A cheap instant-read thermometer can help you save your money and your health.
The reason you so often see professional cooks with an instant-read “stick” thermometer in their pockets is that they are so darn useful. People who cook all day for a living use thermometers many times every day.
I don’t recommend a lot of equipment or tools, but people who want to eat healthy while spending very little money can benefit greatly from spending between $6 and $12 for one of these things. You don’t need a fancy one, although even a fancy one won’t cost much. Just a regular $6 instant-read thermometer will enable you to save many hundreds, or thousands, of dollars over the many years that they will work for you.
Of course, the first thing I think of when I recommend having an instant-read thermometer in the kitchen is roast chicken. Roasting a whole chicken is one of the easiest, simplest, and cheapest ways to eat wonderful, tasty, healthy food and save a ton of money! Sometimes those little plastic pop-up thermometers that come in some roasting chickens are not all that reliable. If one of those little things pops up too early, you could get very sick. If it pops up too late, your chicken will be dried out and not very tasty. And a lot of whole chickens don’t even come with a pop-up anyway. So get a thermometer for your whole roast chicken.
…and all your other chicken.
Besides chicken, though, the thermometer is so useful that once you start using it you’ll begin to see how it would have been helpful to use one all along, and you didn’t even know it.
Use your thermometer for all your meats, including meatballs, but besides that you can use it when making YOGURT, BREAD, PICKLES, CASSEROLES, and more.
An instant-read thermometer is not the same as a meat thermometer. I don’t even have a meat thermometer. You DON’T leave the stick thermometer in the oven!
“Why Use a Food Thermometer?” and other details about why these are such a good idea, from the USDA.
How to Calibrate Your Instant-Read Thermometer
“Do Pop-Up Turkey Timers Actually Work?” Spoiler alert: No, they don’t.
Video: How to Check a Roasted Chicken’s Temperature. “Happy roasting!”
You don’t actually HAVE to use a thermometer when making yogurt, but IT HELPS — especially when you’re first learning.
I have found it VERY useful to use a thermometer to check baked bread for doneness.
10 Reasons Why You Need an Instant Read Thermometer. “You’ll never know how you lived without one before.”