How to Use a Meat Thermometer: Internal Cooking Temperature Chart

Minimum Internal Temperatures for Meat, Poultry, and Other Foods

Digital Meat Thermometer

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Take the guesswork out of cooking meat and poultry! Here are tips on using a meat thermometer to measure the safe minimum internal temperature so that you know when it’s done, at peak flavor, and also safe for eating.

Meat and poultry are cooked and juicy at certain temperatures but become dry and tough if cooked much longer. Traditionally, judging when a bird is done roasting has meant visually checking the interior color of the meat while it is cooking—the redder the color, the rarer the meat. But this involves guesswork.

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To be certain, we recommend using an instant-read thermometer. Round-dial and digital instant-read thermometers are available from kitchen supply stores and hardware stores and cost from $12 to $20.

Instant-read thermometers give readings quickly, but they are not oven-safe and must not be left in the meat while it is cooking. Use the thermometer toward the end of the minimum cooking time and allow it to remain in the meat for only 15 seconds, at a depth of 2 inches or to the indicator mark on the thermometer’s stem. Follow these guidelines for accurate readings:

  • For roasts, steaks, and thick chops, insert the thermometer into the center at the thickest part, away from bone, fat, and gristle.
  • For whole poultry, insert the thermometer into the inner thigh area near the breast but not touching bone.
  • For ground meat (such as meat loaf), insert the thermometer into the thickest area.
  • For thin items such as chops and hamburger patties, insert the thermometer sideways.
SAFE MINIMUM INTERNAL TEMPERATURES FOR MEAT, POULTRY, AND OTHER FOODS
PRODUCT MINIMUM FAHRENHEIT
Beef
  Ground 160°
  Roasts, steaks, and chops 145°; allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Casseroles 165°
Chicken
  Ground 165°
  Whole 165°
  Breasts, roasts 165°
  Parts (legs, thighs, wings) 165°
Duck (whole or pieces) 165°
Eggs and egg dishes
  Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm
  Egg dishes 160°
Fish and shellfish
  Fin fish 145° or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork
  Shrimp, lobster, and crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque
  Clams, oysters, and mussels Cook until shells open during cooking
  Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm
Goose (whole or pieces) 165°
Gravies, sauces, and soups Bring to a rolling boil when reheating
Ham
  Fresh or smoked (uncooked) 145°; allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
  Precooked (fully cooked, to reheat) 140°
Lamb
  Ground 160°
  Roasts, steaks, chops 145°; allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Leftovers 165°
Pork
  Ground 160°
  Roasts, steaks, chops 145°; allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Stuffing for poultry (cooked alone or in bird) 165°
Turkey
  Ground 165°
  Whole 165°
  Breasts, roasts 165°
  Parts (legs, thighs, wings) 165°
Veal
  Ground 160°
  Roasts, steaks, chops 145°; allow to rest for at least 3 minutes

Source: 

USDA

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Any suggestion where can i

Any suggestion where can i buy this? or is this available at amazon? i need this. thank you and good day. !

Meat Thermometers

Sorry, we don’t sell this product.  Best bet is with Amazon!

Thank you for a straight

Thank you for a straight answer. I recommend this site to everyone. You give answers and I love that. I didn't have to sit here and try to figure on long It would he to cook my 33.35 lbs turkey...yum yum

I am doing bone broth and

I am doing bone broth and have a soup cooker that seems to cook things on the lowest setting below the safety level. Do you think it would be dangerous if the temperature was 156F for about four hours? When I put the bones in, I poured in boiling water first. The ingredients are really expensive and would hate to throw it out!

How do you guys work with the

How do you guys work with the imperial system?
Its so antiquated and has no logic.
I too would like to see a temperature scale in Celsius.
While you are at it can you change your date system as well? :-)

Thanks from Australia.

Leave the metrics to those in

Leave the metrics to those in the "old" world.

No disrespect, but can you

No disrespect, but can you imagine a pharmacy mixing Rx with oz.?? I don't know the Metric system, but we should have learned in school.

A quick suggestion . A lot of

A quick suggestion . A lot of countries now use the metric system

Printing both scales would be useful.
Divide FAH by 1.8 minus 32 will give you Celsius.

Gary

Thanks for adding this point.

Thanks for adding this point. We are a North American publication and reflect the system used by the readers who buy The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Your very interesting

Your very interesting publication came up on a google search for temperature of cooked meats, I too would have liked a metric also table

As an American, I also would

As an American, I also would like to see metric units. Spreading metric wherever possible is the only way we'll ever have a shot at leaving our antiquated system behind.

Gary, you got his wrong. You

Gary, you got his wrong.
You need to take the degrees Fahrenheit minus 32 and then divided by 1.8.

Kind regards, Steve

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