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The Ideal Chicken Thigh Internal Temperature

Chicken Thigh Internal Temperature

For good texture and juiciness, the appropriate chicken thigh Internal temperature, whether bone-in or boneless, is 175 degrees Fahrenheit, but a chicken thigh texture is better at 195 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it comes to cooking chicken thighs, achieving the perfect internal temperature is crucial for both taste and safety. In this article, we will discuss the ideal internal temperature for chicken thighs and provide you with some tips to cook them to perfection.


Different recipes and websites often offer different recommendations for the ideal chicken thigh internal temp. But for the juiciest and most tender experience, aim for an internal temperature between 175°F and 185°F.

You can also slow smoke a chicken thigh to an internal temp as high as 195°F, yielding excellent results. But the key is SLOW SMOKE, if you cook the chicken thighs at high temperatures to 195 degrees they will be dry.

When it comes to achieving the perfect internal temperature for chicken thighs, the slow-and-low approach works very well. Impatience can lead to dry chicken thighs if you crank up the temperature too high. Instead, opt for a gradual cooking process at a lower temperature. This allows the meat to marinate in its juices and tenderize over time.

Chicken thighs have a distinct consistency compared to other cuts. Their abundant collagen and muscle tissue respond well to higher internal temperatures and longer cooks, breaking down proteins and resulting in juicier meat. 


When it comes to food safety in the kitchen, it’s crucial to know the recommended minimum internal temperature of chicken legs, which is no less than 165°F (or 74°C) to mitigate any risks of foodborne illnesses. 

Unlike other meats such as steak, poultry requires thorough cooking at higher temperatures due to the risk of common pathogens like salmonella. By ensuring that your poultry reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F, you effectively use temperature kill foodborne pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Properly cooked chicken thighs not only ensures safety but also enhances the deliciousness of your meal.


Knowing the correct cooking temperature for chicken thighs is important, but accurately measuring their internal temperature is as important and good culinary pratice. If you’re preparing meat at home, a meat thermometer is an absolute must-have in your kitchen. Opt for a versatile thermometer that suits various cooking methods.

meat thermometer

When using a meat thermometer to gauge the chicken thigh’s internal temperature, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the largest thigh.
  2. Avoid touching the bone with the thermometer to ensure an accurate reading.
  3. Aim to be at least ¼ inch away from the bone.
  4. Chicken thighs are safe to eat at 165°F, but for optimal taste and texture, consider a range between 175°F and 185°F.

Once the chicken tight is cooked beyond 165F degrees connective tissue and fat start to break down contributing to the juiciness and tenderness of the meat.

chicken thighs cooked to the perfect temperature

Balancing Safety and Juciness in Chicken Thighs

While reaching the minimum safe internal temperature is key, overcooking chicken thighs can result in dry and tasteless meat. It’s best to aim for an internal temp above the minimum 165 degrees to balance safety and juiciness. For tender and succulent chicken thighs, target an internal temperature of 175°F to 180°F and cook the chicken at lower temperatures for longer time.

If you are smoking the chicken thighs you can cook the, to up to 195 degrees, still with great results.

Another important point is to ensure that the chicken is defrosted properly so it cooks evenly in the oven or grill. Partially frozen areas of the chicken can cook slower and not reach the proper temperatures.

Cooking Methods and Internal Temperatures

Here are a few popular methods and their associated internal temperatures:

  1. Oven-Baking: Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and cook for approximately 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175°F.
  2. Grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and then set it to indirect heat. Grill the chicken thighs for about 20 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 175°F. Of you are using a smoker or pellet grill, you can set the heat to a lower temperature, say 275F, and let the chicken cook to a higher temperature.
  3. Pan-Searing: Heat a pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and cook until the internal temperature reaches 175°F.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken thighs. Always use a reliable meat thermometer to ensure accurate results.


Try our all-natural, all-purpose seasoning, Savory Delight, for juicy and flavorful chicken thighs. The ingredients help create crispy skin and maximize flavor. Savory Delight is crafted with natural spices and aromatics to extract maximum flavor from chicken thighs.

Final Thoughts

Cooking chicken thighs to the ideal internal temperature is key to a delicious and juicy meal. By following the guidelines mentioned above and using a meat thermometer, you’ll be able to enjoy perfectly cooked chicken thighs every time. So, go ahead and apply these methods and techniques, you’ll love those chicken thighs.

Picture of Writen By: Hector

Writen By: Hector

Hector is the CEO and Founder of Stella On Fire Co. As a self-taught chef and entrepreneur at heart, he set out to create amazing seasonings and rub flavors everyone can enjoy. Hector is also our Food Safety and Protection Manager for Stella On Fire Co.

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