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Jul 18, 2010 08:00 AM

When are poached chicken breasts/cutlets completely cooked?

I've had enough experience with undercooked whole chickens to be very careful with the juices and internal temperature, but what about poaching chicken cutlets? I usually bring them to a full boil, and simmer, covered, for about 1/2 hour. They look ok, but is there a way to know for sure when they're thoroughly cooked? TIA

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  1. Decide what you consider "cooked" to be - 155 or higher is the consensus - and use a meat thermometer.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      That's a help, but does the meat thermometer stay stuck in the chicken while it's in the simmering water? And, if so, does it need to be a specific kind of meat thermometer?

      1. re: efdee

        Whatever type of meat thermometer you have is fine. Transfer a breast from the pot to a plate before you take its temp (otherwise, I would think, the water is going to throw off the temperature). Check each breast.

    2. Doing things by eye, chicken is safe to eat once it's lost that translucent "raw" look in the middle. Half an hour is WAY too long for boneless skinless breasts. I'd start checking at ten minutes. Maybe less.

      As for thermometers, you can insert a probe and leave it in so long as the back end stays out of the water. Otherwise, just do what Lily says and remove a piece of chicken before taking its temperature.

      1. 1/2 hour for chicken cutlets???

        Unless your poaching liquid is just a tad above body temp, then you're aiming for chicken jerky.

        As alanbarnes noted above, try something along the lines of 10-15 minutes, max., esp. with cutlets.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I am reassured, since I'd rather end up with chicken jerky than with food poisoning, but glad to know that those aren't the only choices. Thank you all.