Learn how long to bake boneless chicken breast so that it's fully cooked and safe to eat
Salmonella is a foodborne bacteria found in raw poultry, like chicken breasts. It causes over 1.2 million cases of food poisoning per year!
Knowing how to properly cook chicken will ensure that you do not put yourself and others at risk of contracting salmonella. Let’s look at how long you need to bake boneless chicken breast to prevent this!
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises that a 4-oz boneless chicken breast should be baked at 350 deg F for 25 to 30 minutes to ensure it is fully cooked and the chance of salmonella is eliminated.
The problem is that not everyone has an oven that is properly calibrated. To find out if your oven is accurate, set it to 350 deg F and after 10 minutes, use a thermometer to test it. You will then be able to see if your oven has heated to the correct temperature or not.
If it is below, you may want to consider having your oven calibrated by a professional. This means though, that if your oven is not heating to the correct temperature, you will need to bake boneless chicken breasts for longer to ensure they are cooked.
To be sure that any bacteria in your boneless chicken breasts are destroyed, the internal temperature of the chicken breast needs to reach 165 deg F.
The best way to find out the internal temperature of your boneless chicken breast is by using a meat thermometer - simply insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast and read the temperature. If it any less than 165 deg F, return it to the oven and continue cooking.
Check the temperature again to ensure it is correct prior to serving.
Be aware that cross-contamination can pass on salmonella too, so even if you have perfectly cooked your boneless chicken breasts, you could still pass on salmonella in other ways! Any surface that has come into contact with raw chicken - including your knives, chopping board, and hands - must be thoroughly cleaned before being used for anything else.
So, if you have used a knife to cut into a chicken breast to see if it is still pink, be sure to wash the knife before using it again!
The USDA also recommends that you should thaw boneless chicken breasts in the fridge, microwave or by placing them into a sealed plastic bag and submerging into cold water.
Once thawed, your chicken should be cooked immediately as the chance of bacteria growing on raw, thawed meat is much more likely between the temperatures of 40-140 deg F. The same then applies once the chicken has been cooked!
Make sure you cover your chicken and place into the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. Boneless chicken breast will usually keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Baked boneless chicken breast is so versatile and you can really have fun creating some tasty marinades to pair with your chicken!
Always be sure to discard any marinade that is left over if you are not cooking it, as it would have been in contact with the raw chicken. If you wish to keep some marinade back to serve over the top of your baked boneless chicken breast, be sure to bring it to the boil first and simmer to cook away any bacteria.