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Apr 19, 2013 05:56 AM

Need Help Baking Chicken Thigh with Thermometer (bone in, skin on)

I have tried baking these several times and always turns out raw in the middle. Tell me where I'm going wrong!

I set out the refrigerated thighs on the counter for 30 minutes to warm up. I place a stay-in oven thermometer parallel to the bone, about 1/2" away from the bone, so the tip ends up in the middle and put it in a preheated oven (350 degrees) on the center rack. When the thermometer beeps (165 degrees, or 175 since they have been raw), about a 1/2 hour, I pull the chicken out and let it rest on the stovetop for a few minutes.

Should I flip them over while in the oven?

What oven temperature range would you recommend for this?


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  1. I brown them off first in a little olive oil on top of the stove on medium heat. Then throw them in the oven for 20 or 30 min at 400 degrees till done. That way you get the nice crisp skin which is the best part :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: juli5122

      Sounds good. My problem is the "done" part using a thermometer.

    2. You aren't cooking them long enough. In fact, it's almost impossible to overlook chicken thighs - quite different from breasts. Thighs won't dry out unless you practically incinerate them. They can be braised until tender - a la coq au vin - or roasted until the skin is crisp and the meat literally falls from the bone. Try raising the temp to 400 and roast them for at least 45 minutes. You don't need a thermometer for this.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Nyleve

        I will try that, it sounds delicious. Still, say I had the same problem with breasts. I want the ability to be confident with a bird and thermometer.

        1. re: robertbobb

          Did you check your thermometer for accuracy? Re-calibrate it?

          1. re: wyogal

            I have not. I have put two in near boiling water with no more than 3 degree difference.

            1. re: robertbobb

              I never cook according to time stated in a recipe, nor temps. I use my eyes, nose, touch. and some sense..... cook your thighs longer. Like others have said, it's almost impossible to overcook thighs. So, if you keep doing the same thing, and they keep turning out raw in the middle, then change what you are doing, cook it longer.

      2. Thighs are much better braised, imo.
        But if your meat is raw at 165 our thermometer is not accurate.

        5 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom

          Not necessarily. The thermometer measures only temperature, not the other characteristics of cooked meat. If the chicken reached 165 °F everywhere, it is safe, whether cooked to the desired level of doneness or not.

          1. re: GH1618

            In my case I am inexperienced and probably doing something wrong. But it interests me you are saying it can reach 165 degrees and still have raw doneness.

            1. re: robertbobb

              There is a difference between "raw" and "doneness." Something can be cooked, but not to the point where the fat, the connective tissue is broken down yet. For thighs, one cooks it beyond "not raw" to "doneness."
              You say you keep doing the same thing with the same results. Why not just get some thighs and try cooking them for longer? We may not be able to give you an exact time or temperature, but you can try 45 minutes to an hour. Try it.

              1. re: wyogal

                I will definitely try it. The consensus here is to cook the thigh more, longer, and/or higher temperature. Thermometer is not necessary with this cut because there's more fat than breast.

                I also want to learn more and have the ability to use a thermometer period, for other cuts or beasts. You are saying 45-60 minutes in (I assume) a 350 oven, I would also like to know if 2 hours in 250 oven works as well. Is there a minimum oven temp for slow cooking where the fat will never cook out no matter how long it's in there?

                1. re: robertbobb

                  I don't have all the answers, I have experience. You will, too.

        2. It isn't necessary to use a thermometer and certainly not to the extent that some folks seem to take it. People are going overboard in their use of thermometers.

          It will probably take about 45 minutes to roast a chicken thigh at 350, if it hasn't been seared or browned on the stovetop first. After 35 to 40 minutes, make a small cut near the bone, on the underside, not the skin side, to examine the flesh. If it is still too pink, leave it in the oven for a bit longer. Get to know the rules of thumb for timing - many cookbooks have sufficient information on timing, and you won't need to use the thermometer.

          Call me a cynic, but I'm beginning to suspect the overuse of thermometers is due to product placement and over-promotion on cooking shows.

          2 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            Thanks for your response. I learn with every post. I really appreciate what you're saying but I prefer thermometers because I cook for someone with low immunity and don't have anyone to show me things in person. For online learning it's easier to communicate "180+ degrees for thighs" like C. Hamster said than to wonder whether the chicken breast wobbled just so when I poked it or whether the steak feels like my thumb or whether the author of the recipe simply had fatter hands

            1. re: robertbobb

              While I was writing my original reply to you, the thought did occur to me that my advice would not be wise if cooking for someone with a compromised immune system. But timing is still important to know as a rule of thumb, so you're not checking the temperature all the time. And unlike with chicken breasts, overcooking thighs a bit won't cause them to be dry. I agree with your "better safe" approach, given the circumstances.

          2. It's much more important to make sure white meat poultry doesn't overcook.

            Thighs and legs have fat and connective tissue and needs to get to a higher temp. More like 180.

            6 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              I disagree and so do many charts , this one amongst them. 165.

              1. re: magiesmom

                magiesmom, are you saying that 165 degrees is best to thoroughly cook fat and connective tissue for a single thigh or simply recommending the minimum safe temperature?

                1. re: robertbobb

                  I'm saying that is what I cook it to, although I no longer need a thermometer. I think it dries out at higher temp. Also prefer thighs braised as I said above.

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    Do you brown on stove then braise in oven? What is your oven temp?

                  2. re: robertbobb

                    165 is the safe temp

                    I pull white meat at 155 or so and let it rest.

                    But I always cook dark to 180. Pull it at 170 or so.

                    Dark meat is naturally moister.

                    I suggest you cook to 180 once and see what you think regarding the meat's juiciness and texture.