To check the internal temperature of cooked chicken, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, taking care not to hit the bone. Properly cooked chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thermometer may need to be kept in the chicken for a few minutes. After the meat is removed from heat, it continues to cook for several minutes, and the temperature rises as a result.
The poke test provides a less precise method of determining whether a chicken is properly cooked, comparing the tension at the base of the thumb with the tension in a cut of cooked meat poked with the index finger. Well-done meat should feel comparable to the base of the thumb poked with the pinky finger.
There are four types of meat thermometers available. The oven or grill-safe thermometer is designed to stay in the meat while it cooks and is usually used for larger items. It takes one to two minutes to report the temperature accurately. The instant-read thermometer takes 15 to 20 seconds and is inserted near the end of the cook time, while the disposable doneness sensor measures a temperature range. The thermometer fork combination can take up to 10 seconds to read the temperature and should not be left in the meat while it cooks.