Thermometers help

Would you use the same kitchen thermometer for meats, deep fry oil, and baked goods? Or is the range too different for a single tool to handle this all? I’m thinking steak at 140 but fry oil at 375.

Also, can you rec a good one (or if I need more than 1)? I have a very old polder that I use for everything, but the display is kind of blotchy, and in any case, the temp goes up quite slowly when I’m trying to measure something super hot, like oil for a “shallow fry” which I did for corn dogs over the weekend. Thank you!

I do have a separate thermometer for the grill (both an ambient probe and a meat probe).

I use an infrared for oil, and pan temps. It doesn’t work on a bare stainless pan, but does after some oil is added. As for meats, you need something like a a thermapen. They have several models from about $30 to $100, the main difference being speed, features, and calibration.

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What make/model for the infrared tool, if you don’t mind saying? And you don’t prod your baked goods? I am doing a cake right now that has an internal temp for
“done” per the recipe…

My infrared is a Milwaukee 2267-20H. I don’t use it for baking… just relying on the recipe and a toothpick to make sure it is done. I also don’t do a lot of meat, and when I do, prefer it pretty well done so something like a thermapen or thermopop is not something I use (I just use my finger to test).

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Normally I also just use the toothpick method. But that doesn’t tell you when it’s overdone. My recipe book - Bravetart - supposedly is as popular as it is because the author was very meticulous in her recipe writing and testing. So if she’s going to provide a temp, I’m going to try to match it :slight_smile:

If you’re looking for internal temps, a Thermapen (or the cheaper Thermapop) will do you well.

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+1 on Thermapen. I have come to depend on my trusty Thermapen Classic.

ThermoWorks is the manufacturer. Their site offers sales and specials often.

For meat I think it’s also handy to have a probe thermometer, especially if you do a lot of grilling/BBQ where you want to monitor the temperature without taking the lid off the grill or smoker.

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Agree on the Thermopen for internals and ir for everything else.

I have two new fancy remote blue tooth probe thermometers but always seem to use my thermapen. I also use a William-Sonoma infrared for a griddle ( usually pancakes) and deep flying ( don’t know how accurate it is, but it works okay. ) I didn’t realize it didn’t work without oil!

I use my thermapen for all 3 cases you mentioned. Also use it for Stella’s recipes, as well as bread baking.

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Note that is only on stainless pans. IR works fine on non-stick and cast iron.

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I use the thermapen the most. Also have an actron infrared which I use to check temp of skillets for flat breads. For the occasional deep fry I have and old clip on, brand Ashcroft. It has a huge dial and I find it easier to maintain a temp with the constant readout.

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I am also a Thermapen lover! It works for steak, to baked goods. I used to use a toothpick, but now I use my Thermapen for baked items. I’m shooting for 200-205 degrees. I find there is a little bit more moisture at this temperature, and I like it!


Can I assume it’s okay with anodized aluminum and carbon steel? When not a non stick griddle or fry pan, that’s what I’m usually using.

In a word… yes. It is all about the reflectivity, or more accurately… emissivity: the efficiency of a surface to emit thermal energy.

A black cast iron pan has high emissivity and tends to absorb reflected or ambient infrared energy and emits only its own infrared radiation, where polished stainless steel or aluminum pretty much reflects everything (low emissivity).

The reason the oil helps on stainless is that is organic, and most organic materials have high emissivity.


Thank you!

Thanks for the explanation. I had a bad experience with an Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774 but now I think it might have been my fault or just a faulty model. I should try it again. The reviews said it worked for chocolate tempering and caramel, but I could never get accurate readings for those.

One thing to be aware of with IR therms is they can’t see thru anything… not glass, oil, or anything else transparent. Although the laser sight appears to shine thru stuff, you are only getting a reading from the surface of what you point it at.

So for any liquids you need to stir them well before taking a reading to make sure you’re not getting a measurement of the cooler surface as opposed to what may be the quite a bit warmer underneath.


Thank you for all the replies. I can’t believe there is a more or less consensus! When does that happen? I will be looking for a thermapen, and will plan to use it to measure temps for meat, baking, and frying. And if it’s too much for the frying bit (have to stand and wait too long for a reading), then I will look into an infrared device.