Q. My mother always told me not to microwave raw chicken as it doesn’t cook right through properly but a friend told me that she does it regularly. I have a family and am trying to decide whether the quicker cooking times are worth the risks. I couldn’t live with myself if I poisoned the kids! Is it really safe to microwave raw chicken or is it best to avoid it?
A. Yes, you can cook chicken in a microwave as safely as any other method. Cooking times do vary, especially if it is still on the bone. Boneless chicken tales less time to cook, so if you want a super quick meal, go for boneless.
In order to cook chicken safely, whether it is in the microwave or any other method, there are a few considerations to take into account. Firstly, make sure that raw chicken it thawed thoroughly beforehand. Thaw it in a refrigerator so that bacteria doesn’t get a chance to take hold. If you thaw it on the kitchen counter, bacteria can start to multiply very quickly. Also, make sure you don’t cross contaminate. That means washing your hands after touching the raw meat and using an antibacterial cleaning agent on the surfaces that it touches. Finally, make sure the chicken is cooked through evenly. The safest way is to use a meat thermometer and ensure it is over 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here is a very simple method for getting the best out of your microwaved chicken. First, take a microwaveable dish and place three boneless breasts with the thickest parts one the outer edge of the dish. Now add half a cup of chicken broth with a squeeze of lemon and any other seasoning or flavouring that takes your fancy.
Next, loosely cover the dish with a lid but allow a corner to be left open for ventilation. If you don’t do this, the lid can pop of and create a mess inside the microwave! Set the microwave to medium power and cook for a full six minutes.
Check the temperature with your thermometer and cook for an additional minute if it is not cooked to temperature at the thickest part.
When it is cooked, allow the chicken to stand for another minute before serving with your favourite rice, potatoes or pasta.