Why You (Truly) Need an Instant-Read Meat Thermometer

Want to make sure your meats are always perfectly done?

Reading temperature of meatTaste of Home

Instant-read meat thermometers are essential in any kitchen. For a home cook, they’re an indispensable tool for making a tender pot roast or crisp and juicy roast chicken, all without breaking a sweat. The beauty is that meat thermometers are so easy to use! Whether you’ve accidentally dried out your dinner in the past or—worse—undercooked it, using an instant-read meat thermometer will make sure your meals are always perfectly done.

Plus: Check out our favorite handy hints for the home cook.

How to Use a Meat Thermometer

Using a meat thermometer is a piece of cake. Aim for the thickest, meatiest part of your roast (like the chicken thighs, for instance). Digital meat thermometers read the internal temperature of your dish within seconds and then display it on an easy-to-read screen. Typically, they’re accurate within two to three degrees, so you’ll know if you’re where you need to be in the cooking process.

The reason why it’s so necessary for the kitchen isn’t just to achieve a moist and tender turkey; cooking to the correct internal temperature is a safety matter, too.

When you’re using the oven at home, it’s important to reach a safe core temperature in your meat, fish or poultry dishes. Doing so kills off any potentially harmful germs and protects you and your family from food-borne illnesses (like E. coli). Here’s a quick refresher on the minimum safe internal temperatures for various foods:

  • Beef, veal and lamb: 135°F for medium rare, 145°F for medium well
  • Pork: 145°F
  • Chicken and other poultry: 165°F
  • Fish: 160°F.

When to Use a Meat Thermometer

There are lots of different ways to use your handy thermometer—and if you don’t have one, this is a good option. We know they’re most often used for checking temps on foods cooked in the oven. But these must-have tools are for more than roasts! Keep a thermometer on hand whenever you’re frying in oil, too. Whipping up fries or corn dogs for the kids? Make sure to have an instant-read meat thermometer so you know when your oil is the right temperature for getting that beautiful golden brown crispiness.

You’ll never go wrong with an instant-read meat thermometer in your kitchen’s armory!

Next, learn how to cook with a cast iron skillet on any type of stove.

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Originally Published on Taste of Home

Camille Berry
Camille Berry is a food and drinks writer who divides her time between her native San Francisco and the UK. Her work has appeared on Wine Folly, Vinepair, The Back Label, in Spirited Virginia Magazine, and many other websites and publications.

Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was practically born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director at several of San Francisco's most well-loved restaurants. This hospitality experience has endowed her with a wealth of first-hand knowledge of various cuisines, how to pair all manner of drinks with food, and entertaining – plus some serious kitchen skills. She is both a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Wine Specialist through the Society of Wine Educators.