Correct Food Thermometer Placement

Reviewed by Wendy Marcason, RDN
food thermometer in turkey

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Food thermometer placement is extremely important in order to guarantee your food is cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and should not be touching bone, fat or gristle. Begin checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before the food is expected to be "done." Note that for safety and quality, meat must rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.

Use the chart below for a complete list of correct thermometer placement:

Food Thermometer Placement
Beef, Pork or Lamb Roasts Insert in center of the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle.
Hamburgers, Steaks or Chops Insert in the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle.
Whole Poultry Insert in thickest part of thigh, avoiding bone.
Whole Turkey Insert in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest area, avoiding bone.
Poultry Parts Insert in the thickest area, avoiding bone.
Ground Meat and Poultry Insert in the thickest area of meatloaf or patty; with thin patties, insert sideways reaching the very center with the stem.
Egg Dishes and Casseroles Insert in center or thickest area of the dish.
Fish Insert in the thickest part of fish when fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Game Animals Insert in center of the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle.
Game Birds Insert in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Follow these six steps on how to use a food thermometer or watch this video.

Consult this chart for a complete list of safe cooking temperatures or the Is My Food Safe? app.

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