Meat thermometers is an essential tool and a must-have device in the kitchen. Chefs and kitchen professionals use meat thermometers to see that the food gets the right temperature before proceeding to the next step in cooking or before serving the meal.

Meat thermometers come in varieties—they differ in structure, design, and usability but their mission is the same: to give you the precise temperature of your food. The usage of a meat thermometer is vital in ensuring your meat is well-cooked and is heated enough to kill dangerous and disease-causing Salmonella.

There are several types of meat thermometers available, and the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) has provided the list of meat thermometers that you can use and how to use them.

Dial Oven-Safe

The Dial Oven-Safe meat thermometer can read the temperature in one to two minutes. It is used in roasts (be it chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, or pork), casseroles, and soups.

As the name implies, this type of meat thermometer is oven-safe. Technically, you can use this thermometer while your food is cooking. Poke it in your roast and let it stay in the oven. To use a dial oven-safe meat thermometer, place it 2 to 2½ inches deep in the densest part of the food.

This meat thermometer works with a metal coil inside the skewer bit. When heated, the metal coil expands making the dial move, giving you the average temperature of your food.

However, this meat thermometer may not always be reliable in providing the accurate temperature as heat conduction of the metal stem can give you a false high reading. Also, this thermometer is not recommended to be used on thin foods or a thin slice of meat.

Digital Instant-Read

The digital instant-read meat thermometer is one of the favorites of kitchen experts because, technically, it can give you quick reading in just 10 seconds (or some, even less). Because it is digital, you will immediately see the results. Most models have LCD that illuminates so that you will see the results more clearly.

To use this thermometer, just place the probe at least half an inch deep in the food. This thermometer can measure temperature levels of thick or thin food. However, this is not recommended to be used in the oven or to remain in food while cooking.

Otherwise, the display will melt or explode. Digital instant-read thermometers are available in kitchen stores and the online market. The temperature range varies per brand and model.

Dial Instant-Read

Instant-read thermometers do not only come in digital but in dial form as well. It can read the temperature in just 15 to 20 seconds. Use the metal probe to poke your food 2 to 2 ½-inch deep in the thickest part of your food. This type of thermometer is not designed to remain in the food while cooking or in the oven.


This thermometer gives the fastest reading among other thermometers. It can read the temperature in only two to five seconds. Using the metal probe, poke the food ¼-inch deep. Thermocouple meat thermometers usually have a digital display that shows the result. Because of its unique features, thermocouples are typically sold at a high price and are not readily available in stores.

Pop-Up Cooking Thermometer

Another type of meat thermometer—the pop-up thermometer is disposable and easy to use. This is often employed in roasting turkey and chicken. Before placing the meat in the oven, put the pop-up cooking thermometer in the thickest part of the meat that you can quickly view when opening the oven.

You will know your food achieved the desired temperature when the thermometer pops out. Pop-up thermometers are manufactured with different ranges of temperature readings.

This thermometer can only check the temperature of a particular area of the meat. It is still recommended to use a standard meat thermometer as an assurance when checking the temperature of the food.

Extra Features for Culinary Success

A meat thermometer with added features is always favorable to many. Additional features can offer convenience and can even add up to the success of your meal or course. These features are not necessary, but they can come handy.


Newer models of meat thermometers have an alarm function where you can set a countdown or alarm when your food reaches the preset temperature. The alarm feature is ideal for multi-tasking cooks. With the alarm set, you will be confident to prepare other dishes without the worry of getting the meat on the grill burned.

Bluetooth/Wireless Connectivity

Thermometers with wireless connectivity are always helpful. With wireless meat thermometers, you can check the temperature of the food without actually going near the grill.

It is a brilliant feature that will save you from burns and from taking in a lot of smoke. Thermometers with Bluetooth connectivity will allow you to get a glimpse of the temperature measurement on your phone.

Automatic Shutoff

Meat thermometers with digital display usually use batteries to function. Thermometers with automatic shutoff feature will save you battery life. The device will automatically turn off when not in use.

Programmable Temperature

This feature will allow you to program your thermometer to get the desired temperature for mouthwatering food with just the right texture, flavor, and aroma.


A timer will allow you to set the duration according to how long the meat or food is to cook.


Clearly, there are several types of meat thermometers in the market. What you should buy depends on what you need. Are you fond of roasting turkeys and making casseroles? An oven-safe meat thermometer is what I can suggest. Do you want quick access to the reading?

Choose a meat thermometer with digital display. Are you a busy mom that wants to cook but have to look after your kids and run errands? Then a meat thermometer with alarm feature and wireless connection is the perfect one for you.