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What temperature should cooked breaded chicken breast be?

Quick Answer

The recommended safe internal temperature for cooked breaded chicken breast is 165°F (74°C). Reaching this temperature kills any potentially harmful bacteria like Salmonella. Using a food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure breaded chicken breast reaches a safe minimum internal temperature.

What is the Safe Internal Temperature for Chicken?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that chicken is only safe to eat after it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This high temperature kills any dangerous bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli that may be present.

Chicken needs to reach 165°F all the way through, even if it is breaded, stuffed, or ground. The juices should run clear and the meat should not be pink when you cut into it.

USDA Minimum Internal Temperatures

Food Safe Minimum Internal Temperature
Chicken breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings 165°F (74°C)
Ground chicken 165°F (74°C)
Chicken liver 165°F (74°C)

As you can see in the table, all chicken products including breaded chicken breast need to reach 165°F minimum according to USDA standards for safety.

Why 165°F for Chicken is Critical

Cooking chicken to 165°F kills any pathogens that may be present including the following:


One of the most common foodborne illnesses, Salmonella is often found in raw chicken. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.


This bacteria also commonly contaminates raw and undercooked chicken. It can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within 2 to 5 days after exposure.

E. coli

Though more common in other raw meats, E. coli from contaminated chicken causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staph bacteria is killed by high cooking temperatures. Left alive, it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Proper cooking to 165°F destroys these pathogens keeping your chicken safe to eat.

How to Tell When Breaded Chicken Breast is Done

Since breaded chicken breast has a coating, you cannot rely on visual cues alone to determine if it’s cooked through. Here are some ways to test doneness:

Use a Food Thermometer

A food thermometer is the only sure way to tell if breaded chicken breast has reached 165°F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, taking care that the probe is not touching any bones.

Digital thermometers will quickly display the internal temperature, eliminating guesswork. Models with alarms can also be set to beep when the chicken is 165°F.

Check Internal Color

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the breading using a paring knife to peek at the inside. The meat should be white with no traces of pink.

Cut into the Chicken

Slice into the thickest part of the chicken. It should look completely white inside with no pink spots. The juices will run clear rather than red.

Check for Firmness

Fully cooked chicken breast should feel firm when pressed. If the meat is still soft, mushy, or seems gelatinous, it needs more cooking time.

Using two or more of these methods together will give you an accurate reading on doneness. The food thermometer is still the best and only foolproof way though.

How Long to Cook Breaded Chicken Breast

The exact oven cooking time depends on a few factors:


Thicker chicken breasts take longer to cook through to 165°F than thinner fillets. A good rule of thumb is to allow about 8 minutes per 1 inch of thickness.

Bone-In or Boneless

Bone-in chicken breasts can take slightly longer to cook since the bone partly shields the meat. Plan for up to 5 minutes extra time if cooking bone-in.

Brined or Unbrined

Brining chicken in a saltwater solution adds moisture and flavor. Brined chicken often cooks faster as moisture is already incorporated into the meat.

Cooking Method

The oven will take longer than grilling or pan frying. Convection ovens may cook chicken faster than standard ovens.

Oven Temperature

Chicken cooked at a lower oven temperature like 325°F needs more time to reach 165°F than chicken cooked at 425°F.

Chicken Breast Thickness Estimated Oven Time at 375°F
1 inch 18-22 minutes
1 1/2 inches 22-28 minutes
2 inches 28-35 minutes

Refer to this table as an estimate, but always rely on a thermometer for perfectly cooked chicken. The USDA also provides a chicken cooking time calculator on their website.

Tips for Cooking Juicy Breaded Chicken Breasts

It’s easy to end up with dry, overcooked chicken breasts. Here are some tips for keeping breaded chicken breast tender and juicy:

– Pound the chicken to an even thickness so it cooks evenly. Place chicken between plastic wrap or waxed paper and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound.

– Brine the chicken in saltwater for 30 minutes up to 4 hours before cooking. This seasons the meat and keeps it moist.

– Use light, flaky breadcrumbs rather than heavy panko-style crumbs which can make the coating tough. Homemade breadcrumbs are ideal.

– Cook at a high oven temperature like 425°F to crisp the coating before the meat overcooks.

– Bake the chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet so air circulates all around. The rack prevents soggy breading.

– Brush the chicken with oil or melted butter before applying breadcrumbs to help browning.

– Do not overcrowd the pan which steams rather than crisps the coating.

– Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes before cutting so juices redistribute through the meat.

How to Tell if Breaded Chicken Breast is Bad

Always rely on your senses to determine if breaded chicken has gone bad. Signs that breaded chicken breasts may have spoiled include:


Fresh chicken has a very mild odor. Rancid cooked chicken gives off a clearly foul, rotten smell.


The breaded coating may darken with age or even look moldy as moisture causes breadcrumbs to break down.


Sliminess under the breading, sticky surfaces, or mushy meat indicate spoilage.


Grey, green, or yellowish tints on the chicken flesh mean it should be discarded.

Expired Date

Cooked chicken should be tossed after 3-4 days in the fridge. Frozen, prepared breaded chicken keeps 6 months in the freezer but quality declines over time.

Rely on multiple signs of spoilage to determine if breaded chicken breast is over the hill. When in doubt, throw it out.

Storing Leftover Breaded Chicken

To safely store leftover breaded chicken:

– Let cooked chicken cool to room temperature within 2 hours before refrigerating.

– Divide into shallow airtight containers to quick chilling.

– Refrigerate for 3-4 days maximum.

– Wrap tightly and freeze for 2-3 months. Reheat fully to 165°F until steaming hot.

– Do not store warm chicken in sealed containers which can create conditions bacteria thrive in.

– Discard any chicken that smells, looks, or feels iffy upon reheating. When unsure, throw it out.

Follow proper storage guidelines to safely enjoy delicious breaded chicken again later in the week.


For food safety, breaded chicken breast should reach an internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a food thermometer. Signs of doneness include clear juices, opaque white meat, and firm texture when pressed. Allow approximately 15-20 minutes of cooking time for 1-inch thick breasts at 375°F oven temperature. Pound chicken to an even thickness, brine, use light breadcrumbs, bake at high heat, and avoid overcrowding to keep breaded chicken juicy and flavorful. Monitor smell, color, texture, and expiration date to determine if leftovers are still safe to eat. With proper cooking, cooling, and storage, breaded chicken breast stays delicious and pathogen-free.