Using a thermometer is a lifesaver in the kitchen. It helps you identify when food is undercooked. But, what happens if you don’t have a thermometer and you have been cooking the food according to the recipe believing it’s fully cooked? And, for the most part, you haven’t had any problems.
But, what happens when you take the chicken out of the oven, only to realize it’s still undercooked? Can you recook undercooked chicken?
You can recook undercooked chicken, provided that you do so immediately. If there has been any kind of time lapse between cooking and potentially recooking the chicken, the chicken should rather be discarded as you cannot salvage it. However, if you are able to recook the chicken within the time frame, there are certain tips and techniques that you should use to cut down on cooking time.
Can you recook undercooked chicken?
Undercooked meat is without a doubt more dangerous than cooked meat. Especially when it comes to chicken. According to the Center for Disease and Food Poisening (CDC) undercooked chicken contains Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens bacteria.
If you don’t already have one, invest in a good quality thermometer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), advises that chicken should ideally be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure that all bacteria are destroyed and the food is safe to consume.
There is an important piece of information to keep in mind when you consider recooking your undercooked chicken. Firstly, you cannot sear chicken and store it to cook it later. It’s very dangerous and could potentially cause food poisoning. So take that off the agenda.
How to safely recook chicken
However, if you make the discovery immediately after taking the chicken out of the oven, you can simply put the chicken back into the oven and continue to cook it until it is done.
If you’ve taken the chicken out of the oven and notice shortly after that the chicken is undercooked, you may need to follow a different approach. You run the risk of drying out the chicken pieces if you just put them back in the oven. Depending on how undercooked the chicken is, you may want to first cut it into smaller pieces to cut down on cooking time.
Take your chicken and prep it again for cooking. Grease a pan with oil and place the chicken inside or place the chicken in a dutch oven. Then, lightly cover the chicken with water, broth, or sauce and cook it in the oven or on the stove top, at 400°F (204°C) until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (73°C). Remember to cover the chicken with foil to lock in moisture while it is cooking in the oven. This will prevent the chicken from drying out. The aliminium foil helps to steam the chicken inside the pan.
The most important part to keep in mind is that you should never repurpose undercooked meat, especially chicken, if you don’t intend to recook it immediately. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is very clear on this fact as it is very dangerous and could potentially cause food poisening. Food borne illnesses are present in the meat and will continue to grow. Freezing the meat will only halt this process but will not stop it. Discard the meat immediately.
Can I put undercooked chicken back in the stove?
Yes, provided that you do so immediately after initially cooking the meat. Undercooked meat may be placed back in the stove to cook for an additional few minutes or until it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C).
Can you recook undercooked chicken the next day?
This is a resounding no!
You should never partially brown or cook chicken and then refrigerate the chicken to be cooked later. Bacteria in the chicken will not be destroyed and you will run the risk of developing food poisoning. If, however, you want to pre-cook chicken in the microwave and then finish it off on the stove or on the grill, that is perfectly fine. Provided that you finish cooking the meat immediately after removing it from the microwave.
Keep in mind that recooking chicken is ultimately the same as reheating the chicken. And, as such, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that you can essentially only reheat chicken once.
Can you finish cooking undercooked chicken in the microwave?
You may be wondering what your options are to recook undercooked chicken, apart from sticking it back into the stove.
Some home cooks pre-cook chicken in the microwave before finishing the chicken in the stove or on the grill. The reason for this is that the microwave cooks food from the inside out. This helps to reduce the cooking time in the stove, and essentially, the stove can be used to brown the chicken by grilling it.
But, what about cooking chicken in the microwave after it has been roasted in the oven and it’s still undercooked? The answer is yes. Yes, you can recook the chicken in the microwave to finish cooking it through. However, you can only do this immediately after realizing that the chicken is still raw.
In other words, you cannot store the chicken in the refrigerator overnight and then finish it in the microwave the next day. This is very dangerous and pathogens may still be present in the chicken.
Can you eat chicken that is slightly pink?
According to The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the color of the chicken does not indicate it’s doneness. The color of chicken may vary from white, pink, or even tan on the inside even after it has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9°C).
Keep in mind that some chicken may still contain blood or be red close to the thighbone, even after cooking. This simply means that the chicken was not properly drained of blood during the slaughtering process. Not to worry, this is not dangerous and does not pose a health risk. The only true indicator of proper cooking is to use a thermometer and check the internal temperature of the meat.
How long can partially cooked chicken sit out?
Partially cooked chicken may sit out for no more than two hours. Any longer and you will have to discard the chicken immediately. In addition, if the chicken has been sitting out for more than an hour with an outside temperature of 90°F, you should discard the chicken.
How soon after eating undercooked chicken will I get sick?
In the event that you have unfortunately consumed some of the undercooked chicken before you realize that it is undercooked, you may expect to see symptoms as soon as one to two days after consuming Salmonella. Additionally, after consuming Campylobacter, you may notice it as soon as two days and anywhere up to ten days later.
Some cases may be more severe and may require the use of antibiotics. Some other pathogens that you may find in raw chicken include:
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
Symptoms of consuming raw chicken
You may notice one or a few of the following symptoms that may indicate food poisoning:
- abdominal cramps
- muscle pain