If you are using a spice rub, make sure to avoid placing this on the fatty skin, and instead place it on the meat.
  3. Using an oven mitt, remove your preheated baking sheet from the oven. Arrange your prepared chicken thighs along this baking sheet with their skin side facing downwards. Place the chicken thighs in the oven for cooking.
  4. Cook your chicken thighs for around 20 to 25 minutes or until they have reached an internal temperature of between 165℉ to 185℉.
  5. If you find that your chicken thighs need a little extra cooking, you can use the broiler function on your oven. Move the chicken thighs to the top rack of the oven so that they can reach the temperatures that they need to in order to cook properly. You shouldn’t need to broil your chicken thighs for longer than 5 minutes. Using the broiler can be an excellent way to crisp up that skin.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for around 5 minutes.

How To Grill Your Chicken Thighs On The Barbecue

The Correct Temperature To Use For Cooking Chicken Thighs

It’s all well and good knowing how to prepare your chicken thighs for cooking on the stove top or in the oven, but what about when you want to cook them on the grill?

There’s no need to worry – we’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a look at the best recipe for cooking your chicken thighs on your grill!

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 6 to 8 ounce chicken thighs (5 to 6)
  • Spice rub (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  1. Prepare your grill for cooking. Before you start cooking, you will need to ensure that your cooking grates have been properly cleaned and are well oiled so that the chicken thighs won’t stick to them. With propane grills, you will need to switch all the burners on to the highest heat for 10 minutes. Switch off all the burners bar 1 of them after this time. For charcoal grills, you will need to light your chimney filled with briquettes as normal.
  2. While you wait for the briquettes to catch light or for the propane burners to heat up, you can prepare your chicken thighs. Use the olive oil to rub over the chicken thighs, then season the skin with salt and pepper. You can also use this time to season the chicken with your chosen spice rub if you are using one of these.
  3. Once your briquettes have turned white, you can then place them onto one side of your grill to cause a 2 cooking zone fire. Make sure to cover your grill to lock in that heat.
  4. Leave your grill to get up to heat for between 5 and 10 minutes.
  5. Next, you can start to place your chicken thighs on the grill ready for cooking. Make sure to place them skin side down on the cooler side of your grill. You will then need to cover the grill and leave your chicken thighs to cook for between 30 and 35 minutes.
  6. Make sure to check the internal temperature of your chicken thighs once this time has elapsed. Once it starts to measure between 165℉ to 185℉, you can then move your chicken thighs over to the hotter section of the grill to crisp up the skin. This shouldn’t take longer than 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Allow your cooked chicken thighs to rest for around 5 to 10 minutes before you then serve them with your favorite salad or coleslaw.

In Summary

So there you have it! You now know everything there is to know about cooking chicken thighs.

The optimal internal temperature for chicken thighs when cooking is 165℉, but you can also cook it to the hotter temperature of around 185℉ if you would prefer this.

However, the absolute minimum internal temperature that your chicken thighs will need to reach is 165℉.

You will also need to ensure that you keep cooking your chicken thighs at this temperature for several minutes to kill off any unwanted foodborne bacteria.

There are many methods that you can use to get crispy and juicy chicken thighs.

The best one is to start your chicken thighs off on the stove top, and then to place your skillet in the oven to finish them off.

You can also cook your chicken thighs directly in the oven if you want to cook them in one go. Or if you prefer to cook your chicken thighs on the grill, you can do this using a similar method.

The most important thing to remember is to use your digital meat thermometer to ensure that your chicken reaches the correct internal temperature before you eat them.

You’ll get perfectly crispy chicken thighs every time by using this method!

Connor Smith