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Chicken – Fast Facts

Perfect Portions

General serving size guidelines:
For boneless meats, allow 1/3 lb. per person.
For bone-in meats, allow 3/4 lb. per person.

Cooking Methods

Part Oven Temperature Internal Temperature Approximate Cooking Time
Boneless 350° 165° 18-22 Min.
White 350° 165° 18-22 Min.
Dark 350° 180° 20-25 Min.
Breast 350° 170° 20-25 Min.
Thigh/Drumstick 350° 180° 20-25 Min.
Boneless Breast Medium-High 165° 18-25 Min.
Breast Medium-High 170° 25-30 Min.
Thigh/Drumstick Medium-High 180° 25-30 Min.


Part Oven Temperature Internal Temperature Approximate Cooking Time
Boneless Medium-High 165º  
White Medium-High 165° 12 Min.
Dark Medium-High 180° 12 Min.

Stir Fry

Part Oven Temperature Internal Temperature Approximate Cooking Time
Boneless High 165º  
White High 165° 5-7 Min.
Dark High 180° 5-7 Min.

Thawing & Freezing

FSIS recommends three ways to defrost chicken: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Never defrost chicken on the counter or in other locations. It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Boneless chicken breasts will usually defrost overnight. Bone-in parts and whole chickens may take 1 to 2 days or longer. Once the raw chicken defrosts, it can be kept in the refrigerator an additional day or two before cooking. During this time, if chicken defrosted in the refrigerator is not used, it can safely be refrozen without cooking first.

Chicken may be defrosted in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. A whole (3 to 4-pound) broiler fryer or package of parts should defrost in 2 to 3 hours. A 1-pound package of boneless breasts will defrost in an hour or less.

Chicken defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed. Foods defrosted in the microwave or by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing.

Do not cook frozen chicken in the microwave or in a slow cooker. However, chicken can be cooked from the frozen state in the oven or on the stove. The cooking time may be about 50% longer.