Why You Should 'Undercook' Your Chicken, According To Ina Garten

Are you suffering from dry chicken? Ina Garten is here to help. In an "Ask Ina" segment shared on her Instagram page on February 21, 2024, the Food Network star shared some advice on how to get "flavorful, moist chicken breasts" every time.

Pulling a tray containing two pieces of her preferred type of chicken – breasts with the skin on — out of the oven, Garten explained that she does "two really important things" to ensure her poultry is juicy and succulent. "First, I slightly undercook it. If you overcook chicken, it gets really dry. And then what I do is I let it rest," she said. Wait a minute ... What? You don't need to be a trained chef to know that eating slightly undercooked chicken can make you sick, so why would Garten advise fans to do exactly that? Some of her followers thought the same thing.

"Undercook and chicken don't go in the same sentence for me. I'll eat my chicken dry any day over that," one Instagrammer stated in the comments section. But before you join the 21% of people who think Garten can't cook, let us explain her seemingly controversial advice.

No, Ina Garten doesn't want you to serve raw chicken

There's no need to add Ina Garten's chicken tip to the list of controversial things everyone ignores about the "Barefoot Contessa" host. Yes, her advice to slightly undercook the bird sounds a bit alarming, but she's not suggesting you serve raw poultry to your dinner guests. Rather, Garten wants you to pull the chicken from the oven a few minutes shy of the suggested cooking time, at which time you'll employ the second part of her advice: covering the chicken breasts with a sheet of aluminum foil and letting them rest for about 10 minutes, during which the cookbook author says they will continue to cook.

This is a process known as carryover cooking, which is when the chicken continues to cook after being removed from the heat source. Heat always flows from hot to cold until the temperatures even out. Because the exterior of the chicken heats faster than its interior, the heat will transfer to the undercooked portion as it rests underneath its foil blanket, making it entirely safe to eat while also returning the juices to the protein.

A meat thermometer is your friend if you're a bit uneasy about taking Garten's science-backed advice. Remove the chicken from the oven when its internal temperature is between 155 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, after resting and reaching the USDA-suggested safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it's ready to enjoy.