UACES Facebook Kitchen Thermometers Essential For Food Safety

Kitchen Thermometers Essential For Food Safety

Food Safety Temperatures

Benton, Ark. – 

Kitchen Thermometers Essential for Food Safety

Kitchen thermometers are a kitchen tool everyone should have in their utensil drawer and use regularly. They are essential when cooking meat, poultry, and egg products to prevent under cooking, know that your food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature, and also to  prevent foodborne illness.

It is the only reliable way to determine that your meat, poultry, and egg products are cooked to the correct temperature. Most pathogens are destroyed between 140 and 165 °F.

Unfortunately, research shows that many consumers judge the color of the food to see if it is done instead of using the most reliable method of a thermometer. Some say they go by recommended cooking times, and trust their experience and judgment. This can be misleading and wrong. Let’s look at cooking hamburgers for instance. One out of four hamburgers turn brown in the middle before reaching a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees F. so color isn’t always the best indicator.

So how do you decide what thermometer is best for you? There are numerous reliable thermometers on the market today; many which are inexpensive. Digitals, instant-reads, probes for the oven and microwave, disposable indicators and sensor sticks, pop-ups, and even barbecue forks are everywhere. They are high-tech and easy to use.

The Dial Oven-Safe thermometer reads in 1-2 minutes. Place it 2 to 2 and one half inch deep in thickest part of food. It is generally used in roasts, casseroles, and soups. This thermometer is safe to leave in the food while cooking.

The Digital Instant-Read gives a reading in 10 seconds. Place at least one half inch deep away from the bone. This one can be used to measure both thick foods such as roasts and thin foods, such as soups. It is not designed to remain in the food during the cooking process.

Convenient for grilling is the Thermometer-Fork Combination. It reads in 2-10 seconds. Place at least one-fourth inch deep in thickest part of food. It can be used in most foods, but is not meant to remain in foods while it is cooking.

The Dial Instant-Read reads in 15-20 seconds. Place it 2 to 2 and one half inch deep in thickest part of food. The temperature is averaged along the probe, from the tip to 2-3 inches up the stem; therefore, it must be inserted sideways. It can be used in roasts, casseroles, and soups

A pop-up thermometer is commonly used in turkeys and roasting. These one-time use thermometers pop up when the food reaches final temperature for safety and doneness. It is recommended to check the temperature in other parts of the food with a conventional thermometer as well.

Using a food thermometer is the only sure way of knowing if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy food borne bacteria.

So the next time you are wondering if something is done, reach for the thermometer that works best for you. You can test your thermometer with the Honey-Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken recipe below.

For your free chart to know the final temperature of most foods, contact the Saline County Extension Office, 501-303-5672 or visit us in Benton at 1605 Edison Avenue, Suite 15.  You can email me at, on Facebook at UAEX Saline County Family & Consumer Sciences or for additional tips check out our webpage at then go to the Living Well Tips link.  


Honey-Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or boneless, skinless breasts/tenderloins)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup honey

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil


Lay chicken into the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. Whisk soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, and basil together in a bowl; pour over the chicken. Cook on Low for 6 hours and chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

By Kris Boulton
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Kris Boulton
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1605 Edison Ave Benton AR 72015
(501) 303-5672

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