On test: The five best meat thermometers

Put safety first when cooking meat and use a meat thermometer to check your joint is cooked through. We put them to the test and came up with our top five.

If you have trouble cooking rare beef or worry that your roast chicken or turkey might not be fully cooked, a meat thermometer takes all the guesswork out for you. Here are some of our favourites from across a range of prices that are quick to respond, easy to read, and just in time for Christmas lunch. Remember to test the thickest part of the meat, away from bones for the most accurate reading. Digital probes can’t be immersed in water so a good tip is to clean them with an antibacterial wipe.

lakeland meat thermometerMeat thermometer

For a no-frills version, this is straightforward with a large, easy to read dial. You just plunge the probe of the stainless steel thermometer into the thickest part of the cooked meat or poultry once it comes out of the oven and you will soon get a reading. The guide on the dial gives the optimum target temperature for ham, veal, pork, lamb and poultry as well as options for rare, medium and well done beef. The temperature range graduates from 54C-88C /130F to 190F.

Ikea meat thermometerFantast digital meat thermometer and timer

You may not be using your meat thermometer everyday, so once you detach the probe with heat resistant cord this doubles as a useful timer and has a magnet on the back so that it sticks to the fridge. When using it as a thermometer just set the temperature that you are after, stick the probe into the cooked joint and the timer will beep if it is ready. This measures temperatures up to 130C/266F. This doesn’t come with any guide to temperatures for cooking meat, but we have one online. Batteries are not included.

CDM digital thermomterProAccurate Insta-Read ovenproof thermometer 

For most thermometers you need to take the cooked meat from the oven and then test it, but this reliable ovenproof version can be stuck in the meat from raw so that you can check the progress as it cooks. A target range for a variety of different meats from ham and medium cooked lamb to poultry is clearly marked on the dial, showing a range of temperatures from122 to198F /50to90 C. This comes with a handy sheath to cover the probe when stored.

£6.74, by CDN, from Amazon


Judge thermometerDigital pocket thermometer

If you are after a thermometer that is multifunctional, this comes in at a budget price, and offers reliable results for checking meat, oil when deep-frying, confectionary and jam and chilled food with a range of -40 to 230C / -40 to 450F. The stainless steel probe is covered with a lid to keep it clean and protected while in the drawer, and with a cord attached it can be worn round your neck if you like to keep it close by as you cook. 


Thermapen meat thermometerSuperFast digital thermometer

​Originally designed for the professional kitchen, this is now a great favourite for all serious cooks, so you are bound to have spotted it on TV cooking shows like MasterChef. The reading on this digital thermometer is virtually instantaneous, just three seconds once the probe is inserted into the roast. The wide temperature range from -49.9 to 299.9C means that it can be used to test the temperature of jams, caramels and oil as well as chilled dishes. The probe folds down like a penknife for easy storage (which also turns it off) and the antibacterial casing comes in a variety of colours.

This review was last updated in February 2016. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

Do you swear by your meat thermometer? Share your product recommendations with us below, and also keep yourself occupied with one of our delicious meat recipes

Comments, questions and tips

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Kingston James
13th Mar, 2016
I bought a food thermometer from Hong Kong when I was stayed there. The quality is very good but price is low. I would like to purchase it now in England. Would anybody can advise where to purchase it ? The brand of the thermometer : Value+ The model number : VT31B
28th Jan, 2016
My meat thermometer is a life saver! Really helps judge the cooking of meat to get it just how you like it. I recently swapped my old analogue one for this digital one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01958NL0S?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00. It's obviously a matter of personal taste, but I much prefer it. It is much easier to read - you can get it right to the 0.1 of a degree celsius!
29th Apr, 2015
I love my food thermometer. I got a very cheap one from ebay - it takes a little longer to fully register the temperature but no more meals still frozen in the middle while the outside is hot - and good to know when meat etc. is cooked how you like it. It doesn't have to be used only for meat though, knowing when my Christmas cake was cooked by the internal temperature was a revelation. Temperature guides in recipes is a very good idea - what is the internal temperature of a sponge cake?
28th Mar, 2015
I swear by my meat thermometer - no more dry pork, nicely rare beef - great! I also use it for things other than roasts and it would be very helpful if temperature guidelines could be added to your recipes.
8th Feb, 2016
How do you use a temperature probe when roasting a chicken? Would you put it into the thick bit inside the leg?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Mar, 2016
You push the probe into the thickest part of the chicken such as the thigh, or between the leg and breast but you need to avoid the bone.
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