How to Use a Food Thermometer

Sure you can guess if your 2” filet mignon steak or beer can chicken has cooked through enough internally for safe eating. But why? Why risk food poisoning? Besides, that’s what food thermometers are for. And for as little as they cost, they’re a big investment in staying food-safe.

Here’s how to properly use a food thermometer:

  • Choose your food thermometer. There are several different types of food thermometers for different cooking methods: dial oven-safe thermometer, digital instant-read thermometer, dial instant-read thermometer, pop-up thermometer, thermometer-fork combination thermometers, microwave-safe thermometer, or disposable temperature indicator.
  • Calibrate your food thermometer and then test it using the ice water or boiling water method to confirm your thermometer reading is correct. If not calibrated correctly, it can read up to 30 degrees F off.
  • In order to get an accurate and safe reading, the food thermometer needs to be placed in the thickest part of the food, making sure not to touch bone, fat, or gristle.
  • For raw beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks, chops, and roasts, use the food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for, at least, three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • After using, in order to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria, wash your food thermometer with hot, soapy water.

With a few basic kitchen appliances, equipment, and tools, you can keep your family food safe.