The Cook’s Best Friend: Instant-Read Thermometers

The demanding world of ever-faster results extends to the kitchen in many ways with accurate, fast temperature readings being the most important to me.Instant Read Thermometer

Is the chicken done roasting? The bread baked? The custard cooked? There are millions of culinary occasions when you need fast, accurate temperatures. Think of that super-expensive holiday roast beef, Porterhouse steak, or burgers on the gill. You want to be absolutely certain, if you like them rare, to whip them off the heat source the instant they reach 125 degrees F. Then there are egg-based sauces when you want to be sure not to overcook the eggs and wreck your sauce.

A reliable instant-read thermometer may well be the cook’s best friend and secret to consistent cooking success. I have two mechanical instant-read thermometers and have used them for years with good results. They have several great benefits, not the least of which is price. They don’t cost much, are sturdy, dependable, plus you can often recalibrate them yourself, if necessary.

But I’ve discovered that when it comes to certain tasks, such as heating milk for yogurt, there is nothing like the ease-of-use and rapid results given by a digital, instant-read thermometer. It’s so fun to use, you can go a little crazy taking temperatures. For instance, it’s now 65.4 degrees F in the kitchen, 64.5 in my office, the dog bed airing outdoors is 80, the bread flour is 64.4, and the milk is 43.2. Hmmm, does that mean the refrigerator’s own temperature gauge is off?


Aside from her proven attributes as a dynamic professional who knows how to work constructively on many different levels, Penni is uncompromising in her sincere wish to see that other people are treated honestly whether with decent wines or good prose or anything else that we may need.

-M. F. K. Fisher

About Penni

Over 30 years as a food and wine professional, writer, and editor.

Cookbook author including:
'The Tra Vigne Cookbook' for Michael Chiarello,
'The Basque Kitchen' for Gerald Hirigoyen
and 'BurgerBar' for Hubert Keller.

Contact Penni Wisner