Can I Cook a Whole Chicken Without Taking the Giblets Out?

Not all processed chickens include a giblet packet.
Not all processed chickens include a giblet packet. (Image: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Giblets are a bundle of organs typically found inside the cavity of a whole chicken. When you buy a processed chicken, the giblets have been removed, cleaned and packaged. You’ll find these giblets in a paper or plastic sack inside the cavity of the cleaned whole chicken. Because they’re packaged, you’ll need to remove the giblets to avoid any contamination from the packaging.

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Basics

Giblets are removed, cleaned and packaged to increase a whole chicken’s shelf life and decrease the risk of bacterial contamination. Giblets include the liver, heart and gizzard of the chicken. Some packages may contain the neck, but this is not a true giblet. The poultry and giblets are inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the giblets are not graded. Giblets are high in fat, but also contain iron, protein and other nutrients.

Removal

Remove the chicken from its packaging and find the packaged giblets inside the cavity of the chicken. Set the giblets aside for later use or storage. You must remove the giblet package before you cook the chicken. Clean the chicken by rinsing it off under cold water and patting it dry -- including the abdominal cavity where the giblet package was stored.

Uses

Giblets work well in gravies and soups. The livers can be cooked separately by breading and frying. To use in soups or gravy, simmer the giblets in hot water until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Giblets can also be pan fried with onions and other seasonings for a side dish or incorporated into a poultry stuffing. Sauteed livers can be pureed into a paste and spread on toast for appetizers.

Storage

If you're not using the giblets right away, remove them from the chicken and put them in a refrigerator immediately. Refrigerated giblets must be used within one to two days. Frozen giblets can be stored indefinitely, as long as they’re stored below 0 F, but they taste best if used within three to four months. Thaw giblets using a slow defrost in the refrigerator, which takes about 24 hours.

References

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