Q:

How long should a chicken be baked in the oven?

A:

The amount of time needed to bake a whole chicken depends on the temperature of the oven and the size of the chicken. For example, at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, a 3-pound chicken takes 1 to 1 1/4 hours to cook. At the same temperature, a 5-pound chicken takes up to 2 hours. At 350 F, a chicken weighing between 5 and 7 pounds typically takes 2 to 2 1/4 hours.

As a rule, the heavier the chicken, the longer it takes to bake. Baking at higher temperatures reduces baking times, while baking at lower temperatures requires longer cooking times. Cooks who are short on time can break a whole chicken into pieces for faster baking. For example, 2 to 3 pounds of chicken pieces, including breast halves, bone-in thighs or drumsticks, takes 45 to 55 minutes.

To prevent food-borne illnesses, it is essential to check that the meat is fully cooked before eating. There should not be any pinkness, and the juices should run clear after piercing the skin with a sharp. To be more exact, use an instant-read thermometer in the meatiest part of the breast and/or thigh. The minimum safe internal temperature for a whole chicken is 165 F. Stuffed chickens may take slightly longer to bake. The internal temperature of the stuffing should also reach 165 F or warmer.


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