Experienced chefs know that the key to success in the kitchen is a combination of good ingredients, skill and science. Yes, the science of food, which involves making sure what we prepare, especially meat, is cooked to the proper interior temperature to avoid undercooking and possible food poisoning, or over cooking for dry, tasteless or even burnt results
That’s where a good meat thermometer comes in. This handy little kitchen tool will end up being one of the most-used items in your kitchen drawer. An essential utensil, it’s not just for registering the internal temperature of meat and poultry. Meat thermometers are also ideal for measuring the temperature of oil for deep frying, scalding milk and even the baby’s bath water.
Meat thermometers come in a variety of prices and styles, and the one you choose depends on your specific needs.
We feature the three best meat thermometers you can buy online. Read on to find the one that works for you.
Top Pick Best Mechanical: GreenRain 12″ Mechanical Meat Thermometer Instant Read
You are a busy cook, a no fuss, no muss back-to-basics kind of chef. But that doesn’t mean the food you prepare for your family is run-of-the-mill. No way. You take great care to make sure that your creations turn out perfect, not undercooked or worse – dry and burnt. That’s where a good meat thermometer comes in, so you are looking for one that is functional, reliable and easy to use.
The Greenrain mechanical meat thermometer is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to have to wonder if the batteries are still working when they reach for the meat thermometer to see if the Thanksgiving turkey is done. With a mechanical version, you’ll never have to guess again, as this long stem, waterproof model gives you instant results, no batteries needed.
This multi-purpose meat thermometer has a wide range of applications over and above using it in meat and poultry; it’s also a great tool for measuring and maintaining the temperature for scalding milk, making candy and frosting, and deep frying any kind of food.
Other features include a temperature range that registers between 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 550 degrees Fahrenheit (with an accuracy of ±5℉), which covers all stages of meat roasting and most oils for deep frying, and a large two-inch display dial that is easy to read and allows you to monitor your ingredients. The red temperature zone is for high temperatures and allows you to prevent food from burning.
A convenient, adjustable clip fits on its extra-long 12-inch stem for a secure attachment and since it’s made from stainless steel, it is rustproof and resistant to high heat. You’ll never have to worry about under or over-cooked food again.
- Mechanical thermometer doesn’t need batteries
- Multi-purpose temperature range is good for testing cooking oil
- Long 12-inch stem
- Adjustable clip
- Needs to be calibrated
Top Pick Best Instant Read: Inkbird Waterproof Instant Read Thermometer IHT-1P
Your large family has you cooking enormous meals every day, from chicken and turkey to roasts and everything in between. You’re looking for a meat thermometer that not only gives an instant digital readout, but is versatile enough to use with all of your recipes. You’re also not interested in wasting money buying a ton of batteries, although you prefer a digital meat thermometer to an analogue one.
You may want to consider this Inkbird waterproof instant read digital model that uses rechargeable lithium batteries. You’ll never have to run out to get more batteries in the middle of preparing a huge dinner. What’s more, this ultra-fast thermometer responds in three to five seconds. It doesn’t get much faster than that.
Accurate in its readings within ±2 degrees Fahrenheit and a temperature range of -58 degrees Fahrenheit to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be used for any liquid, food, meat, candy, chocolate, coffee, milk and even to measure the temperature of bath water.
The 250mAH rechargeable lithium battery can last 11 hours with a backlight once it is fully charged. With its 180-degree rotation foldaway probe and magnetic design, just stick it securely to the door of the fridge or the oven so it’s close at hand for whenever you need it.
So easy to use, too, just open it and it turns on, then fold the probe back in to turn it off.
- Instant digital readout in three to five seconds
- Comes with calibration instructions and USP charging cable
- Rechargeable batteries
- Large temperature range for multiple uses
- Charging port not waterproof
- More expensive than other models
Top Pick Best Wireless Remote: ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer
You love convenience. If there is something that will make your life better and easier, then you’re on board with trying it out. That includes anything to help you in the kitchen. Cooking is your superpower. Success turning out perfectly prepared meals is non negotiable and to do that, you rely on a powerhouse team of kitchen gadgets, small appliances and tools.
When it comes to a meat thermometer, you want to get ahead of the game with the most up-to-date model that virtually sings with bells and whistles. The ThermoPro wireless remote digital meat thermometer is just the ticket to meet all of your cooking goals.
This digital thermometer helps you eliminate all the guesswork so you can cook food perfectly every time. Equipped with dual-probe technology, this meat thermometer enables you to monitor two kinds of meat at the same time, or use one sensor as an oven probe to accurately read its surrounding temperature.
With a wireless remote receiver range of up to 300 feet away, you can be updated on the temperature of your meal while you mingle with your guests, do chores around the house or watch TV without having to physically check on your food. Talk about convenience.
Other features of this model include not having to sync after every use; a large easy-to-read LCD display that shows both food and oven temperatures; a back light for use in low-light conditions or if you’re BBQing at night; and a count up and count down setting ideal for long-time cooking. Oh, and did we mention that the receiver beeps and flashes when it reaches the preset temperature? Sweet.
The ThermoPro TP20 wireless meat thermometer also has BBQ preset temperatures for nine types of meat – ground beef, ground poultry, beef, veal, chicken, pork, poultry, lamb and fish – and their doneness levels recommended by the USDA – rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well done. And if you don’t agree with the presets, no problem, they can all be reset to your desired tastes.
The temperature accuracy of this meat thermometer is ±1.8 degrees Fahrenheit with a range of 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. Powered by four triple-A batteries, which are included, this little powerhouse does all the work for you.
- Comes with a remote wireless receiver with a range of up to 300 feet
- Temperature accuracy of ±1.8 degrees F
- Can be used on a BBQ, oven, smoker, grill
- Batteries included
- Dual probe technology, monitor two different meats or one meat and the oven/grill/smoker temperature
- No sync required
- More expensive than most models
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a meat thermometer so you will choose the one that best suits your needs:
If you’re serious about cooking or even if you’re just serious about keeping your expensive roast from overcooking, it’s important to have a meat thermometer. You can find one that is either digital or analog.
Kinds of meat thermometers
These remain in place as the food cooks. Insert two- to two-and-a-half inches deep into the thickest part of the food and read in one to two minutes. Use this type of thermometer for roasts, casseroles and soups. They are not recommended for thin foods.
These stay in food while it is cooking. You insert the stem into the food about a half-inch deep and wait 10 seconds to read the temperature. These are good for measuring the temperature in thin and thick foods, such as shallow-tray frozen dinners.
It is not recommended to keep these in the food while it is cooking. Instead, place the stem about two- to two-and-a-half inches deep in the thickest part of the food. Wait 15 to 20 seconds to read the temperature. Used in roasts, casseroles and soups, and can be inserted sideways in thin dishes.
These thermometers are convenient for grilling and read in two to 10 seconds. Place at least a fourth of an inch deep into the thickest part of the food, with the sensor in the fork fully inserted.
Ease of use
There’s no use making your cooking experience difficult. Meat thermometers come in a range of styles and features, so it’s easy to find one that you will use. If you’re better with large digital readouts, then consider purchasing a digital model. Be aware of the size of the readout window, so you can read it easily and quickly.
Analog models can be really convenient, since they don’t require batteries, which can be expensive and wasteful. An analog meat thermometer should have a large, tempered glass window so you can see the display at a glance.
Many meat thermometers need to be calibrated after each use. Some people find this annoying and complicated. If you’re not into having to calibrate your meat thermometer, find a model that doesn’t require it.
Fussy cooks feel comfortable when temperature readings are accurate, and rightly so. The internal temperature of meat is vital to it being cooked properly, and tasting great. The best is to look for a thermometer with the smallest adjustment for accuracy, preferably ±0.9 degrees F or ±1.8 degrees F, but even a variable of ±5℉ is okay, if you are aware of it and act accordingly when you are checking your food.
Not all meat thermometers have the same temperature range. Some offer up a full range up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, while others range between 0 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit. While most meat thermometers will get the job done, before you choose the one right for you, decide what you will use it for. If you are cooking foods that need to be a high temperature – for example cooking oil, which must be at an ideal temperature for frying – then make sure the model you choose goes up that high.
Analog versus digital
Both of these styles of meat thermometers work well. Analog versions do not need batteries, which makes them very convenient. Nothing is worse than reaching for the meat thermometer to test the holiday ham and finding out the batteries are dead and there are none in the house. You’ll never have to worry about that with an analog thermometer.
Digital meat thermometers are convenient because they can be easier to read for some people and often have added features like backlights, timers, beepers and in some cases, even wireless remote controls. They do, however, require batteries, but some models have rechargeable batteries, which makes them convenient and more environmentally friendly.