Can you eat medium-rare chicken?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat medium-rare chicken?” with an in-depth analysis of the chicken, harmful microorganisms present in chicken, the dangers of eating medium-rare chicken, and how to consume chicken safely.

Can you eat medium-rare chicken?

No, you can not eat medium-rare chicken. Eating medium-rare chicken is harmful and is associated with numerous foodborne illnesses. 

As it is well known that undercooked chicken and poultry can lead to serious health issues. However, medium-rare or pink chicken can still be safe to consume if it is cooked at a precise temperature.

The meat of properly cooked chicken likely stays pink. That may happen for several different reasons.

Chicken is a great source of protein and provides many benefits. But, to completely enjoy its health benefits, chicken needs to be handled properly.

Dangers of eating medium-rare chicken

Undercooked or medium-rare chicken is harmful to consume due to the possible presence of bacteria such as Campylobacter, listeria or Salmonella.

Salmonella normally resides in the gut of several different types of farm animals but is particularly common in chickens. When humans contract Salmonella, they can experience severe enteric fever, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, typhoid fever, and other serious diseases. If the infection progresses beyond the intestinal tract, it can cause life-threatening complexities.

Campylobacter can also invade the digestive system if you eat medium-rare or undercooked chicken or food that has touched undercooked chicken. 

Exposure to Campylobacter can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, fever, and bloody stools. Although most people get better in around one week, it can lead to severe difficulties in some people.

Cooking chicken properly is the best approach to destroy harmful pathogens. However, chicken that looks pink even after thorough cooking can be deceiving.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), maintaining the internal temperature is the best and the only authentic way to know if the chicken is completely cooked and fit to eat. 

That implies that all parts of the chicken should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165℉ before you start to eat.

In some cases, it means that a well-cooked chicken might still be a little rosy from the inside. As long as you measure the meat temperature with a cooking thermometer at multiple places and get a reading at or beyond 165 degrees Fahrenheit, a pink tint should not be a health concern.  

How do you know your chicken is cooked well?

A food thermometer is the only way to assure the chicken is prepared to a safe minimum internal temperature. If the temperature is at or beyond 165 degrees Fahrenheit, do not worry even if your chicken looks a little pink.

At this temperature, unhealthy food bacteria, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, will be killed. When not killed, these bacteria can lead to severe illness or maybe death. 

The reason why chicken meat sometimes stays pink after thorough cooking

The colour of the meat is greatly affected by the age of the bird and the way it was raised.

The pink colour in the meat of thoroughly prepared chicken is especially prevalent in young birds. That is because the bones of younger varieties are more perforable than older chickens, which can let the bone marrow leak into the remaining meat and give it a pink colour. 

The haemoglobin in the tissues of the chicken can also create a heat-stable colour that remains even after the chick has been fully cooked.

A red or pink tint can also be caused by the diet consumed by the chicken, the way the meat was stored, and some cooking methods for instance grilling or smoking.

How to safely consume chicken 

Even though you might be okay with having pink chicken, it is still possible to get sick from consuming chicken that has not been accurately handled or stored.

The way you melt your chicken is crucial. You should never thaw chicken at room temperature or in hot water. This can cause the external layer of the chicken to reach between 40 and 140 ℉, which is considered a danger zone according to USDA, even if the core is still frozen. 

At temperatures warmer than 40 ℉, bacteria can reproduce rapidly making the chicken a place of potential pathogens.

Always make sure to wash your hands properly after handling raw chicken and never allow the raw chicken to come into contact with other cooking items. That implies that you should thoroughly clean cutting boards, utensils, and kitchen counters after you prepare chicken.

Lastly, do not partly cook or brown chicken to completely cook it later, as this can raise the temperature of the meat to unsafe values that may allow the growth of bacteria.


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat medium-rare chicken?” with an in-depth analysis of the chicken, harmful microorganisms present in chicken, the dangers of eating medium-rare chicken, and how to consume chicken safely.


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