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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Safe Meals > Using a Food Thermometer

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Preparing Safe Meals

Using a Food Thermometer

Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator — Food Safety

Reviewed 2013.

Food thermometers help you:

Use a food thermometer every time you prepare hamburgers, poultry, roasts, pork chops, egg casseroles, meat loaves, and other combination dishes.

How to Use a Food Thermometer

Large oven-proof dial thermometer

Dial thermometers

Digital thermometers

How to Check the Accuracy of a Food Thermometer

Dial thermometers should be check periodically. Follow manufacturer's recommendations.

Ice water method

  1. Fill a large glass with ice.
  2. Add water to the top of the ice and stir well. Let stand for 3 minutes.
  3. Place the thermometer stem at least 2 inches into the mixture.
  4. The thermometer should read 32° F after 30 seconds.

Boiling water method

  1. Bring water in a deep pan to a full rolling boil.
  2. Immerse the stem of thermometer 2 inches into the boiling water.
  3. The thermometer should read 212° F after 30 seconds.

To calibrate

Turn the calibration nut under the dial until the correct temperature registers and re-test.

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