A roast chicken can look gloriously burnished on the outside and still not be fully cooked near the inner thigh—the last place the heat of the oven reaches. Here are three ways to know when your chicken is ready to serve.
The most foolproof way to know when a chicken is done is to insert a well-calibrated instant-read thermometer into the meat near the inner thigh (between the leg and the breast, but make sure you’re not hitting bone). If the thermometer reads between 160° and 165°, it’s done. If the temperature is lower, it needs more time in the oven; much higher, and it’s overcooked. Don’t panic—just use the pan juices to help moisten any dry meat.
2. The juices run clear or nearly clear
No thermometer? Or don’t trust the one you own? Try this: Slice the skin between the leg and the breast and peek at the juices. If they’re clear, the chicken is likely done. If they’re just slightly pink, try the next test.