Can you half cook chicken then finish later?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you half cook chicken then finish later?”, and what is the ‘Danger zone’?

Can you half cook chicken then finish later?

No, you can not half cook chicken then finish it later. It is an extremely unsafe practice from a food safety viewpoint. Unlike the veggies that do fine in the fridge or freezer after par cooking, the partially cooked chicken will not.

Partially cooked chicken is just the right host for the bacteria to thrive. It is safe to partially cook the chicken in the microwave or stovetop before grilling it. But storing the half-cooked chicken is not possible.

Safety and numbers 

The most infamous pathogens associated with chicken include salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Campylobacter jejuni. All of these pathogens are responsible for food poisoning in humans.

The symptoms of food poisoning may be severe or mild depending upon how many live microbes you ingested. It also depends upon the immunity of the consumer and the virulence of the pathogen. 

Each pathogen has a specific infective dose. The one with the least amount of infective dose is the most virulent. However, a larger dose of any pathogen is dangerous. That is why thoroughly cooking your chicken is so important.

What is the ‘Danger zone’? 

The foo safety ‘Danger zone’ is a critical temperature range that is favorable to most microbes. This temperature range is 40℉-140℉. 

Above 40 degrees and below 140 degrees, pathogens are unable to survive or grow due to the unfavorable temperature that supports their enzymes. 

To keep the food safe, it should be stored out of the danger zone temperature. Because pathogens only take a few hours or minutes to multiply to millions if the temperature is favorable.

Par-cooking chicken 

Cooking does not make the food pathogen-free. It merely reduces the level of pathogens within the safe limit or threshold level. You can imagine the food safety risk if the initial bacterial load of the chicken was high and it was par-cooked later on.

Par-cooking only cooks the chicken from the outside. The core or center of the chicken remains uncooked and a hub for the multiplication of pathogens.

The microbes have sufficient time to grow to unacceptable levels during the time it takes for the chicken to cool down before refrigerating. Therefore, you should always cook the chicken to a safe internal temperature to steer clear of any food safety risks.

How to safely cook chicken?

The only time when you can get away with partially cooked chicken is when you will be finished cooking it on the grill or in the broiler. 

Grilled or broiled chicken forms a charred crust on the outside that keeps the core of the chicken from cooking thoroughly. 

To avoid this, you can partially cook the chicken pieces in boiling water for a few minutes before you proceed to grilling or broiling.

The chicken should finish cooking at a safe internal temperature of 165℉. Use a thermometer to gauge the correct temperature. Refrigerate the chicken within an hour of cooking.

How to make the perfect Roast Chicken?


  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch of fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉ for 15-20 minutes.
  1. Thoroughly rinse the chicken under cold running water. Get rid of any excess fat and stray pin feathers. Pat dry the chicken using paper towels.
  1. Generously season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Then fill in the cavity with a bunch of thyme, a whole lemon, and all the garlic. 
  1. Braise the outside of the chicken with some melted butter. Season with salt and pepper again.
  1. Use a kitchen string to tie both the legs of the chicken together. The wingtips should be slipped behind the breast or body of the chicken.
  1. Toss the onions, carrots, and fennel with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil inside the roasting dish. Spread it in an even single layer in the roasting pan. Then place the chicken in the center, on top of the veggies.
  1. Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for about 1-½ hours. Cover with foil for 20 minutes before serving.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

How long does a rotisserie chicken stay good?

How is rotisserie chicken made?

How long does rotisserie chicken last?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you half cook chicken then finish later?”, and what is the ‘Danger zone’?


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