A meat thermometer is essential for those who want to cook their Sunday roast to perfection. By using a digital thermometer, chicken, beef, turkey, and fish can be confidently oven-baked to reach the perfect temperatures. They completely eliminate the guesswork that goes into roasting a joint and enable you to cook your meat to your ideal preferences. You can even use them for jam making, cake baking, beer brewing, caramel boiling, and for BBQs.
However, there are many decisions you need to make to ensure you land the perfect one, such as choosing between in-oven and external probes, ensuring it has a good display time as well as plenty of other functions. But don't worry! This buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know. We've also included a list of the 10 best meat thermometers in the UK that are all available from Amazon, John Lewis and Argos.
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Table of Contents
A meat thermometer is an invaluable kitchen device which measures the internal temperature of whatever you are cooking. The design features a metal probe which is inserted into the thickest part of the food and an LCD screen to display the temperature reading. This handy tool takes the guesswork out of roasting any meat but can also be used for other things such as making bread or jam.
The main thing to remember is that you need to insert the probe far enough to reach the centre. Just make sure you don't push too far when testing thinner items such as burgers and steaks. Wait for the temperature reading to stop fluctuating, then use a trusted internet source or cookbook to find the 'safely cooked' temperature for your cooked food.
For example, well-known chef Heston Blumenthal suggests reaching the following internal temperatures - whole chicken 75°C, sausages 70°C, well-done beef burger 70°C, medium-rare beef burger 55°C. Remember to wipe the probe clean after use and don't ever submerge a meat thermometer in water!
Nowadays, virtually all meat thermometers are digital, as they are much more accurate and user-friendly. So the main choice is whether to choose a 'leave in the oven' meat thermometer or a handheld one.
Leave in the oven meat thermometers feature a metal probe that remains stuck into whatever you are cooking and a heat-proof (very thin) wire that trails out of the oven attached to an LCD screen. These allow you to obtain readings throughout the cooking process, meaning you won't need to open the door, which avoids any heat escaping. They are quite temperamental, though, as the wires can break easily.
Handheld meat thermometers combine the LCD screen and the probe in one compact device. You do, however, need to remove the food from the oven before inserting the probe deeply into the meat/cake/bread etc., which can cause unwanted cooling, resulting in a longer cooking time. That said, this type of meat thermometer is easy to store, portable and ideal for BBQs when you need to test many small items quickly.
For an alternative to oven-cooking, consider one of these recommended food steamers.
Meat thermometers labelled as 'instant read' can take between just 1 and 10 seconds to display the temperature. While this might seem insignificant, keeping the oven door open for extra seconds will allow more heat to escape, altering the oven temperature and increasing cooking time and energy costs. Plus, having your hand above a bubbling jam pan or a searing hot grill will make a few extra seconds feel like a lifetime!
The instant-read feature only applies to handheld thermometers, as the ones designed to be left in the oven take readings the entire time, so you can check the LCD screen whenever you wish.
An air fryer will add another quick method of cooking to your kitchen.
The simplest meat thermometers have just two buttons - an on/off toggle and a button to switch between C and F temperature scales. These are simple to use, but if you are happy to read an instruction manual or watch some YouTube tutorials, look out for the following features to help you achieve the perfect roast or BBQ feast every time:
If you want to save space with a versatile piece of kit, check out our best multi cookers.
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Heston Blumenthal by Salter
Instant Read Digital Thermometer
Minimalistic, Chef-Worthy Meat Thermometer With a 15-Year Guarantee
Instant Read Meat Thermometer
An LCD Display That Auto Rotates and Gives a Reading in Only 3 Seconds
Digital Meat Thermometer
Multifunctional Stainless Steel Thermometer With Protective Tip Cover and Extra Long Handle
Leave-in Stainless Steel Digital Kitchen Thermometer
Leave-In Meat Thermometer With a Magnet-Backed LCD Screen to Attach to the Oven Door
Thermo Chef Meat Thermometer
Meat Thermometer Programmed With Six Meat Types and Four Taste Preferences
Instant Read Meat Thermometer
Simple and User-Friendly Design With an Extra-Long Probe and a 10 Second Wait Time
Digital Instant Read Food Thermometer
Innovative Design With Folding Probe and Printed Handle Featuring Useful Cooking Temperatures
Digital Meat Thermometer
Includes a Range of Pre-set Temperatures With the Ability to Alter Them to Suit Your Preferences
Salter Heston Blumenthal
Precision 5-in-1 Digital Cooking Thermometer
Meat Thermometer That Uses Dual-Probe Technology to Predict Cooking Times
SuperFast ONE Food Thermometer
UK-Made, Extremely Fast and Accurate Meat Thermometer With a 1-Second Display Time
Respected homeware brand Salter has designed this minimalistic meat thermometer exclusively for legendary chef Heston Blumenthal's range. Measuring temperatures quickly and accurately is essential in a busy kitchen, and this probe promises to read temperatures 5 x faster than similar models. Plus, its generous LCD screen is clear and easy to read.
With an impressive 15-year manufacturer's guarantee, this meat thermometer is built to last. Simply insert it 4 cm into the meat each time you want to test the temperature, then check the reading and compare it against the handy magnetic card, which lists Heston's recommended temperatures!
This instant-read thermometer provides a reading in only 3 seconds, which is a huge bonus when checking BBQ meat over a hot grill. The fold-down probe also means the thermometer can be easily stored in a drawer or hooked onto hanging kitchen storage.
Ease of use is clearly a top priority here, as the LCD screen has an auto-rotate function that makes the numbers readable from any angle. Or, simply press the 'hold' button as soon as the reading appears to keep it on screen until you are ready.
With a tip cover to protect the stainless steel probe when not in use, this meat thermometer has been designed to last and remain accurate. The multifunctional probe cover also acts as an extra handle to keep your fingers away from bubbling jam or scorching meat.
With just two buttons - one to switch on and off and one to toggle between C and F temperature scales, this is an easy-to-use but thoughtfully designed meat thermometer. It also provides readings within 3 to 6 seconds!
This leave-in meat thermometer features an oven-safe probe that remains inserted into the meat during cooking. It's attached via a thin wire which is fed through the oven door to the LCD screen and remains firmly on the outside of the oven, thanks to the strong magnetic backing.
This one also comes with a few extra features, such as the pre-set target option that allows you to program a timer to sound when the desired cooking temperature is reached. The dual sensors also enable you to monitor both the oven temperature and the temperature of the food item, making this a great purchase if you're a baker!
Next up, we have an excellent choice for those who often cook with a variety of different meats. As well as options for the types of meat such as turkey, beef, veal and lamb, you can also choose from well-done, medium, medium-rare and rare. It eliminates all the worrying and guesswork that goes into cooking.
Simply remove the meat from the oven when you want to check it, insert the prongs to get your reading, and when it's reached optimum temperature for the meat and taste you've selected, an alarm will sound. As a little bonus, it also comes with a 15-year guarantee!
At number 6, we have this simple, sleek design fitted with just two buttons - an on/off switch and a C/F toggle. This makes it extremely user-friendly, so it's a great pick for those who consider themselves a little technically challenged! The LCD screen is also uncluttered and easy to read.
The long probe, which is an impressive 14.5 cm in length, ensures your fingers will be kept a comfortable distance away from hot BBQ surfaces or bubbling pans of liquid. Unfortunately, the 10 second wait time for a temperature result does make this probe a little slower than some of the others in the top 10.
Next up, we have an innovative design with a collapsible folding probe, meaning the thermometer can be easily stored when not in use. The handle has also been printed with recommended meat-cooking temperatures! Just make sure you're gentle when wiping it clean to ensure the text doesn't fade.
However, while this is a nifty addition, those with less-than-perfect eyesight may find reading the text and buttons a struggle - there's a lot of information squeezed into a very small area! But once you learn which button is which, this should be an easy-to-use addition to your kitchen.
This thermometer features a range of handy pre-set optimum temperatures to help you cook a selection of meats perfectly - plus, it saves you time having to look these things up! You can also create your own presets so you can cook everything precisely how you like, every time! Once the temperature has been reached, the digital unit outside the oven will beep and flash to let you know it's ready.
This thermometer is a little more complicated to use than some others on the list, but it does have a few extra features, such as doubling up as an hour/minute oven timer. So, if you don't mind doing a bit of research, diving into the manual or watching a couple of YouTube videos, it's an excellent purchase!
This gadget-packed timer is perfect for those who love relying on technology in the kitchen. The 'intelligent roasting' feature uses dual-probe technology to register both the temperature of the oven and the probe to calculate the predicted end of cooking time - perfect if you want to keep your hungry guests informed!
However, it is worth noting that as an 'in oven' thermometer, this item is likely to suffer more wear and tear than those without a cable attachment, and, unfortunately, there is no replacement available. That said, you do get a 2-year guarantee which ensures that you will get a replacement product if it breaks within the first couple of years.
One of the best things about this snazzy UK-made meat thermometer is that it provides a reading in an incredible one-second timeframe. The display is also easy to read, thanks to the patented 360 degrees self-rotating design, plus it features a backlight and a motion-sensitive on/off function, ensuring a long battery life.
The thermometer is simple and easy to use, and those who have invested are thrilled with it. However, this quality comes (understandably) with a premium price tag, which is sure to put off all but the most serious foodie buyers.
No. 1：Heston Blumenthal by Salter ｜Instant Read Digital Thermometer
No. 2：DOQAUS ｜Instant Read Meat Thermometer
No. 3：ThermoPro ｜Digital Meat Thermometer｜TP02S
No. 4：Salter ｜Leave-in Stainless Steel Digital Kitchen Thermometer
No. 5：Terraillon｜Thermo Chef Meat Thermometer
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