Calibrate Your Cooking Thermometer For Accurate Readings

Calibrate Your Cooking Thermometer For Accurate Readings

How often have you thought about calibrating your meat or cooking thermometer to make sure the readings are correct? Most cooking thermometers — even digital ones — tend to drift with time and repeated use. Fortunately, they’re easy to recalibrate so you always get the most accurate readings.

The folks over at the LA Times‘ Daily Dish have a step-by-step guide on how to calibrate dial and digital thermometers. Dial thermometers require the most attention and need to be calibrated either in freezing (0C) or boiling water (100C) before first use, and then again every month or if the thermometer has been dropped.

Digital thermometers should be tested every six months or so against freezing or boiling water. Most digital thermometers have a reset button that will recalibrate automatically. If not, try replacing the batteries.

I’d never really thought about recalibrating my kitchen thermometers, but I’ll give it a try. Have you ever had to recalibrate a cooking thermometer, or do you think it’s much ado about nothing? Sound off in the comments below.

Test Kitchen Tips: Calibrating Your Thermometer [Daily Dish]


  • I think you had an article not that long ago with this tip, so I promptly went home to calibrate my thermometers. The one I used the most was my milk thermometer I use when making coffees (I aim to get milk to the 60°C-65°C mark). Turns out my thermometer was about 10°C out! I’ve calibrated it now, so I now have hotter hot chocolates/lattes without my thinking I’m burning the milk etc. So happy about that!
    I went to do the same with my meat thermometer, however this is a little trickier as it doesn’t have a 0° or 100° marking on it (only 77° to 88° or something), but I think I will need to do a side-by-side test with a calibrated thermometer to calibrate this. I’d like this to be calibrated so my sunday roasts in the weber are cooked to perfection!

    • Don’t use a probe to check milk temps. Use your hand/touch. Plus hotter milk is not better.

      Not saying you can.t make coffees but you shouldn’t need a probe.

      I use them for meats, large pieces for sure, great idea, small steaks…nah

      • Yes, hotter milk is not better, too hot and it will taste bad. I prefer my coffee as hot as it can be without scalding the milk and tasting bad, enter thermometer. I want to make sure that I make a perfect cup everytime. Sure after practice you can tell from touch, but I’m not a professional barista and I dont do it regularly enough to know.
        I actually also use the termomoter for making yoghurt, and temperature is very important in that process (needs to be held at above a certain temperature for the structure of the milk to change).

  • Food shops must calibrate probe thermometers every 6 months.

    Ice slurry 0 degrees
    boiling water 100 degrees

    Get a digital probe, not the analogue one in the pic.

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