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Food Thermometers

Looking at a cut of cooked meat to determine if it's done is like judging a book by its cover: you'll only get a hint of what's inside. There are crude workarounds; some say the chicken's done when the juices run clear, or you can simply slice the meat in half and look at the color. But you immediately lose some of the deliciously juicy texture when you slice the meat, and judging doneness from juice clarity is relatively imprecise. You can eliminate the guesswork with a food thermometer, and they're not just for meat, either. You'll find an assortment of the best food thermometers for candy, cooking oil, meat and more at

Digital thermometers versus analog thermometers

Traditional food thermometers consist of an analog dial and a stainless steel probe. These analog dial thermometers are affordable, simply constructed and don't require batteries, but they're not as accurate as digital thermometers and require more time to move the needle and provide a reading. Many analog thermometers can be placed in the oven with the food. Digital thermometers are much quicker, usually providing an accurate reading in 10 seconds or fewer, but they need batteries to function and they can't be placed in the oven.

Candy thermometers, cooking oil thermometers and thermometers for liquids

These types of thermometers are meant to be immersed in liquid for extended periods of time. They're usually made of glass or plastic tubes that house a traditional mercury thermometer, and often feature a handy clip so you can attach them to the side of the pan and keep them in place.