It’s that age-old question, where do you put the meat thermometer in a turkey?
You may have spent days looking at recipes, brining your Thanksgiving turkey, and finding just the right ingredients for some amazing stuffing, but if you serve raw turkey at your next Thanksgiving dinner, all that effort will be wasted. (Not to mention a lot of good food!) Fortunately, there’s a very simple way to make sure your turkey is cooked properly – just look in the housewares section of your grocery store for a meat thermometer. Follow the instructions below for proper use and rest assured — your bird will be perfect! Oven-safe or instant-read, a meat thermometer is a good investment in great taste!
The tip of the meat thermometer should be placed in the thigh, just above the lower part of the thighbone (but not touching the bone!), pointing toward the body. For the stuffing temperature, the tip of the thermometer should be in the center of the body cavity.
Whole Breast and Boneless Turkey Roasts
Similar to the whole turkey, you should insert your thermometer deep into thickest part of the meat, not touching any bone. (Bone conducts heat differently than the meat of the bird, so if it may give a false reading if they touch.)
Instant Read Thermometers
Remove the turkey from the oven and place the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone. It will register the temperature of your turkey within 15 seconds. If it needs more time, be sure NOT to pop the thermometer in the oven with your turkey. Instant read thermometers were not designed to withstand hours of high temperatures.
Oven Safe Thermometers
Insert the thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh before you put the raw turkey in the oven. You can leave the thermometer in during the entire cooking process, and check the temperature dial periodically while it roasts. If the thermometer moves while the turkey is baking, simply reposition it.
What’s the Magic Number?
Turkey and stuffing are safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Many like the deep thigh meat temperature at 180 °F.
Even if your turkey has a “pop-up” plastic thermometer, it’s a good idea to double-check with a trusty thermometer of your own.
Happy cooking! If you’d like even more helpful Turkey tips, download our free Ultimate Turkey Guide now:
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