The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers information about the different types of food thermometers:
- An oven-safe dial thermometer gives a reading within a minute or two when inserted about two inches into food. It's inserted at the start of cooking, and is best for deep casseroles or thicker meats, rather than thin dishes.
- An instant-read digital thermometer gives a reading in about 10 seconds, but isn't designed to be used while foods are cooking.
- An instant-read dial thermometer gives a reading within 20 seconds and is most appropriate for deep dishes. It isn't meant to be used during the entire cooking cycle.
- A pop-up internal thermometer often is inserted by the poultry producer, popping up when the food reaches the appropriate temperature.
- A fork/thermometer combination tool is useful for grilling. It should be inserted at least 1/4-inch into meat, and will give a reading in less than 10 seconds.