Chicken should always be cooked fully, as eating raw or undercooked chicken can lead to food-borne illness, which can be really unpleasant to deal with!
Cooking chicken can be tricky, as you want to be absolutely sure that it is cooked fully, but you also do not want to overcook it so that it becomes dry and hard.
What does raw and undercooked chicken taste like? What raw or undercooked chicken tastes like depends on how much it has been cooked, or how raw it is. Raw chicken is slimy and has a very mild flavor to it. Undercooked chicken will be a little firmer in texture, and it will have some flavor to it, but not as much as properly cooked chicken.
Understanding what raw or undercooked chicken tastes like will help you know whether your chicken is fully prepared or not, so you can keep safe with the meals you eat!
Is It Safe To Eat Raw And Undercooked Chicken?
It is not safe to eat raw chicken, and it is not something you should try.
There are some dangerous bacterial strains that can be found in raw chicken, such as salmonella, which can lead to severe food poisoning.
Food poisoning can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and sometimes even lead to hospitalization. There is too high a risk that raw chicken can make you sick, and the severity can be serious.
It is vital to ensure that your chicken has been cooked fully, as only fully cooked chicken will be safe enough to eat, as the bacteria should have been killed off during the cooking process.
Flavor Of Raw And Undercooked Chicken
Raw chicken actually does not taste like much, which is why it can be difficult to identify. Chicken takes on more flavor as it cooks as it goes through the Maillard reaction, which is what gives the chicken its flavor.
The Maillard reaction occurs at around 140°F, and chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, so chicken that is undercooked will not take on the flavor that this reaction gives.
This means that raw or undercooked chicken will have a very bland, mild flavor, and it will not have the same flavor properties that cooked chicken does.
If you take a bite of the chicken you have just prepared, and notice that it lacks flavor, check for other signs that it might be undercooked.
Texture Of Raw And Undercooked Chicken
The texture of raw or undercooked chicken is probably easier to pick up on compared to the taste, as the texture is quite different from when it is cooked.
Raw chicken has the most obvious difference in texture. It is gelatinous, slimy, and chewy, and very different from what cooked chicken tastes like.
Undercooked chicken is slightly different, as it would have gone through some cooking, but not enough to achieve the proper texture of cooked chicken.
Undercooked chicken will still have a slimy and gelatinous texture to it, but the severity will depend on how much the chicken has been cooked.
However, this should still be noticeable compared to chicken that has been cooked properly, and if the texture seems too gelatinous or slimy, then it is best to cook it for longer.
How To Know If Your Chicken Is Undercooked
Knowing how to tell if your chicken is undercooked is really helpful in the kitchen, and it can help you avoid some unpleasant meals and even more unpleasant food poisoning!
Here are some signs to look for that your chicken might be undercooked.
Color Of The Chicken
Chicken flesh turns from pinkish to white or a darker color when it is cooked, so looking at the color of the flesh can definitely help determine whether the chicken is cooked or not.
Pull some of the chicken apart, especially where it is close to the bone, and check the color. If the flesh still appears slightly pinkish, then it is likely undercooked.
When checking whether your chicken is cooked or not, slice through the thickest piece, as this would take the longest to cook through.
Another color sign to check for is the juice that runs out of the chicken. If the juice runs clear, then the chicken is cooked. However, if the juice is pink, then the chicken is not cooked properly.
Moisture Of The Chicken
You would want to enjoy moist, juicy chicken, but if the chicken is too moist and juicy, it could be a sign that it is undercooked.
If the flesh of the chicken is very moist, even with slight gelatinous moisture, and the texture is slightly rubbery, then it is undercooked.
The chicken will dry out more as it cooks, and there is a very fine line between cooked juicy chicken and undercooked moist chicken.
You might need to look for other signs that the chicken is undercooked, to be sure whether it needs more time in the heat or not.
Firmness Of The Chicken
Before placing your chicken on the heat, press down on the meat to measure the firmness. The firmness of raw chicken should be the same as when you press your finger onto the area between the thumb and palm of the other hand.
When you take the chicken out of the heat, feel the firmness once it has cooled slightly. If it still feels the same as the area between your thumb and the palm of your hand, and the texture hasn’t changed much, then it likely isn’t cooked.
One of the best and surest ways to determine whether the chicken is fully cooked or not is to measure the internal temperature.
Chicken is considered fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. When measuring, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest piece of the chicken, as this would be the area that takes the longest to cook.
If the thermometer reads below 165°F, then the chicken needs to be left to cook for longer.
What To Do If Your Chicken Is Undercooked
If you have taken your chicken off of the heat or out of the oven and realize that it is undercooked, you will need to cook it for longer.
The best way to do this is to just return it to the heat and keep cooking it the same way you were, but if you wanted a quick fix, then you could slice the chicken up into smaller pieces and place the chicken in the microwave.
This will likely take a good few minutes, depending on how undercooked the chicken is and whether it is bone-on chicken or not, but it will help to quickly cook the chicken.
If you are roasting a whole chicken in the oven and it is undercooked, then you can cut the chicken into pieces and place it into the oven to keep cooking. This will allow it to cook faster and ensure that it cooks evenly and properly.
How To Ensure Chicken Is Fully Cooked
Cooking chicken is a simple skill that everyone should have in the kitchen, but it does come with a little more responsibility to ensure that the chicken is cooked properly!
When cooking a whole roast chicken, the internal temperature should read 180°F, and chicken cuts should reach 165°F before they are safe to eat.
You can also poke at the chicken and look at the juices that run from the chicken. If the juices are still pink, then the chicken needs to cook for longer. However, if the juices run clear, then it is likely that the chicken is cooked.
Raw and undercooked chicken usually has a bland flavor, as chicken typically only takes on its “chicken-flavor” once it has been cooked.
The texture of raw and undercooked chicken would be slightly gelatinous, slimy, and chewy, and would not be similar to the texture of cooked chicken meat.
Eating raw or undercooked chicken can be dangerous, as it could contain salmonella bacteria, which could lead to severe food poisoning.
Take a read through the above guide to find all the signs you need to look for to ensure that chicken is cooked, so you can make safe and delicious chicken in the kitchen!
Now that we know all about raw and undercooked chicken and why we definitely shouldn’t eat it, here are some additional questions we thought you might have.
Does salmonella affect the taste of chicken?
Salmonella bacteria does not necessarily affect the flavor or smell of chicken, and there is not really any way to tell whether chicken has salmonella bacteria present or not.
The best way to avoid salmonella is to fully cook chicken before eating, as the heat will kill off the bacteria.
What should I do if I eat raw chicken?
The best thing to do if you have eaten raw chicken is to not eat it anymore.
Keep an eye out for any digestive upset, vomiting, or diarrhea, and if you experience any of these, then you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.