Wonder if your burger is done? Or your steak? How about that loaf of bread? Never guess again -- and never overcook things "just to be safe."

Instant Read Thermometer Temperatures

At first, I called my instant-read thermometer a “meat and yogurt thermometer” because that was pretty much all I used it for.

But I now use it for so much more — not just meat and yogurt, but fish, bread, stuffing, cakes, casseroles and more.  I used to worry about many foods being underdone and giving us food poisoning, so I’d cook them until I was sure they were done.  That usually meant that they were actually overdone.  By using the thermometer, it’s rare that we have dry and tasteless food any more — or bread that’s a bit gooey in the middle.  It’s really helpful if you’re baking with an Omnia Stove Top Oven and foods don’t get as brown as you’re accustomed to.

My problem, though, was that I never had a single list of ideal temperatures.  I started with a printout of the FDA list, and then kept scribbling in other temps as I learned what worked best for various dishes.  Or I’d write it on the recipe.  Sometimes a recipe would even tell me the temperature!  Other times, I’d stick a Post-It note somewhere.  And then I had to find it again when I wanted it.

I finally gathered all my notes up and typed all the temperatures up into one single page, which I printed and taped inside a door right over my main counter.  And I made it into a PDF so you can download a copy and either keep it on a Kindle or tablet, or print it out and post it.  I’ll send you the links in an email.

Don’t have a thermometer? Here are my two faves (links are to Amazon): this digital one shown in the photo above is good if you can get batteries; this analog one is great if you can’t.

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  • Diane
    Posted at 24 September 2013 Reply

    Geez, Girlfriend…you just never run out of ways to be helpful to your fellow cruisers! Thanks so much for this…will be very useful 🙂

    BTW – how ya healin’ ????

  • Vala Richmond
    Posted at 26 September 2013 Reply

    Love it, love it – I never remember the right temps either – thanks! I will have to add a section for Tea though – if you are making black tea it’s easy – use boiling (or 210) – but if you want green tea, or white or an oolong you have to use lower temps (like from 160 to 180). without a thermometer I always use the water way too hot…

  • Chani Wellborn
    Posted at 18 October 2013 Reply

    YES- this is amazing. Thank you! I never know what temp things should really be…

  • Diane Sullivan
    Posted at 18 October 2013 Reply

    This looks good. Will have to try it. Thanks!

  • Diane Sullivan
    Posted at 18 October 2013 Reply

    Looks good, I’ll check this out.

  • Michele
    Posted at 27 June 2014 Reply

    What instant thermometer do you suggest?


  • Sailing with Totem
    Posted at 18 August 2014 Reply

    So true- we use ours for everything from baking (I have a pound cake that’s best taken from the oven at a certain internal temp) to yogurt-making to settling bets! Our instant read is a tether that plugs into a small base unit I can use as a timer, or preprogram different temps. Love it.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 18 August 2014 Reply

      Want to hear more about settling bets with the instant read thermometer 🙂

    • Sailing with Totem
      Posted at 19 August 2014 Reply

      oh, just garden variety “how hot do you think this is” stuff. You should see what happened after we got the infrared thermometer. MAN!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 19 August 2014 Reply

      Oh yeah, the infrared! Much less messy than saying “do you think we could fry an egg on this teak deck?” 🙂

  • cyndy
    Posted at 11 May 2017 Reply

    My friend you are amazing! Printed 2 copies. 1 got folded, laminated and attached to the inside cover of my boat galley cookbook, the other got placed in a sleeve in my personal cookbook which is a sacred place! LOL
    Seriously, this will save me a lot of guesswork. And to think I just now found it!
    Thank you for reposting things like this that we may not have thought to look for on the site. Who knew?

  • Patricia L. McMullen
    Posted at 21 November 2017 Reply

    I’ve had a couple not so great digital thermometers that have not really worked. I’ll give this one a try

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