Is It Safe To Eat Slightly Undercooked Chicken?

Cooking chicken without a thermometer can be a risky game. Unless you cut a slice of it to see if it still looks raw on the inside, you could very well end up accidentally serving undercooked chicken. While the same could easily happen with a juicy steak, medium rare chicken is nowhere near safe to eat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw chicken is riddled with bacteria, not only Salmonella, the one most associated with raw chicken, but also the lesser known Campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. This collection of bacteria is also present in the juices that seep out of raw chicken, which means undercooked chicken, whether it be fully raw or slightly undercooked, can still lead to a foodborne illness or infection. 

The CDC estimates that one in every 25 packages of chicken contains Salmonella, so even a small bite of undercooked chicken isn't worth the risk. If you're worried your chicken might be undercooked, it's best to just throw it back on the stove. After all, it is not safe to eat even slightly undercooked chicken.

Chicken needs to be fully cooked

Because of how serious and common raw chicken-related sickness is, checking the temperature is the most accurate way to tell if your chicken is undercooked or not. Insider reports that cooked chicken will read 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Any lower than that, and it won't be safe to eat. 

The color of the meat, while a common frame of reference, isn't as reliable, as it's possible for chicken, especially different cuts, to appear different shades of pink when exposed to heat. Younger chickens, for example, have naturally pinker meat. The color can also be affected by the chicken's diet and how long the meat was frozen, even if it was smoked as opposed to grilled. Due to the level of color variation as well as the risk potential, it's best to only trust the numbers on the thermometer. And of course, avoid eating uncooked chicken at all costs. Better to eat overcooked chicken than be rushed to the hospital.