What Temperature to Cook Chicken

  • By: Jack Mancuso

What Temperature to Cook Chicken

What’s cooking? In many households, it’s chicken. In fact, 75% of all Americans report eating one chicken meal at least once and sometimes twice weekly. That adds up to a whopping 96 lbs. a year. When something is so popular for an extended time, there’s a reason. It’s just plain good.

In this blog, I will provide you with some chicken savvy. What types of chicken are there? At what temperature do you cook chicken? Differences in cooking methods…. Whew! I wanted to give you the tools to pick the best chicken for your recipe and the best treatment.

Pickin’ Chicken: What’s What

When you go to the store, all the labels start swimming before your eyes. What the heck do they mean? Here’s a breakdown.

  • Broiler-fryer. This chicken is a young’un, and it’s prized for tender meat. It’s rare to find one weighing more than four pounds. This chicken is suitable for any type of preparation.
  • Capon: A baby male chicken with predominantly white meat. Roasting is a good treatment for these
  • Cornish Game Hen: This is a type of broiler chicken that weighs a scant 1-2 pounds (they’re kind of cute). It’s perfect for stuffing and roasting. Depending on appetite, one can feed 1 to 2 people.
  • Roaster: A slightly older chicken than the Broiler; you can find these starting around 5 pounds. Put it on a rotisserie system and baste it regularly.
  • Stewing Hen: As the name implies, this kind of chicken benefits from stewing to keep it moist. It’s not as tender as young chickens, thus the slower cooking time. A rooster is similar, requiring long cooking in a moist environment.

Chickens labeled USDA Grade A are the best.

Introducing the Tremendous Temperature Gauge. 

It doesn’t matter at what temperature you cook your chicken, the internal temperature should be 165F for safety reasons. I strongly suggest buying a temperature gauge. They’re not expensive, and if you cook a lot, you will always know when your dish is truly done (none of those pink-centered chicken legs…eww.)

The 350F Magic

  • Baking Chicken: Cook whole chicken (and parts) at between 325-400F. You’ll find many recipes settle in at what I call the standard operating temperature: 350F. If you want crispy skin, start the oven chicken at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350F. 

The main reason for temperature variance is what you make with the chicken. Tender things like celery will burn @ 425F, so the best option is slow cooking. Check the poundage of your bird. Allow for 20-25 minutes per each. 

  • Chicken wings should be cooked in the oven for around 25 minutes at 350F. If you’re grilling, they only need 8 minutes per side. Want to fry up some wings with Cuso’s Smoky Garlic Buffalo BBQ Rub? Set the temperature to 375 for about 9 minutes.
  • When you’re looking for portable food, chicken drumsticks like these with Cuso’s Lemon Pepper BBQ Rub fit the bill perfectly. They are so simple! Baked, they take about 40 minutes at 350F. Grilled: 20 minutes, but remember to flip them.
  • Chicken thighs are inexpensive and absorb marinades like a sponge. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes; Grill for about 5 minutes per side until you get the skin texture you like. Here, you can see using chicken thighs for taco meat with Cuso’s Hot Honey Rub and Cuso’s Smoky Garlic Buffalo Rub.

Pitmaster: Chicken Shelf Life at Home

Now that you know at what temperature to cook chicken, how do you handle leftovers:

Cooked chicken in the refrigerator 3-4 days

Frozen chicken 2-6 hours

Raw Chicken in the refrigerator: 1-2 days


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Brown butter green beans

Kale and squash salad

Parmesan cauliflower

Parsnips with honey


Dessert taco bar

Hawaiian dessert bars

Lemon fluff parfait

Mint chocolate “soup”

Old-fashioned apple dumplings

From the Bar

Ginger lime mule 

Hoppy lager 

Raspberry ice tea



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