How to use a digital meat thermometer

Updated February 21, 2017

Digital meat thermometers are handy kitchen tools that offer an instant, accurate read. It's important to cook meat to an appropriate internal temperature so that it's safe to eat. Digital thermometers make it easy to check whether the meat is ready and they are often more accurate than pop-out or dial meat thermometers. Digital thermometers only need to be inserted about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) into the meat to provide a correct reading, so they're great for burgers, pork chops and chicken breasts.

Remove the meat from the oven or grill and let it sit for about a minute.

Turn on the digital thermometer's display box and make sure that the thermometer probe is connected to the box, if necessary. Some types of digital meat thermometers are cordless, so it's best to consult the directions if you're not sure. Slide the probe about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) into the thickest part of the meat, making sure not to touch any bones.

Allow the temperature to register on the digital screen, a process that should take no more than 10 seconds. Cook the meat longer if necessary, then retest. The recommended minimum internal temperatures for meat are 63 degrees C (145F) for steaks and beef roasts; 74 degrees C (165F) for whole poultry and chicken breasts; 71 degrees C (160F) for pork and pork chops; 71 degrees C (160F) for minced meat; and 63 degrees C (145F) for fish.

Remove the digital thermometer from the meat before putting it back in the oven or on the grill, as digital thermometers are not designed to be left in meat while it's cooking.


If the digital thermometer's readings seem a bit off, check the batteries.


Only use a digital meat thermometer on meat that has been removed from the heat source.

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