Chicken Tips & Techniques
Always wash hands, preparation surfaces, and utensils in hot, soapy water before and after contact with raw chicken. Never allow cooked chicken to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If it is not eaten immediately, cooked chicken should be kept hot or refrigerated.
Thaw chicken in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or under cold running water - never on the countertop at room temperature, which provides bacteria with an ideal temperature to grow. When thawing chicken in the refrigerator, be sure to place the raw chicken on a plate on the bottom shelf to prevent the raw juices from dripping onto other foods or refrigerator surfaces.
Cutting boneless skinless chicken breasts into pieces can be a slippery task. Make it safer and prevent the knife from slipping by cutting the chicken while it is partially frozen. The firmer chicken is much easier to cut and handle.
Packaged fresh chicken should be refrigerated in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Freeze uncooked chicken if it is not to be used within 2 days. If properly packaged, frozen chicken will maintain top quality in a home freezer for up to 6 months.
If you use boneless, skinless chicken breasts often in recipes, package them for the freezer in recipe-size portions. This lets you thaw only the amount you need and prevents extra pieces of raw chicken, which are very perishable, from spoiling.
Always cook chicken until well done, not medium or rare. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should register at least 180°F when the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of one of the thighs. (Make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone.) For chicken breasts, cook to an internal temperature of 170°F. When the chicken is completely cooked, the juices should run clear.