The only thermometer you’ll need (and yes, you need one!)
This post is part of the new series, Make Life In The Kitchen Easier (MLITKE), where you will find Revel-worthy tools and techniques that make your time in the kitchen easier, more efficient, more accurate, more fun, or all of the above. Stay tuned for more posts in the MLITKE series to come!
With the holidays approaching, we’ll be whipping up festive meals and goodies like nobody’s business. Baked goods, candies, deep-fried anything, as well as roast turkey and prime rib will be churning out of the kitchen. For all of these items, a quick temperature reading can be the difference between triumph and crushing disappointment. It surprises me to find thermometers unused, forgotten, or completely absent in so many kitchens.
One tool that absolutely makes life easier in the kitchen is the truly instant read thermometer: the Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen thermometer by ThermoWorks. I sometimes just cradle mine in my palms and beam at it (…ok, that only happened a couple of times).
The Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen is the best kitchen thermometer I’ve used, hands down. It may just change your life. No, I have not been paid to say any of this. It is pricey at $89, but it far outperforms all others and is thoughtfully designed to withstand the real-life rigors (and mishaps) of home and professional kitchen use. It’s a joy to use, and to top it all off, it’s cute!
Once you’ve used a Thermapen, quote-unquote “instant”-read thermometers are kind of a joke. Compared to the advanced commercial thermocouple used in the Thermapen, consumer market thermometers generally use a thermistor (thermal resistor), which is slower to register readings and has a narrower range than thermocouples.
Basic supermarket models take upwards of 30 seconds to
bang your head against the wall register a reading and don’t go above 220 degrees, so they can’t be used for deep frying, candy making, or other high temperature tasks. Most digital models are also far too slow, their tiny buttons are fussy to use and keep clean, and you have to explicitly turn them on and off (which you’ll forget … bye bye, batteries).
A medium rare steak falls in a window of only a few degrees (about 130-135°F/55-57°C). When you take the internal temperature of a steak as it’s cooking, a 3-second reading time versus a 30-second reading time can be the difference between tender and juicy or hard and dry.
Not only does the Thermapen deliver an amazingly fast and highly accurate reading in 3 seconds flat, it has a super-wide range of -58.0 to 572.0°F (-49.9 to 299.9°C), easily handling virtually any project you can dream up in the kitchen. It has a huge easy-to-read display and a smooth slip-resistant body that is sealed to withstand a hefty splatter of pasta sauce or even a dunk. The slick fold-out design makes it compact and less awkward to store (it fits comfortably and stays in my back pocket), and there are zero buttons to deal with. Zero. When you pivot out the probe it turns on automatically, and turns off when you close it, or after 10 minutes if you forget.
I use mine for everything under the sun, including carrying it around my house to find a warm spot for my bread starter to thrive, or my dough to rise. I still occasionally use a candy/frying thermometer and a probe thermometer for hands-free convenience, but now they are more of an early warning system. Once the temperature is getting close, I step in and do the real temperature checking with my quicker, more accurate, and more precise Thermapen.
I chose a pink one, but it comes in all these colors, and even zebra…
If you can reward yourself with a “holiday bonus,” the Splash-Proof Super-fast Thermapen is more than worth the splurge. Seriously. It would be a fantastic gift for anyone who enjoys cooking (I think I screamed when I received mine). I’ll bet it’s one of those things someone on your list has no idea they always wanted!
Check out this side-by-side speeed test of the Thermapen against several other “instant-reads”.
What do you use your kitchen thermometer for? Which thermometer is your favorite?
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