Skip to main content

Safe cooking temperatures: What is the safe temperature to cook or store my chicken?

The best way to ensure chicken is safe to eat is by cooking it until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit – this kills any possible bacteria on the raw meat, including salmonella. Looking at the color of cooked chicken is not a definitive way of checking temperature – so always be sure to use a food thermometer.

After chicken is cooked, it should be refrigerated within two hours at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked chicken should be eaten within 3-4 days.

Also remember not to rinse raw poultry. This does not wash away bacteria, and in fact, can spread it around your sink, onto your countertops or onto other food. The best way to kill bacteria in your chicken and be sure it is safe to eat is by cooking it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you’re ever served undercooked poultry in a restaurant, send it back to the kitchen for further cooking!

Get tips for the safe handling and cooking of chicken at

To download a PDF of this FAQ on safe cooking, click here.