Chicken is a staple in many households worldwide, and chicken thighs are a favorite cut for their tenderness and juicy flavor. However, handling raw chicken thighs requires precautions to avoid food poisoning. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about safely handling, storing, and cooking raw chicken thighs. From tips to avoid cross-contamination to the proper storage of leftovers, you will learn how to handle raw chicken thighs like a pro. Join us as we explore the best ways to ensure your family’s health and safety while savoring the deliciousness of chicken thighs.
Understanding the Risks of Raw Chicken Thighs
1. Salmonella: Raw chicken thighs can contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, which can lead to foodborne illness.
2. Handling: Raw chicken should be handled with caution as harmful bacteria cannot be seen. Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling chicken and clean all cooking utensils and surfaces after exposure.
3. Cross-Contamination: Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils and surfaces for raw chicken and other foods that will not be cooked.
4. Cooking Temperatures: Chicken thighs must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F to ensure bacteria is killed and to prevent foodborne illness.
5. Symptoms of Illness: Symptoms of foodborne illness from consuming raw or undercooked chicken thighs can include stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
6. Storing: Raw chicken thighs should be stored in a refrigerator or cooler at a temperature below 40°F until ready to cook.
7. Freezing: Raw chicken thighs can be safely frozen for up to nine months at a temperature of 0°F.
8. Thawing: Thaw frozen chicken thighs in the refrigerator or by using the microwave or cold water method.
9. Improper Handling: Improper handling or cooking of raw chicken thighs can cause serious illness and should be avoided to ensure safe consumption.
Following proper handling and cooking techniques will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with raw chicken thighs. 
Importance of Cleanliness in Handling Raw Chicken Thighs
Raw chicken thighs are a delicious and nutritious choice for any meal. However, it is important to handle them with care to avoid food poisoning. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chicken is the top food that causes food poisoning due to unsafe handling and preparation practices by consumers at home. This is why cleanliness is crucial when handling raw chicken thighs.
Some common mistakes to avoid include washing the chicken before cooking and not washing hands or surfaces after handling raw chicken. Additionally, it is important to store raw chicken on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator or freezer, away from other foods, to prevent cross-contamination.
Cooking the chicken thighs to a safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the only way to destroy bacteria that might be present. Checking the doneness of the chicken thighs is also important to avoid undercooked or overcooked meat.
Overall, it’s important to prioritize cleanliness when handling raw chicken thighs. You can enjoy a delicious and safe meal by following proper storage techniques, avoiding cross-contamination, and cooking the chicken to a safe temperature. 
Tips for Properly Storing Raw Chicken Thighs
1. Keep it chilled: Raw chicken thighs should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Be sure to place them on the lowest shelf of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
2. Use proper storage containers: Store chicken thighs in leak-proof plastic bags or tight-sealing containers to prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods in the fridge. If using a container, be sure to label it properly with the date of purchase.
3. Freeze if not using immediately: If you don’t plan on using the chicken thighs right away, it’s best to store them in the freezer. They can be stored for up to 9 months at 0°F. Use freezer bags or airtight containers to prevent freezer burn.
4. Thaw safely: If frozen, thaw chicken thighs in the refrigerator, never on the counter or in hot water. This will prevent the growth of bacteria. Allow one day of thawing time for every four pounds of chicken.
5. Avoid overpacking the fridge: Be mindful of how much food is in your fridge, as overcrowding can cause temperature fluctuations that encourage bacterial growth.
Proper storage of raw chicken thighs is crucial for preventing foodborne illnesses. By following these simple tips, you can safely store your chicken thighs and prepare delicious meals without worry. 
Avoiding Cross-Contamination with Raw Chicken Thighs
To avoid cross-contamination with raw chicken thighs, it is important to follow some simple steps. Always handle raw chicken thighs at the end of your meal prep. Use a dedicated cutting board for raw chicken, and wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water after each use. Never use the same cutting board for vegetables or other foods that will be eaten raw.
Keep raw chicken in a sealed container or plastic bag to prevent any juices from leaking and contaminating other foods in your refrigerator. Make sure to store raw chicken on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to prevent any drips from contaminating other foods.
After handling raw chicken, always wash your hands and any utensils used with hot soapy water. Use a separate towel or paper towel to dry your hands and utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
Remember to never rinse raw chicken before cooking. This can spread harmful bacteria all over your kitchen. Cooking chicken thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F is the only way to kill harmful bacteria. By following these simple steps, you can safely handle and cook raw chicken thighs in your kitchen.
Cooking Temperatures for Perfectly Cooked Chicken Thighs
Cooking temperatures are critical when it comes to preparing perfectly cooked chicken thighs. According to experts, the internal temperature should reach a minimum of 165°F to eliminate the risk of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella. Different parts of chicken thighs can have varying cooking temperatures, so it’s essential to have an instant-read thermometer on hand to check doneness accurately. When cooking boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cooking time may range from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the cooking method and heat source. However, bone-in and skinned chicken thighs may require a longer cooking time to achieve the same doneness level.
When grilling chicken thighs, preheat the grill to a medium-high heat setting. Place the chicken thighs on the grill, and check for an internal temperature of at least 165°F at the thickest part of the meat. Broiling chicken thighs will require placing them skin side down on a baking sheet and broiling for five minutes before flipping and cooking for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Poaching chicken thighs in a broth with spices and aromatics may take up to 15 minutes for boneless thighs and a few additional minutes for those with bones.
Cooking chicken thighs to perfection is easy once you know the right temperatures to achieve juicy, tender, and flavorful meat.
Methods for Checking Doneness of Chicken Thighs
You will need to check their internal temperature to ensure that your chicken thighs are cooked safely and thoroughly. The recommended temperature for cooked chicken thighs is 165°F. There are various methods for checking the doneness of chicken thighs.
One method is to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken thigh, making sure that it does not touch the bone. Wait for a few seconds until the temperature reading stabilizes. If the thermometer shows a temperature of at least 165°F, then your chicken thighs are done.
Alternatively, you can check the doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the meat and seeing if the juices run clear. If the juices are pink or cloudy, continue cooking the chicken thighs until the juices run clear.
Another way to check if your chicken thighs are done is to test their texture and firmness. Use a pair of tongs to press and twist the meat gently. If the meat feels firm and there is no visible pinkness, then your chicken thighs are most likely cooked through.
Remember to check the temperature of each piece of chicken, though, as some parts might cook faster than others. With these tips, you can ensure that your chicken thighs are cooked to perfection every time, ensuring both deliciousness and safety. 
Preparing and Cooking Stuffed Chicken Thighs
Stuffed chicken thighs are a delicious and impressive dinner option, but handling and cooking them safely is important. Here are some tips to ensure that your meal is not only tasty but safe to eat.
1. Always start with clean hands and surfaces. Wash your hands and sanitize your work area before handling any raw chicken.
2. Carefully remove the bone from the chicken thighs and create a pocket for the stuffing. Fill the pocket with your favorite stuffing, like bread crumbs or vegetables.
3. It’s essential to cook the chicken thighs to a safe temperature of at least 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and ensure the stuffing reaches the same temperature.
4. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils and cutting boards for raw chicken and other ingredients. Sanitize all surfaces and utensils after use.
5. If you’re serving stuffing alongside stuffed chicken thighs, cook it separately to reduce the risk of bacteria growth.
Following these simple steps, you can safely prepare and cook stuffed chicken thighs and enjoy them with family and friends.
Safe Handling of Leftover Cooked Chicken Thighs
1. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth.
2. Ensure that cooked chicken thighs are reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F before consumption.
3. Do not leave cooked chicken thighs out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
4. Use an airtight container or wrap cooked chicken thighs tightly with foil or plastic wrap before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.
5. Do not refreeze previously frozen cooked chicken thighs, as this can lead to bacterial growth and foodborne illness.
6. Label and date your leftover chicken thighs so you know how long they have been in the refrigerator or freezer and when they need to be used.
7. When reheating cooked chicken thighs, ensure that they are heated evenly using the oven, microwave, or stovetop.
8. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils and containers when storing cooked chicken thighs with other foods in the refrigerator or freezer.
9. Use your senses to determine if cooked chicken thighs have gone bad, including a strange odor or slimy texture.
10. When in doubt, throw it out. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety and preventing foodborne illnesses.
Proper Storage of Cooked Chicken Thighs for Safety
Proper storage of cooked chicken thighs is crucial to prevent food poisoning. After cooking, let the chicken cool down to room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to four months. Make sure to label and date the container for easy tracking.
When reheating, ensure that the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any bacteria that may have grown during storage. It’s best to use a food thermometer to double-check the temperature. Avoid reheating chicken more than once, and discard any leftovers that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours.
Always use clean utensils and cutting boards when handling cooked chicken to prevent cross-contamination. Avoid placing the cooked chicken on the same surface used for raw chicken without washing it thoroughly.
By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy the delicious taste of chicken without risking your health. Remember, proper storage and handling of cooked chicken is essential to keep you and your loved ones healthy.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Handling Chicken Thighs
1. Stripping the skin: Removing the skin on a chicken thigh before cooking is a big mistake. The skin locks in moisture and gives the meat added flavor. Always wait until after it has finished cooking to remove the skin.
2. Not drying the skin: It’s important to make sure the skin is dry before cooking. Pat the pieces dry with paper towels to ensure the skin cooks up to a nice crisp.
3. Overcrowding the pan: Don’t overcrowd the pan when cooking chicken thighs, as this will lead to soggy meat. Cook in batches if needed, and give each piece plenty of space to ensure that it cooks evenly.
4. Not cooking it long enough: Unlike beef, chicken doesn’t have any connective tissue or fat collagen, except for the thigh. This means you have to nail the cooking times and technique exactly, or else you’ll end up with dry, stringy meat. Always use a thermometer to check for doneness and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Covering it with a tent: After cooking, it’s important not to cover the chicken with a tent as this will create steam and soften the crispy skin. Let the chicken rest uncovered for a few minutes before serving.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make the most out of this unsung hero of the poultry world and enjoy a juicy and flavorful chicken thigh for dinner tonight. 
Q: What is a broiler-fryer chicken?
A: It is a young tender chicken weighing 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds when eviscerated, that can be cooked by any method.
Q: How should I handle raw chicken to prevent contamination?
A: Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw chicken. The work area, cutting boards, and utensils must be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water after being exposed to the chicken and should not be used for other foods until properly cleaned. Please do not use the same cutting board to carve cooked chicken used for the raw meat unless it has been properly washed and dried before use.
Q: What temperature should raw chicken be stored in?
A: Raw chicken should be stored at a temperature outside of the temperature zone in which bacteria that cause foodborne illness grow quickly (40°F to 140°F).
Q: How should I cook chicken to eliminate the chance of foodborne illness?
A: Cook chicken completely to an internal temperature of at least 170°F when checked in the breast area and at least 175°F when checked in the thigh area. It is recommended to check the stuffing’s temperature (if used) at 165°F. Do not partially cook chicken and then store it to complete cooking at a later time.
Q: How should I store cooked chicken?
A: Cooked chicken should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below and eaten or frozen within 3-4 days.
In conclusion, handling, storing, and cooking raw chicken thighs safely is crucial to prevent foodborne illnesses. Proper cleanliness should always be maintained, including washing hands and cleaning surfaces and utensils used for handling the chicken. Raw chicken should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and not kept in the danger temperature zone of 40°F to 140°F to prevent bacteria growth. When cooking chicken, it is important to ensure it is cooked thoroughly to eliminate harmful bacteria. Checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure doneness. If stuffing the chicken, it is recommended to cook it separately to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. Always use different utensils and surfaces for raw and cooked chicken to prevent cross-contamination. By following these safety guidelines, one can enjoy delicious and safe chicken thighs. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.
I love cooking. There’s something about taking a bunch of disparate ingredients and turning them into a cohesive, delicious meal that just really scratches an itch for me. I’m not the world’s best cook, but I enjoy it and am always looking to learn more.
Plus, it’s a great way to show my loved ones that I care about them. When I cook for someone, I’m telling them that I want them to be happy and well-fed – and isn’t that really the best thing you can say to someone?