How to use a meat thermometer

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How to use a meat thermometer
Roasted meat needs to be cooked to the correct temperature. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

No matter what your recipe says, the best way to tell if meat is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. These are generally used with larger cuts of meat - such as roasts - or with whole chickens or turkeys.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Meat
  • Meat thermometers
  • Oven thermometers
  • Pot holders
  • Roasting pans
  • Roasting racks
  • Pot holders

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  1. 1

    Push the meat thermometer into the thickest section of the meat you are cooking before you place the meat in the oven.

  2. 2

    Make sure the thermometer is not touching bone, but is embedded deeply in the meat itself.

  3. 3

    Put the meat in the oven at the recommended temperature.

  4. 4

    Leave the meat thermometer in the meat throughout the cooking process.

  5. 5

    Check the meat thermometer as soon as the recommended cooking time for the cut of meat you are preparing is almost finished. The reading on the thermometer - check the levels for the kind of meat you are cooking - will indicate when the meat is cooked throughout.

Tips and warnings

  • Meat thermometers come in a variety of styles, including dial types, probes and stand-up types of thermometers. Some probe thermometers allow you to connect the thermometer to a countertop unit that gives you the temperature reading without having to open the oven. Microwave-safe meat thermometers are also available.
  • Get a meat thermometer that is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
  • Meat thermometers can be used for things other than measuring the temperature of meat. Some can - for example - check the temperature of water to be sure it's safe to add yeast, or check the internal temperature of warmed-over leftovers to be sure they're safe to eat.
  • A meat thermometer gets hot in the oven. Use care when reading it or removing it after the meat comes out of the oven.

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