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Can You Mix Raw Chicken And Beef?

Mixing raw chicken and raw beef: a safe move or a recipe for disaster? Here’s what you need to know before trying it.

You’re thinking about mixing raw chicken and beef—perhaps for a recipe you’d like to try out, or maybe as a cooking experiment—but you’re not sure if it’s a good idea in the first place.

So you did what any inquisitive home cook in your shoes would do: You pulled out your phone, searched the Internet for answers, and stumbled upon this article.

Welcome! Stick around, because you’re going to want to read what we’ve got lined up for you.

Can You Mix Raw Beef With Raw Chicken?

You shouldn’t really mix raw beef and raw chicken. You’ll have a hard time cooking the two meats to tenderness together—and the end result may not be entirely safe to eat.

Here’s the thing: these two meats need to reach a different internal temperature to be considered safe to eat. Beef is done at 145°F (63°C), while chicken needs to be cooked to a whole twenty degrees higher, 165°F (74°C).

This difference puts you in a tough spot when cooking these two meats at the same time: you’d either end up with tough and overcooked beef, or undercooked chicken that may cause food poisoning.

Save yourself the headache and don’t try to mix chicken and beef together, regardless of whether they’re chopped up or ground.

How to Cook Chicken And Beef Together

Alright, we’ve made it absolutely and positively clear that you should avoid mixing raw chicken and raw beef.

This brings up the question: If you’re planning to make a dish that includes both chicken and beef, how are you really supposed to go about it?

It’s simple, actually! Cook one of the meats first, followed by the other, while keeping the rendered fat from both. Finally, mix them together to combine the flavors. And that’s pretty much it.

You can do this in the same pan or pot; there’s no need to use separate cookware. Just make sure to cook one meat first and then the other.

When in doubt, start with the beef. After cooking, beef needs a few minutes of resting time for the juices to redistribute within the meat. Chicken tends to be drier and doesn’t need resting time since it’s cooked to a higher temperature.

And if you need to cook the two simultaneously, simply use two burners (or put one in the oven and cook the other on the stove).

Why This Guidance Matters

Raw or undercooked chicken can harbor Salmonella, a disease-causing bacteria that, if ingested in high enough quantities, can cause foodborne illness.

Raw or undercooked beef can harbor E.coli, also a pathogenic bacterium that can cause infection.

Foods containing Salmonella, such as chicken (and poultry as a whole), must be cooked to an internal temp of 165°F (74°C) because that’s the temperature at which the proteins in the Salmonella bacteria break down.

Foods containing E.coli, such as beef, require a lower internal temperature—145°F (63°C)—since the E.coli bacteria are deactivated at lower temperatures.

This difference can be a cause of concern over food safety when you’re cooking the two meats together. Since beef cooked to internal temperatures this high turns out dry, it’s also an issue of tenderness.

Should You Take This Seriously?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million Americans fall ill due to foodborne illnesses each year.

An estimated 128,000 of those individuals require hospitalization, and tragically, 3,000 individuals lose their lives. The highest risk of severe illness is faced by adults aged 65 and older, children under 5 years old, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems.

So yes, it’s crucial to take this guidance seriously and take all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

This is especially important if you—or someone you cook—for falls into one of these high-risk groups. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Bottom Line

Don’t mix raw beef and raw chicken when cooking. Cook the two meats separately, and then combine them along with the rendered fats instead.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.