Types of Kitchen Thermometers

If you take cooking seriously, you are aware of the importance of accuracy. A kitchen thermometer is one of the most crucial tools in the toolbox of any home cook or chef. Using a thermometer, you can make sure that your meal is cooked to the ideal degree, making it both delicious and safe to consume.

Pork roast on grill, sunny day, grass

We’ll look at the various types of kitchen thermometers on the market in this post and discuss how to pick the best one for your requirements.

Kitchen thermometers come in a variety of varieties, each with unique advantages and disadvantages.

Instant-read thermometers, oven-safe thermometers, and probe thermometers are a few of the most popular varieties.

Before making a purchase, it’s critical to comprehend how each type differs from the others because they are each made to measure food temperature in a particular way.

We’ll examine each type of thermometer in more detail and go over the scenarios in which they are most helpful.

Key Takeaways

  • There are several types of kitchen thermometers available, including instant-read, oven-safe, and probe thermometers.
  • Choosing the right thermometer for your needs depends on factors such as the type of food you’re cooking and the level of precision you require.
  • Proper usage and maintenance of your thermometer is crucial to ensure accurate temperature readings and safe cooking practices.

Types of Kitchen Thermometers

Using a thermometer to verify the temperature of your food is crucial when cooking.

measures the temperature of freshly baked bread

Kitchen thermometers come in a wide variety of styles, each with special features and applications.

The most popular varieties of kitchen thermometers and their advantages will be covered in this section.

Digital Thermometers

The most popular kind of kitchen thermometer is a digital thermometer, which can monitor food temperatures fast and precisely.

Both handheld and probe variants are offered. While probe-style thermometers are excellent for determining the interior temperature of meat, handheld digital thermometers are ideal for measuring the temperature of liquids.

For busy cooks who must multitask in the kitchen, digital thermometers are also available with a range of features, such as timers and alarms.

Oven-Safe Thermometers

When your food is cooking, oven-safe thermometers are made to be left in the oven.

They are ideal for checking the temperature of roasts, casseroles, and other foods that need lengthy cooking times and come in analog and digital varieties.

Candy Thermometers

Candy thermometers are ideal for creating candy, caramel, and other sweet delights since they are made to measure high temperatures.

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Typically constructed of glass, they fasten to the edge of your pot or pan using a clip.

Instant-Read Thermometers

Thermometers with an instant read feature are made to provide you with a rapid temperature reading in a matter of seconds.

They are ideal for determining the internal temperature of delicate meats like fish fillets or chicken breasts.

Thermocouple Thermometers

Professional cooks use thermocouple thermometers because they are the most accurate type of kitchen thermometer.

They operate by detecting the voltage that two various metals produce when heated.

They are ideal for testing the temperature of delicate foods like custards and sauces and come in both handheld and probe forms.

Infrared Thermometers

meal surface temperature can be measured using infrared thermometers without making direct contact with the meal.

They function by picking up the infrared energy that an object emits. They are ideal for testing the temperature of things like grilled meats that are challenging to reach with a probe.

As you can see, there are a variety of available kitchen thermometers, each with special characteristics and advantages.

You can be sure that your food is always cooked to perfection by selecting the appropriate thermometer for your needs.

Specific Thermometer Types

Kitchen thermometers come in a variety of styles, each with special features and applications.

Food instant-read thermometer to measure food safe temperature.

Some of the most typical varieties are listed below:

Instant-Read Thermometers

Probe thermometers that give instant temperature readings of food are known as instant-read thermometers.

They are excellent for checking a piece of meat or poultry doneness while it cooks, but they should not be left in the food itself. Analog and digital instant-read thermometers are both available.

Digital Food Thermometers

The varieties, designs, levels of technology, and costs of digital food thermometers vary.

They are often used for quickly measuring the interior temperatures of cooked foods and are quite popular.

Digital food thermometers of some of the most popular varieties include:

  • Thermocouple thermometers: Of all food thermometers, thermocouple thermometers reach and display the final temperature the fastest – within 2 to 5 seconds.
  • Thermistor / Digital Instant Read Thermometers: These thermometers are very popular and can be used to take quick measurements of internal temperatures on cooked foods. Many are sized to be carried in a pocket or apron, which makes them convenient and accessible.

Oven-Safe Thermometers

Thermometers made for ovens are made to stay in the food while it cooks.

They are appropriate for foods like roasts, casseroles, and others that need a long cooking period. Analog and digital oven-safe thermometers are both available.

Candy Thermometers

Candy thermometers are perfect for creating candy, caramel, and other high-temperature delicacies since they are made to monitor high temperatures. Both analog and digital types are offered.

Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometers

Thermometers for refrigerators and freezers are used to gauge the temperature inside of them.

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They are crucial in ensuring that food is kept at safe temperatures during storage. These thermometers come in analog and digital varieties.

The best sort of kitchen thermometer to use will ultimately depend on your culinary demands and tastes. When choosing a thermometer, take into account aspects like temperature range, speed, and accuracy.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Kitchen Thermometer

The quality of your cooking can significantly change depending on the kitchen thermometer you choose.

Digital Thermometer BBQ, grill, barbecue for beaf steak

Here are some things to take into account when choosing a kitchen thermometer:

1. Temperature Range

It is crucial to take into account a thermometer’s temperature range. To cook different types of food properly, several temperature ranges are needed.

For instance, meat should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F and poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.

Make sure the thermometer you use is capable of measuring the range of temperatures needed for the meal you are preparing.

2. Accuracy

When it comes to cooking, accuracy is essential. Unsafe food might result from an inaccurate thermometer being undercooked or overcooked.

Find a thermometer that is highly accurate, ideally to within 1 degree.

3. Speed

Another important factor is how quickly a thermometer provides a reading. The best choice for quick temperature readings is an instant-read thermometer.

Within 2 to 5 seconds, they can give a readout. However, a probe thermometer might be a better choice if you’re cooking something that needs to be cooked for a longer period of time.

4. Durability

Another crucial aspect to think about when selecting a kitchen thermometer is durability.

A thermometer that won’t readily break and can endure the heat of your oven or grill is what you want. Look for thermometers made of durable materials, such as silicone or stainless steel.

5. Ease of Use

Finally, think about how simple the thermometer is to use. A thermometer that is simple to read, has a clear display, and is clean is what you should seek out.

Cooking may be more convenient with the addition of features like timers or backlights on some thermometers.

You may select the ideal kitchen thermometer for your cooking needs by taking these aspects into account.

Proper Thermometer Usage and Maintenance

Follow recommended usage and upkeep procedures when using a kitchen thermometer to ensure accurate readings and increase thermometer longevity.

Measuring steak temperature on a grill


Here are some tips for proper thermometer usage:

  • Always wash your hands and the thermometer before and after use to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food, away from bones and fat, to get an accurate reading.
  • Wait for the thermometer to stabilize and read the temperature. Some thermometers may take longer than others to stabilize, so check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific wait times.
  • For meat, poultry, and fish, make sure to cook to the recommended minimum internal temperature to ensure food safety. Refer to the USDA guidelines or other reputable sources for safe minimum temperatures.
  • For other foods, check the recipe or consult a food safety guide for recommended temperatures.
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Your thermometer will provide accurate readings and last longer if it is properly maintained. Here are some advice on maintaining thermometers:

  • Clean the thermometer after each use with hot, soapy water and a soft cloth. Avoid submerging digital thermometers in water or getting the probe wet.
  • Calibrate your thermometer regularly to ensure accuracy. Some thermometers can be calibrated at home using ice water or boiling water, while others may need to be sent to the manufacturer for calibration.
  • Store your thermometer in a protective case or sleeve to prevent damage and keep it clean.
  • Replace the batteries as needed and keep spare batteries on hand.
  • Check the thermometer for any signs of damage or wear and replace it if necessary.

You may assure accurate readings and secure food preparation by adhering to these instructions for proper thermometer usage and upkeep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Golden roasted turkey with meat thermometer, close up

What types of kitchen thermometers are available?

There are several types of kitchen thermometers available, including:
Instant-read thermometers: These thermometers are probe thermometers that allow you to take instant temperature readings of food. They are available in both analog and digital styles.

Digital food thermometers: These thermometers are available in several types and styles, and vary in level of technology and price. Thermocouple thermometers reach and display the final temperature the fastest – within 2 to 5 seconds.

Oven-safe thermometers: These thermometers are designed to be left in the food while it cooks in the oven. They can withstand high temperatures and can be used to monitor the temperature of meat, casseroles, and other dishes.

Candy thermometers: These thermometers are used to measure the temperature of candy syrups and other sweets. They can be either analog or digital.

How do I use a kitchen thermometer?

To use a kitchen thermometer, follow these steps:
Insert the probe into the thickest part of the food, making sure it doesn’t touch bone or fat.

Wait for the thermometer to stabilize and give a reading.

Check the temperature against the recommended temperature for the type of food you’re cooking.

Clean the thermometer with hot, soapy water after each use.

How do I know if my kitchen thermometer is accurate?

To test the accuracy of your kitchen thermometer, follow these steps:
Fill a glass with ice water and insert the thermometer probe into the water.

The thermometer should read 32°F (0°C). If it doesn’t, adjust it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fill a glass with boiling water and insert the thermometer probe into the water.

The thermometer should read 212°F (100°C). If it doesn’t, adjust it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I use a meat thermometer for other types of food?

Yes, you can use a meat thermometer for other types of food, such as casseroles and soups. Just make sure to clean the thermometer between uses to avoid cross-contamination.

Can I leave the thermometer in the food while it cooks?

It depends on the type of thermometer you’re using. Oven-safe thermometers can be left in the food while it cooks, but instant-read and digital food thermometers should be removed from the food after taking a reading.

Kitchen meat thermometer against pork steaks on a grill.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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