How to Use a Digital Meat Thermometer

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Cooking meat especially if one is not a professional chef can be tricky and heat is an essential component that we need to get right if we want to achieve the flavor we desire. Plus, different types of meat conducts heat differently so you can’t cook them all the same way.

You don’t want to lose a good slab of meat due to the wrong temperature, do you? None of us wants to. Plus, there are also some health concerns related to undercooked meat especially poultry plus overcooked ones will just go to waste.

Having said all of that, we must utilize all the tools available at our disposal to our advantage. We must know how to use a digital meat thermometer whenever it counts. Here are a few tips!

Which meat thermometer works best for which type of meat?

First things first, there are a few types of thermometers and you should know which one best suits your cooking needs and habits. Let’s go through them real quick in this section so you’d have a general idea before we focus on digital thermometers.


Thermocouples are very accurate and quick to pick up the temperature of your meat. Their thin tips are quite ideal for poking through a variety of meat texture. But do take note that these types of meat thermometers are a bit expensive although most thermometers won’t cause you more than $25 and you cannot leave these types of thermometers in the meat while cooking it.
They are more ideal for steaks rather than roasting meat that requires you to leave the thermometer in like in your holiday turkey. Given their accuracy and fast reading, they can be ideal for deep-fried foods.

“Pro tip: Don’t measure the deep-fried food while still in the oil. To remove the food first before measuring its temperature.”

Dial Thermometers

These dial thermometers are the ones that you can leave in while your food is being cooked. They are not as fast to read temperatures though and are a bit more challenging to read compared to the rest of the thermometers on our list.

But these types of thermometers are quite ideal for hams, turkeys, and some other roasted food. A bit of an opposite in terms of function compared to thermocouples. You don’t have to choose you can have both they’re quite affordable.

Digital Thermometers

And now for the topic of our discussion, the instant-read digital thermometer. It’s got a reading speed that’s not as fast as thermocouples but fast nonetheless. Digital meat thermometers cost less and are super convenient to utilize.

They also can’t be left in the meat that you are cooking but will have probes that you may leave in instead for an accurate reading. And since these are digital thermometers, you get to reap the benefits of its innovativeness.

They usually come feature-packed. You’ll usually have more than one probe to use and will have a monitor for it. Monitors come with screens and panels that are easy to read and configure.
Some can even be connected with apps through your smartphone for better control and convenience. They are best for menus you cook in stoves or the oven, and most especially for grilling which if you ask us is its primary usage.

Features like presets for specific meat or delicacy are a huge plus for these types of meat thermometers that’s why a lot appreciates them. You may cook your food and leave your probe while monitoring it remotely as you relax and wait for the notification whenever it is ready.

Find the Best Meat Thermometer Reviews!

How to use Your Handy Digital Thermometer

Getting a good quality digital thermometer is only the first step in ensuring that your meats are cooked right. You need to know how to use it properly for it to be effective for you in the kitchen or the backyard when you’re grilling.

  • There are two types of digital thermometers. The standard instant-read digital thermometer and the wireless type. There’s not much difference just some key functionalities and certain advantages.
  • With an instant-read digital meat thermometer, you just insert your probe into the meat before cooking it. Don’t leave your transmitter inside the oven or near your grill and only the probe with its wire should be. It should have an LED screen where you can read the temperature and wait until it gets to the desired level. Make sure not to touch it after removing it.
  • With a digital meat thermometer, you can set up presets depending on the meat that you are cooking or setup a pre-set temperature that your thermometer should follow. Leave your probe then once it reaches the specified temperature your transmitter should give you a notification that whatever you’re cooking or grilling is ready. As mentioned above, you can multitask, do other stuff while waiting for the notification that your meat is ready.
  • Pretty easy steps, right? Well, here are a few other tips. Make sure to insert your probe properly that you reach the meat’s internal cavity. You want the part of your turkey or ham that can give you the most accurate temperature. Heat travels throughout your meat and it won’t have the same temperature throughout its body from skin to its thermal center which is the ideal spot. Be wary of your meat’s temperature gradient.
  • Make sure to calibrate your temperature regularly to get the most accurate results or readings. All you need to do is to prepare a bowl of iced water. This iced water should measure at 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees F. Always follow instructions from your meat thermometer’s manual.

Read: Where to Put Thermometer in Turkey Breast

Digital Meat Thermometer Buyer’s Guide

Now that you are quite familiar with how to use a digital meat thermometer then maybe it’s time that you check in on the features that you should watch out for when you decide to buy one.

Material and ease of use.

Make sure that the probe of your digital thermometer is made with good quality steel or any material that’s great at conducting heat and that is accurate.

Also, make sure that the construction of your transmitter is durable and that the overall digital thermometer is ergonomic. Easy to grip and handle that you can avoid burning yourself as you use it.


Accuracy starts with a digital meat thermometer that’s easy to calibrate. A meat thermometer should read 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees F. Also, it should at most have an error factor of 2 degrees F give or take.


Digital thermometers should be feature-packed. Should you get the wireless variety then you’re in for a treat. Test how audible the alarm notification is and how visible the screen is and how easy it is to configure. Also, any LED indicators should be visible enough.

Consider the range of your wireless digital meat thermometer too. This will enable you to get far from whatever you’re cooking especially if you do so outside the house and do some stuff inside.
An auto-shutoff feature is convenient so you don’t drain the battery of your unit fast. Programmable and preset temperatures are important as well as a timer and temperature hold features are cool must-haves.

Final Thoughts

A good meat thermometer should serve as a great assistant in the kitchen. Especially with the digital variety that’s quite efficient and have features that are sure to make your life easier.
They are accurate, reliable, and will allow you to do other things that are important as you wait for your meal to be ready. You’d definitely be better at cooking now that you know how to use a digital meat thermometer.
You’d be the star chef in your family for sure! So the next time you grill, roast, or use the oven, you know what to do. Try a good quality digital meat thermometer.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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