I put a partially frozen (inside) chicken in my convection oven, set it to what I thought was 400ºF (200ºC) and left the room with a timer on. An hour later it was discovered the temperature was only 150-200ºF (65-93ºC). It was in the convection oven an hour! I quickly set the correct temperature and finished cooking it. I just don't know if the hour it spent in the convection oven on the lower temperature did something with bacteria. I cooked it to an internal temperature of 180ºF (80ºC) degrees. Is it safe to eat this chicken?

  • Welcome to the site. I've edited your question to be a little more clear. I strongly suspect that there's a question here that already answers this, but I can't find a good one right now. We do have good questions about proper defrosting, how long you can leave meat at room temperature, and even cooking frozen meat.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 18:56
  • This situation is a bit different because it's a convection oven, so it will heat the surfaces much better than a normal oven, avoiding some of the safety concerns at lower temperatures (similar to sous-vide).
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 19:04
  • @Jefromi Sure, didn't mean to imply they are duplicates. Actually this answer has better information than the last two links I posted, although once again, not aimed specifically at frozen chicken or convection ovens. Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 19:11
  • How did the chicken get partially thawed? If it spent little time in the fridge and straight to the oven ride you explained, then @ChrisSteinbach is right, and you should be fine. The extra time spent transitioning through the danger zone isn't alarming.
    – MandoMando
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 22:49

2 Answers 2


Assuming you thawed the chicken (to the extent that you did) in the refrigerator, and further assuming that it took less than an hour to reach a safe internal temperature, I would say you are fine. An internal temperature of 180ºF (80ºC) is safe by quite a margin.

The USDA recommends that home cooks do not keep food within the "Danger Zone" of 40-140ºF (4-60ºC) for more than 2 hours. This includes preparation and cooking time. If you thawed the bird on the kitchen counter, or if your chicken accompanied you on a long journey from the supermarket in an unfrozen state, you'll have to factor that time in.

As @Jefromi's comment on another answer notes, simply reaching a high enough internal temperature is not a guarantee of safety since some microbes produce toxins that are heat-stable.


No, do not eat food that has slowly passed through the danger zone.

In my food handler classes I learned that any food that quickly moves from HOT --> Cold is safe, and visa versa. However, it is un-safe to eat food that has slowly moved through the temperature zones.

IMO eat at your own risk.

edit for corrections

  • 2
    The danger zone is from 40F to 140F, and even the initial baking temperature was above this.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 18:58

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