A cooking thermometer is an important kitchen tool that helps you lock in the best taste while ensuring food safety. Many foods must be prepared at the right temperature for best results, from meats and soups to casseroles. Here’s how to choose a thermometer that will help your food measure up.
Types of Cooking Thermometers
Consider the types of food you cook most often and how you prefer to read results to choose the right food thermometer. Options include the following:
• Digital food thermometers can read the temperature within 5 to 10 seconds, depending on the food’s thickness. A digital display is easy to read and is calibrated simply. But these thermometers can’t be used in the oven.
• To monitor food while cooking, use an oven-safe probe thermometer. It can be placed inside the food as it cooks. It typically measures temperatures from 100 to 600 degrees.
• Instant-read cooking thermometers are designed for soups, casseroles and roasts. Insert them 2 to 3 inches into the middle of the dish.
• Remote, infrared cooking thermometers register temperatures without being inserted into the food. It allows you to measure the temperature of meat without slicing into it. That way, you prevent moisture and juices from escaping.
How to Use a Cooking Thermometer
Follow recommended standards for cooking different meats to help kill harmful bacteria. To find the minimum required temperature, check the package for the meat or dish you’re cooking.
To take the temperature of beef, pork or lamb roasts, place the kitchen thermometer midway into the thickest part of the meat and avoid the bone, fat and gristle. For poultry, stick it into the thickest part of the thigh. For casseroles or other combination dishes, place the thermometer into the deepest portion of the food.