There are a variety of thermometers to use for cooking. And they are not just for checking meat doneness. They can be used to check the temperature of baked goods, stages of candy cooking and more. They can also help with making good quality food.

There are several choices. Here are a few.

• Dial Oven-Safe. It can be left in the food while cooking large foods like whole poultry and roasts. Place in the thickest part of the food.

• Digital Instant-Read. Good for thin foods and gives quick results. Insert at least ½-inch deep into the food. Not oven-safe.

• Dial Instant-Read. Good for larger foods and soups. Reads in about 15-20 seconds. Place 2-2½ inches deep into thickest part of the food. Insert sideways into thinner foods. Not oven-safe.

• Pop-Up. These are for whole turkeys or chickens. They are made of food-safe nylon and are reliable within 12 degrees. Always double check doneness with a conventional thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and thickest part of the breast.

• Digital Oven Probe with Cord. This can be used in most foods and is oven-safe. The base unit sits on the stovetop or counter.

With the Thanksgiving holiday upcoming, you may have some turkey questions, too. The cooking time is determined by the weight of one bird, not the combined weight if you choose to cook two birds at one time. Use the weight of the smaller bird to determine cooking time. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the smaller bird first and then check the second bird. A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. When cooking two turkeys at the same time, make sure there is enough oven space for proper heat circulation.

In the midst of the busy season, be sure to take care with food safety, but don’t miss the opportunity spent with family and friends. This season is about celebrating relationships along with delicious food.

If you have any questions on these topics or others, please contact the K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County office by phone at 913-364-5700, stop by at 613 Holiday Plaza in Lansing or email me directly at

Chelsi Myer is a family and consumer sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension – 

Leavenworth County.