Before You Buy Kitchen Thermometers

A thermometer testing some meat
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No kitchen should be without a thermometer to test the doneness of meats and poultry to insure they are properly cooked not only to your liking, but to avoid foodborne illness. Although some kitchen thermometers will perform dual-duty for both meats and candy, it's important to select the right thermometer for your cooking application. The following information will help you choose the right thermometer.

Electronic Probe Thermometers

This type has a probe which remains in the food while cooking, allowing you to monitor the temperature externally without opening the oven. When choosing an electronic kitchen thermometer, you must first analyze your usage. Large easy-to-read dials, shatter-proof clear lenses and calibration options are optimum. Other options include dual probe, timer and remote beeper.

Instant-read Thermometers

These thermometers look like an extra-large needle with a temperature gauge on the end. Poke into the meat to get a reading of internal temperature within seconds. Most are not oven-proof, which means you must open the oven to check the meat. Look for a shatter-proof dial with large, easy-to-read numbers. Digital and fork models also available. Electronics are often not waterproof.

Candy, Jelly and Deep-Fat Fry Thermometers

These thermometers must withstand much higher temperatures than oven thermometers.

They are usually much larger and come with a hook to attach to the side of the pot to keep them from touching the hot metal. Temperatures usually range from 100 to 400 degrees F.