food-safety | 8 mins read

How to Choose Your Kitchen Thermometer- Buyer's Guide for Every Budget.

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Kanika Jain

By Kanika Jain

What is a Kitchen Thermometer?

Whether you're running a multi-chain fast food business, or a small cafe down a busy street, both businesses aim to provide food that's high on quality and safety to their customers. One of the surest ways to achieve this is with the help of a simple toola cooking thermometer!

A kitchen or cooking thermometer serves a two-fold purpose- it makes sure food is cooked to its minimum safe temperature. This is the temperature at which pathogenic microorganisms naturally present in foods are killed. Secondly, by making sure food is cooked at the desired temperature, it smells and tastes good.

Over time, the kitchen thermometer has been digitized to offer more accurate surveillance and easy reading for quality checks. These instant read thermometers can be used during the cooking process itself, as well as to check the freshness of food in the inventory. A popular type of thermometer includes the meat thermometers that helps make sure meat isn't over- or undercooked. Undercooked meat is a dangerous source of pathogens.

Cooking thermometers are now a staple in every kitchen. By helping prevent foodborne diseases, they maintain food safety and thus, the reputation of your restaurant.

How to Use a Kitchen Thermometer?

Maintaining consistent food quality and flavor is a priority for every food business. This is why kitchen thermometers are integral to a restaurant.

A kitchen or food thermometer makes sure the food prepared is neither over- nor undercooked. When used to regularly check the temperature of food in the inventory, it also ensures that inventory items are optimally utilized and wastage is minimized. Such practices can produce a big impact and will make your restaurant known for its food quality standards.

Kitchen thermometers have a long needle-like stainless steel body known as a probe. This needs to be inserted inside the thickest part of the food to read its temperature accurately. The temperature can be checked any number of times. With the thermometer probe inside the oven, and the digital reader left outside, a cook can easily monitor the food temperature and cook the item to perfection.

Digital probe thermometers are very different from traditional thermometers as they are sturdier and can withstand extreme heat. Digital thermometers also come with a Bluetooth system that transfers temperature readings wirelessly to a mobile app. This allows a cook to keep track of the cooking without having to stand guard by the oven or stove.

To get the right temperature reading, it's important to calibrate your kitchen thermometer regularly. There are two ways of calibrating your thermometer-

  • Place your food thermometer in a container filled with ice water. Wait for 2 minutes and check the temperature. It should be between 30 F - 34 F.
  • Place your food thermometer in a container of boiling water. Wait for 2 minutes and check the temperature, it should be between 210 F - 214 F.

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4 Benefits of a Food Thermometer

A digital instant food thermometer is one of the best kitchen tools available today. It has transformed the way we cook our food, and particularly our meats. Some of the benefits of incorporating a food thermometer into your daily cooking routine are-

  1. Reports food safety concerns in real time- Automation across different departments in the restaurant has made compliance easy across devices. Food thermometers have also advanced with time and now are compatible with cloud-based food safety software like Zip HACCP. Such software allows the user to upload files, photos, and videos related to the preparation of food. This helps restaurant managers make sure employees are following standard operating procedures. They can do this by simply checking the Zip HACCP food safety app on their mobile devices.
  2. Maintains brand reputation- By receiving food safety insights in real time, food handlers will be well equipped to handle any food-related issues. Through an integrated solution, employees can monitor checklists related to temperature, follow correct cooking processes, and manage Hazard Analysis from a single source. This brings better visibility to the system.
  3. Keeps food quality in check- If your restaurant is known for its steaks, it's important to serve them the way customers expect them. It's hard to maintain consistency in the food business as it is, and even harder for small food businesses. But with accurate readings on an advanced food thermometer, you can guarantee consistency, and will never have to serve a steak that doesn't match your customers' expectations.
  4. Safeguards customers- Digital thermometers can help kitchen staff adhere to government rules and regulations around food safety by making sure food is cooked at the right temperature. In addition, instant read thermometers help improve the quality of food and enhance customers' dining experience.

What is an Oven Thermometer?

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Usually made of stainless steel, oven thermometers come with a detachable probe that is inserted into the thickest part of the meat. These thermometers remain inside the oven while the meat is being cooked. They make sure the food served is cooked evenly, tastes perfect and meets Food Safety standards. You can use the digital screen that stays outside the oven to verify the inside oven temperature in real time. Mostoven thermometers can measure temperatures up to 600F.

Oven thermometers are ideal for baking, roasting and grilling food. By helping cook food correctly, they make sure all that hard work invested in preparing a dish pays off.

How to Choose a Kitchen Thermometer

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Your restaurant needs a kitchen thermometer, but you don't know how to select one. Here are 4 tips that can help you choose the right device-

1. Should produce reliable temperature readings- There are hundreds of digital instant read thermometers in the market, but only a few produce accurate food temperature readings every time. If your ice bath calibration test shows a different set temperature each time, then your thermometer is unreliable and you should change it immediately as it can affect your cooking.

2. Should have a good resolution- If the thermometer can display the hundredth of a degree (two digits after the decimal), it can measure temperature precisely.

3. Should check temperature instantly- At a restaurant, with customers waiting for their food, your thermometer shouldn't take forever to reach a certain degree of internal temperature.
Instant read thermometers should record temperatures in real time so that you know exactly when to take the dish off the heat.

4. Should issue alerts- You can get distracted with other tasks while your food is cooking. A digital thermometer that notifies users with alerts can draw their attention to the oven or grill when the food is ready to be taken out. This feature is a potential food saver, preventing it from overcooking and burning. It can also assist in Hazard Analysis by making sure food isn't undercooked.

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Top 5 types of Kitchen Thermometers for Restaurants

There are different kinds of kitchen thermometers meant for different purposes, and commercial kitchens make use of more than one type.

5 common types of kitchen thermometers are-

  1. Probe thermometer- These look like regular digital thermometers that are used to check our body temperature. Such thermometers read the internal temperature of meat when they have been cooked. They have a stainless steel probe, a display screen, and a digital sensor.
  2. Bimetallic thermometer- These are traditional, cost-effective kitchen thermometers. But they need to be calibrated time and time again so that they can display the correct temperature. These are widely used in home kitchens and by bakers.
  3. Digital probe thermometer- Such thermometers are widely used in commercial kitchens or at big events serving large groups. The probe on this thermometer is not directly attached to the display system, but connected to it with a metallic wire. The temperature reading travels from the probe to the display this way. You can cook your food with the probe inside the meat for accurate information.
  4. Candy thermometer- This thermometer is usually long and cylindrical in shape and used to determine the temperature of oils meant for frying, boiling sugar, chocolate, or sauces. It calculates a high heat range.
  5. Infrared thermometer- You can check the temperature of your cooking equipment by placing the thermometer near its surface. It allows you to measure temperatures from a distance through a thermal radiation system. It is also used for quick temperature checks of cooked food.

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Food Safety FAQs

1. When and how to keep cooked food in the refrigerator?
If cooked food is not meant to be consumed right away, you must cool it down and keep it at room temperature before placing it in the fridge. If you place hot food straight into the fridge, the overall temperature of the fridge rises. This increases the possibility of bacterial growth in the food and affects Food Safety.

2. What is the technique to defrost food?

You can begin with transferring the food from the freezer to a fridge. This way the food temperature remains at 5 degrees C, maintaining food safety. You can also defrost food you need to cook immediately by putting it in the microwave.

3. What are the ways to check the correct temperature of food?
With the help of the calibrated probe Zip HACCP thermometer system, you can monitor and record the temperature readings of your food anywhere, anytime through your mobile app. You must insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat to get the most accurate temperature for Hazard Analysis.

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See what our customers are saying about us.

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"Our customer's trust is what keeps us in business. They expect fresh tasting food with no threat of ill-born diseases. Zip HACCP keeps us compliant with HACCP and FDA regulations through its integrated temperature solutions, food safety assurance, and end-to-end task reporting. We also use Zip Inventory to save time on inventory counts and have much-needed predictability to our ordering process. The Hubworks business management apps are perfect for our restaurants."


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