Thermy: Types of Food Thermometers

Choose and use the one that is right for you!
 
Image of Dial Oven Safe Thermometer Dial Oven-Safe (Bimetal)
  • Reads in 1-2 minutes
  • Place 2-2½" deep in thickest part of food
  • Can be used in roasts, casseroles, and soups
  • Not appropriate for thin foods
  • Can remain in food while it's cooking
  • Heat conduction of metal stem can cause false high reading
  • Some models can be calibrated; check manufacturer's instructions

Image of Digital Instant-Read Thermometer Digital Instant-Read (Thermistor)
  • Reads in 10 seconds
  • Place at least "½" deep
  • Gives fast reading
  • Can measure temperature in thin and thick foods
  • Not designed to remain in food while it's cooking
  • Check internal temperature of food near the end of cooking time
  • Some models can be calibrated; check manufacturer's instructions
  • Available in "kitchen" stores

Image of Thermometer-Fork Combination Thermometer Thermometer-Fork Combination
  • Reads in 2-10 seconds
  • Place at least "¼" deep in thickest part of food
  • Can be used in most foods
  • Not designed to remain in food while it is cooking
  • Sensor in tine of fork must be fully inserted
  • Check internal temperature of food near end of cooking time
  • Cannot be calibrated
  • Convenient for grilling

Image of Dial Instant-Read Thermometer Dial Instant-Read (Bimetal)
  • Reads in 15-20 seconds
  • Place 2-2½" deep in thickest part of food
  • Can be used in roasts, casseroles, and soups
  • Temperature is averaged along probe, from tip to 2-3" up the stem
  • Cannot measure thin foods unless inserted sideways
  • Not designed to remain in food while it is cooking
  • Use to check the internal temperature of a food at the end of cooking time
  • Some models can be calibrated; check manufacturer's instructions
  • Readily available in stores

Image of Thermocouple Thermometer Thermocouple
  • Reads in 2-5 seconds
  • Place ¼" or deeper, as needed
  • Gives fastest reading
  • Good for measuring temperatures of thick and thin foods
  • Not designed to remain in food while it's cooking
  • Check internal temperature of food near the end of cooking time
  • Can be calibrated
  • More costly; may be difficult for consumers to find in stores

Image of Disposable Temperature Indicator Disposable Temperature Indicators (Single-use)
  • Reads in 5-10 seconds
  • Place approximately ½" deep (follow manufacturer's directions)
  • Designed to be used only once
  • Designed for specific temperature ranges
  • Should only be used with food for which they are intended
  • Temperature-sensitive material changes color when the desired temperature is reached

Image of Pop-Up Thermometer Pop-Up
  • Commonly used in turkeys and roasting chickens
  • Pops up when food reaches final temperature for safety and doneness
  • Checking the temperature in other parts of the food with a conventional food thermometer is recommended

Image of Oven Probe with Cord Oven Probe with Cord
  • Can be used in most foods
  • Can also be used outside the oven
  • Designed to remain in the food while it is cooking in oven or in covered pot
  • Base unit sits on stovetop or counter
  • Cannot be calibrated
Last Modified Jul 23, 2013