Where To Put The Thermometer In A Turkey Breast?

The First Step: Accurate Probe Placement

For best results, insert your thermometer’s oven-safe probe ( a DOT® with a Pro-Series® High Temp Straight Penetration probe [included with every DOT]) into the deepest part of the turkey breast, avoiding bone. You want an even layer of meat above and below the probe so that it’s evenly surrounded by the meat.

Because bones have different thermal characteristics from meat, it’s important to avoid them. For the meat itself, a probe resting against a bone will not provide an accurate temperature reading. Additionally, the bones are not in the bird’s thermal center.

Where To Put The Thermometer In A Turkey Breast?

  • Insert the probe horizontally, from near the neck cavity.
  • The probe’s tip should be about 1/2 to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.5 cm) from the internal cavity of the bird to avoid touching the bone.
  • You can now use the probe to monitor the breast’s internal temperature as it cooks. Keep in mind that the temperatures at which the breast and leg should be cooked should differ, but the breast is the one that will dry out if overcooked. So be sure to temp that breast! If you want to learn more about the differences between white and dark meat, read our in-depth post on turkey.

    Instant Read Thermometer vs. Leave-In Thermometer

    Where To Put The Thermometer In A Turkey Breast?

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    A thermometer that reads temperatures instantly is known as an instant read thermometer. Most instant read thermometers have a stainless steel probe that is inserted into food and a handle that shows the temperature. (We tried a ton of instant read thermometers in search of the best one, and this one was by far our favorite.)

    A leave-in thermometer is equally aptly named: It’s a thermometer that you leave in the meat during the cooking process. Some leave-in thermometers have an analog face and a stainless steel probe. Others are more complex, with an oven-proof wire that connects the probe to a device that sits outside of your oven. (Psssst: This one has more than 2,000 5-star reviews).

    Where To Put The Thermometer In A Turkey Breast?

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    A digital instant read thermometer will display the temperature in numerals, much like a digital watch, so should you get one of those or an analog one? An analog one has a more traditional face, like a clock.

    Analog thermometers (like this top-rated one, which is just $11 on Amazon) must be calibrated to ensure an accurate reading. To calibrate your analog thermometer, submerge the stem in ice water and let it sit for a few minutes. If the dial does not read 32°, use a small wrench to loosen the nut behind the dial. Then rotate the dial to the correct temperature.

    Related: How to Perfectly Cook a Turkey in the Oven

    Why Do You Have to Measure the Internal Temperature?

    A temperature gradient is the cause of why you shouldn’t take the turkey’s exterior temperature. The temperature difference between the interior and exterior of the meat is known as a temperature gradient.

    Since the outside cooks first (after all, it’s nearer the heat), measuring the exterior temperature isn’t a reliable way to assess the level of doneness throughout the bird.

    You can also blame a temperature gradient for that: Have you ever taken a pie out of the oven, admired the beautifully baked top crust, and then cut into it only to find a completely underdone filling or bottom crust?


    Where is the thickest part of a turkey breast for thermometer?

    The turkey’s breast is the largest mass on the animal, and the thermal center will be located in the thickest part of the breast in the center. Because this area will be the coldest during the cooking process and your meat will only be as done and safe as the lowest temperature found, you must monitor the temperature here.

    How do you know when a turkey breast is done with a thermometer?

    Check these areas of your turkey and look for these temperatures to determine when it’s finished cooking: 180°F in the thigh 170°F in breast.

    Is turkey done at 165 or 180?

    Hold the thermometer still until the numbers stop to properly read the temperature. The turkey is cooked if it reaches a temperature of between 160 and 165 degrees F.

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