For years I would always wash raw chicken before cooking it until a few weeks ago when my girlfriend looked at me like I was totally insane for doing it. She said you're never supposed to wash raw chicken, then I looked at her like she was insane. I looked it up...and like always, she was right.

According to the CDC, washing can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen. Kill germs by cooking chicken thoroughly, not washing it. You shouldn’t wash any poultry, meat, or eggs before cooking.

At first, the whole concept sounds ridiculous but when you really think about it, it makes total sense. If you're not an extremely clean person while cooking, those germs can spread really fast.

It still feels really weird to not wash raw chicken but the CDC has more experience on the matter than I do so I'll just do what they suggest.


CDC's tips to prevent food poisoning.

  • Place chicken in a disposable bag before putting in your shopping cart or refrigerator to prevent raw juices from getting onto other foods.
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling chicken.
  • Do not wash raw chicken. During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken.
  • Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surfaces that previously held raw chicken.
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing chicken and before you prepare the next item.
  • Use a food thermometerExternal to make sure chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F.
  • If cooking frozen raw chicken in a microwavable meal, handle it as you would fresh raw chicken. Follow cooking directions carefully to prevent food poisoning.
  • If you think the chicken you are served at a restaurant or anywhere else is not fully cooked, send it back for more cooking.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken within 2 hours (or within 1 hour if the temperature outside is higher than 90°F).