Food

The $10 Kitchen Tool I Can’t Do Without

The Best $10 I Spent on My Kitchen

I recently visited a friend in D.C. and couldn’t stop marveling at the size of her kitchen. She laughed as my jaw dropped, but there was just So. Much. Space. Four of us could fit in there at once! We made pizzas! Since my total counter space equals the size of two cutting boards, I’ve had to pare down what lives in my kitchen. But there’s one tool I’ll never part with…

My meat thermometer is the unsung hero in my home.

When I started cooking chicken and meat on my own, I would hover over the stovetop and poke and prod with trepidation. Grilled chicken would end up the consistency of cardboard, and steak was to be gnawed at, not chewed.

But then I took an evening cooking class, and the instructor had a big takeaway for us. “The one thing you actually need in your kitchen is a meat thermometer. If you remember anything from tonight, let it be that,” said chef John.

If you eat meat, cooking is infinitely easier with a thermometer. It’s tiny and relatively inexpensive (I’ve read many praises of this $99 option, but the one I bought from Target works just fine!). It erases the need to guess when your meal is done, and since you don’t need to nervously cut into the center of the meat, all the juicy flavors are preserved. I’m a more adventurous cook now that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m under- or over-cooking my food. A thermometer is foolproof, and your meal will taste great, every time. What more could a home cook want?

If it’s helpful, here are the temperature guidelines I follow, per chef John’s advice…

Red meat — Rare: 115F; Medium-rare: 130-135F; Medium: 140F

Pork — Medium: 145F; Well done: 160F

Chicken breasts — 165F

Thoughts? What’s your desert island kitchen tool?

P.S. 10 ingredients to always have on hand and what to make for dinner when you’re pressed for time.

(Top photo by Gaby Dakin.)

  1. Chelsez says...

    I made it work for over ten years with a grocery store purchased near thermometer but then my brother bought me the thermals for Christmas two years ago and it is a game changer. It’s instant, it’s amazing, I have yet to overcook a piece of meat since I got it!

  2. Lori H says...

    Desert island tool – my microplane! A little citrus zest makes everything bright, or a dusting of fresh ground nutmeg makes eggnog perfect! And of course, grated cheese on anything and everything!

  3. My desert island tool of choice is my chef’s knife. Can’t do without it.

  4. Kristina says...

    J – I love that you wrote this! I completely agree for both the sake of all animals and the future of our planet!

  5. J says...

    I have been hemming and hawing over leaving a comment here. This is such a conscientious community, both in terms of the COJ team and the readership. I’m genuinely surprised that so many people still talk about meat consumption without batting an eye. There are many, many vegetarian posts on this site – which is amazing! But can we please think about the torture, the life of utter misery that most farm animals face before they are slaughtered. Please just think about how unfair it is. The cruelty is unfathomable. Think about your dog or your cat finding themselves in that situation. Eat animals if you like, but think about it first. Watch Eating Animals on Netflix. There are alternatives to factory farm raised animals. As consumers we have a vote when it comes to what we buy, we can dictate how we believe animals should be treated. Total ignorance and/or ambivalence on this issue in this day and age is irresponsible. I know that this post will agitate people. I know thinking about this is uncomfortable, inconvenient and upsetting. I know that I sound sanctimonious. I am the first to admit that I am not perfect, and that I am not doing all I can in this respect (I am not vegan). I have made some small changes like cutting out meat, and it couldn’t have been easier. Thank you for reading.

    PS: My favourite kitchen tool is our Aeropress – it seriously makes the best coffee.

    • M says...

      This, 100%. Not only the sentiment but the sensitive way you phrased it. Thank you.

    • AW says...

      J, I have to disagree with you — there’s an underlying assumption in your comment that anyone who does eat meat HASN’T thought about these things, or that the author is somehow at fault because she didn’t digress into the whole (ENORMOUS) conversation to be had about eating meat vs not. She wanted to talk about how the meat thermometer has improved her relationship to certain foods in the kitchen. Not every post has to be heavy & hard-hitting.

      There IS such a thing as ethical meat consumption, and you don’t know how the author chooses to “vote with her fork”. As you’ve already mentioned– there are plenty of vegetarian posts on this site. I found this post super helpful, especially the bits about correct internal temperatures. And some people actually cannot do without meat.

      Your comment frustrates me because it feels like you’re trying to shame people when you don’t have the whole story. Why the need to comment at all, if this post isn’t for you? It’s nice you’ve found that vegetarianism works for you, but it’s like Jo says — “Good for her! Not for me.”

    • Alice says...

      I actually thought J said what she did in a very considered and careful way – and all entirely true. Biologically the idea there are people who ‘cant do without meat’. ..who, why? Genuinely curious.

    • Amanda says...

      Thank you for this kind, thoughtful response, J! Yes, this was a post about kitchen gadgets, but we can have multiple discussions here. I’m vegan, and have a lot of progressive friends in my circle who absolutely believe in climate change, absolutely believe less meat consumption is better for the environment, and yet they don’t want to make the change in their own lives. It baffles me. I’ve been vegan for 13 years, and it’s never felt like a sacrifice. I cook with more varied and interesting foods than I ever have. I enjoy cooking way more than when I cooked with meat.

      In other discussions, I’ve seen people bring up the palm oil argument. Plenty of non-vegan foods contain palm oil, and, yes, it’s important that we are aware of it when we make food choices. Also, if you’re relying heavily on processed vegan foods, well, you’re doing it wrong. They’re expensive and not great for you. But the same is true for all processed foods.

      I’ve also seen people bring up the impact of vegan food on the environment. Unless you’re growing your own vegetables, soy beans, and almonds, you’re going to have some kind of environmental impact. But research has shown that a vegan diet has a far, far less impact on the environment than meat and dairy consumption. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/01/commission-report-great-food-transformation-plant-diet-climate-change/

      Finally, to those who say there is such a thing as “ethical meat,” in my opinion there are no ethics in killing a living, breathing being — regardless of whether they are factory farmed, or grazing in a beautiful pasture. I saw this quote on Moby’s Instagram (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find it): “Animals are meant to live with us, not for us.”

      We are living in dire times, and if we can’t bring up the topic of meat consumption in a post that talks about meat consumption (albeit indirectly), when is the appropriate time?

    • Vivian says...

      Thank you, J for saying it so considerately. I’m not as temperate in my own reaction. In fact, I’d be put in the naughty corner for rabble-rousing if I said what I really feel on this subject.

    • Beth says...

      Thank you, J, for all of us quiet vegans/vegetarions out there. Beautifully said, and I second the Aeropress!!

  6. G says...

    My beautiful bright orange pumpkin Dutch oven, my mini glass Pyrex bowls, my chefs knife (and our knife sharpener which is always nearby!) No fun cutting into that first ripe summer tomato only to discover how dull your favorite chefs knife is!

  7. Em says...

    A stick blender. For salsa, soups, and any other applications one can think of (it’s fun to use!). For my husband, our French press. He is vegetarian and I am not, but we don’t eat/cook a lot of meat. I want a meat thermometer, though, so when I do cook meat, I stop overcooking it out of fear of serving raw chicken, etc.–this post read my mind. Also, to check bread for doneness. :) I loved reading about everyone’s favorite cooking tools. Thanks!

  8. Juliette says...

    I’m enjoying these comments! Does anyone have a recommendation for sharp knives? Ours are rubbish and I don’t know where to start (or how to look after them properly!)

    • Ari says...

      Victorinox! When I finally got an “adult” job, I knew I wanted to invest in kitchen gear that would last me decades but I didn’t have too much money to throw around. After a lot of research, I settled on the Victorinox chef and paring knives and they are INCREDIBLE! You can find them on Amazon. The only other knife I would add to my kitchen is a good serrated knife. Other than that, you literally don’t need anything else, unless you are a heavy duty cook who will use specialty knives. I cook daily and these two knives cary me through everything, but I also don’t spatchcock chicken or debone fish in my microscopic kitchen. As for caring for them, make sure to always wash and dry after use and never leave them in the sink. (I don’t follow this rule, btw. I just know it’s one of the cardinal sins of knife care.) Sharpen them frequently (I don’t do this either). Store them properly so they aren’t banging around in a drawer (I bought a magnetic knife rack from Ikea and love it more than anything.) I still need to learn how to sharpen my own knives and research the technique that works best for me, but in the meantime, I get them professionally sharpened at my local farmers market! Not sure where you live, but many of my local markets often have a knife grinder as a vendor. This is especially useful if you don’t regularly sharpen your own knives, and really need the blade edge to be re-ground.

    • Ashley Em says...

      My mom used to work at a kitchen store and would hook me up at holidays with things she had bought with her discount. My by-far favorite thing she ever gave me? A Mac knife. It’s heaven. The sharpest knife ever (way sharper than Wusthof!) and very light. The only thing I do to care for it is to hand wash it, never putting it in the dishwasher, and it has treated me very well. Highly recommend. <3

    • Emma says...

      You need three knives: chef’s knife (big one), paring knife (small one), serrated (for bread and tomatoes). More than that is usually overkill.

      The site Chef Knives To Go sounds like a joke but it’s a great website for professional quality knives (https://www.chefknivestogo.com/).

      Please for the love of all that is holy, hand wash your knives! Also, don’t leave them in the fucking sink! This drives me absolutely batshit. It does not take long to rinse off or wipe down a knife after use. If you do it immediately after you use it, nothing is super stuck on and it’s easy. If you throw it in the sink, it WILL lose its tip, it WILL get blunt super fast, and one day you will cut yourself on it while reaching for something else. Just saying. (Plus if it’s carbon steel it’ll get rust stains.)

    • Stephanie says...

      I love my Global chef’s knife. The handle is streamlined and comfortable for a smaller hand, and it’s held up really well over years and years.

  9. pam says...

    I don’t use a meat thermometer. I can press on the meat with a fork and tell how it’s cooked……that’s with years of practice.

    My fav tool is my cheapo blender that I’ve had for 8 years and bought at walmart and has worked like a champ.

  10. Anon says...

    This is so true. I’m a vegetarian and have never eaten meat in my life so don’t have the first idea about how to cook it.

    When I was younger I had a catering job where ‘all’ I had to do was follow the provided recipe religiously and use a meat thermometer to check when it was done at the specified temperature.

    I was regularly praised for my meat dishes, and people said the duck, which is notoriously tricky, was the best they’d ever had. They were gobsmacked to hear I hadn’t tasted what I made!

  11. Jessica says...

    I also have a really small kitchen, so not much room for anything beyond essentials. But recently, I watched a friend create the prettiest salad using an egg slicer, and I immediately got one for myself. It’s the best! It just makes slicing hard-boiled eggs (and other soft things) so much easier and artistic looking. Completely frivolous but I have no regrets on this one.

  12. Christy P says...

    Moving to Germany has made me realize how much kitchen stuff I have! I am a chef but still! Germans have tiny kitchens with zero storage!

    • Karen says...

      wuaaaa? what is a “regular/common” German diet for kitchens to be tiny and lack storage? Or is it similar to a NYC tiny kitchen v. Virginia suburb spacious kitchen perspective? I’m curious!

  13. Jenny says...

    I got a meat thermometer two Christmases ago, it was called for in the turkey recipe I tried that year, but it’s in regular rotation. The three utensils I use most often are my potato ricer – himself is lactose intolerant and it makes the creamiest, dairy free mashed potatoes; my cheap and cheerful rice cooker – because evidently I’m incapable of cooking rice in a pan; and recently my silicon spatula. I also adore my whizzy KitchenAid kettle, which allows gradations of water for different kinds of tea. We also rely on super sharp knives and Le Creuset pots (ideally in Marine Blue).

  14. Would love if you could add the temperature in celsius as well. You guys in the US are pretty much the only ones that use farenheit and you have lots of visitors from all over the world! (of course, we can look it up ourselves, but you know…) Thanks!

    • Katherine says...

      yes please!!

  15. I find it a bit odd you don’t post negative comments. I suggested in my post that the USA is consuming too much meat, ina quite diplomatic way, to start a discussion about climate change and the planet the US is taking a lead on destroying, and you chose not to post. This is fine… But does it serve your purpose, really? The USA has a multi billion dollar diet industry, everyone has allergies or weight complaints, there is too much food waste, and no, I am not vegan but chose to eat a lot less meat of all kinds, for the future of this planet and my kids. My favourite tool is a good carving knife for cutting healthy veggies. By the German French company Villeroy and Boch. Also have their bread and Japanese knife, which we got for 1 euro at our local grocery store with the sticker collecting programme. Cheers and happy cooking!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh! i think your comment was pushed? we always welcome debate and constructive criticism, and you can see a number of reader comments about cutting down on meat. i’m so sorry if you’re not seeing your comment, or if it’s somehow lost in the shuffle — it should be there! thank you so much for following up. xoxo

    • Heather says...

      I didn’t realise that your comments were curated. I presumed that you posted them if they weren’t extremely offensive. Could you tell us what kind of formula you use when chosing which comments to post? I always presumed that these were all the comments. Obviously I respect your choice but I would like to understand how it is decided so that I can read them within that context.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh our comments are curated!! We publish 99% of them. We delete only spam and anything that’s very offensive. That’s why i was telling Leigh that her comment is probably here — maybe just on the second page of comments? Thank you!

  16. Kate says...

    Haha, my favorite tool is my tiny, yet strong whisk! So much better than the big clunky ones.

  17. Molly K says...

    My garlic press from Pampered Chef

  18. Ashley says...

    Fish spatula! Ours is always in the sink because we use it almost every meal. It is magic for getting the perfect fried egg out of the pan without smooshing the yolk. You can flip meat, pancakes, veggies, grilled cheese, tofu, and slide cookies off the pan. Get the thinnest, and most flexible, one you can and it will be a go to tool.

  19. Callie says...

    Can strainer! It is perfect for canned tuna, because who wants their fingers to smell like tuna juices all afternoon? I picked this up YEARS ago in a checkout line (a decade at least, back in my mid twenties) when my protein consumption consisted of mainly tuna, eggs and fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. I use it now for straining any and all canned goods. Two kids later, one who can eat an entire can of green beans in one sitting, and it is still going strong. Not glamorous by any means, but it is the best $3 investment I’ve made.

    https://www.amazon.com/Prepworks-Progressive-Colander-GT-3973-Vegetable/dp/B00EZQQZGI

    • Emily says...

      Chuckling at this comment because as a kid I was OBSESSED with canned green beans, and would eat them straight from the can as an after-school snack. Glad there are other canned green bean enthusiasts out there!

  20. cgw says...

    Folks eat pork “medium”?!!

    • Ari says...

      This was also my most pressing takeaway from this article, and I am gobsmacked.

    • Sasha L says...

      A quick Google search came back with a whole lot of arguments that it is indeed safe. I grew up eating pork, am vegetarian for over 30 years now though, and holy cow does that sound gross. I don’t think I could eat a bite of undercooked pork to save my life (TBH, I probably couldn’t stomach any bite of pork period). Is rare chicken next?

    • Madie says...

      Yes! It’s no longer necessary to cook pork until it’s dried out and gray! Pink inside is OK, and much more delicious. Modern-day pork is much leaner than it was when we were growing up, so it’s important not to over-cook it. I found a good article that goes over it, if you want to learn more:
      https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/national/pink-pork-safe-eat

  21. Ashly says...

    A cutting board, my sharp global knife, a good bottom heavy stainless steel cooking pot, (please don’t use T-Fal or nonstick pans – So bad for your health & body, so many toxins.) A good pair of thongs, wooden & tasting spoons!! I cook everyday, hence 3 small kids & some days I feel like I live in my kitchen. Never the less I love the concept & idea of cooking. Especially when it is so nourishing for ones body.

  22. Leah says...

    I just said tonight at the dinner table that my mother and mother in law would scoff at my use of a meat thermometer for pork chops. Hahaha!

  23. Anabel Capalbo says...

    Amen. I don’t know how anyone lives without one. Possibly the most utilized kitchen tool we have, after a trusty wooden spoon.

  24. Lauren says...

    I use my bamboo steamers all the time. I stack a few on top of each other if I need to steam multiple things with different cooking times. Last night I put green beans in the top, potatoes in the middle, and fish in the bottom. I dressed everything very simply with a squeeze of lemon juice.

  25. Naomi says...

    Just one tool? I am obsessed with kitchen utensils… even though I rarely cook more than the basics. We have 5+ whisks (teeny tiny for coffee, two small ones, three big ones, one special shaped one for eggs), we use them all. (no one needs this many) I love spatulas – especially the ones that are 100% silicone, from the stem up to the spatula bit. I have snapped one too many wooden-handle ones while trying to fold dough. Wooden spoons of all shapes. Three kinds of tongs. plus plus plus. I can always find a reason for one more… Right now I’m (ever so casually) searching for the best slotted spoon to get Chinese dumplings out of a boiling pot of water. Every food needs it’s tool. Suggestions?

  26. Loren says...

    A friend gave me two kitchen items that I rolled my eyes at when she presented them to me but I love them now: an electric kettle, which boils water faster than I can grind the beans for my morning coffee and shuts itself off when it’s done, no whistling involved, and a Kikkerland wind up timer, which I use all the time for cooking and baking tasks and for brewing coffee in my French press.

    • My entire family has electric kettles. I’m the only one who’s sticking to the stove one because it’s a bright green color and I love it ;)

    • Sasha L says...

      I too love my electric kettle. It’s helpful not only for hot drinks but for boiling water for soups or just to get a jump on boiling water for pasta.

  27. Amanda says...

    This is a tough one. But as a vegan, I love, love my Vitamix. It goes hand in hand with raw cashews, which I use often to make cream sauces and bases. Also, I’m not sure if Vitamix still does this, but I purchased mine as a refurbished item, so it was a lot cheaper than a brand-new one and still came with a 7-year warranty.

    • Only tool that I will allow myself to buy for the Kitchen moving Forward. I really do have all the kitchen tools I need. But the possibility of making your own almond milk and nut butters?! Ah dreamy! Vegetarian heaven.
      Thanks for the tip concerning refurbished items, Amanda!

  28. Tiffany says...

    Great advice! I would add 175F chicken dark meat temperature to this list because it’s higher than chicken breast and 165F for dark meat would be undercooked.

  29. teegan says...

    Vegetarians here; we use our meat thermometer to check the temp of hot water (for green/black tea), to check bread for doneness (180!), or to check the temp of heated milk to make yogurt or cheese :)

  30. Lauren says...

    I don’t eat much meat, but still find use for a cheap meat thermometer when cooking meat based dishes for others. Other essentials in my kitchen:
    – Very sharp chefs, paring, tomato and bread knives
    – extra large, wooden chopping board (used for food prep and presentation of cheese boards)
    – micro plane (for Parmesan, lemon, garlic and ginger)
    – Silicone spatula
    – wire whisk
    – tongs
    – heavy baking trays
    – le crueset Dutch oven
    – small frying pan
    – glass bowls
    – salt and pepper grinders
    With these tools, I find I can cook almost anything. I am currently on the fence about an instant pot and would love any opinions about them (I cook every day and bake frequently, yet so far have managed without a stand mixmaster or food processed as I prefer to do things by hand rather than collect small appliances, however the instant pot seems like it would be great now that I have small children and more limited time in the kitchen).

    • Aimee says...

      I have an instant pot and rarely use it. I find the Dutch oven to be so much more helpful!

    • Jo says...

      As a vegan I use my instant pot constantly. All the beans that don’t need soaking or for you to pay attention to them at all. Whole grains quickly, e.g. steel cut oats only 3 minutes at pressure. Now that I have one I can’t believe I lived so long without one.

    • Angela says...

      It’s funny, I was reading all of your kitchen items and was in total agreement with you! Feel like we are kitchen soul sisters. On that note, I have not loved my Instant Pot(and I have two young kids too!). It’s oddly not a time savers. The Kitchn wrote a good article on this I’ll try and find and post!

    • Taylor says...

      We have such similar lists! I do have a stand mixer, which honestly I never thought I’d use. But once I started using it, I love it. I can grab other items, wash a dish while it does it’s thing. Plus, I love to bake and with 3 small kids, it makes life easier. The only thing I’d add, ice cream scoops. I use these all the time for cookie dough, dropping pancake batter, muffins, etc.

      No instapot for me either 🤷🏽‍♀️

    • kelly says...

      i have an instant pot. it’s handy but not a must have for me. as others have noted, it’s not quite as instant as some would have you believe, as you have to allow time for it to pressurize and de-pressurize. I will say that it does make braised or long cooking dishes much much faster than stove top braising, and i find it to be more consistent than stove top for these dishes too. so it gives you some flexibility (you can start a braised chicken dish at 5 pm on a weeknight and eat by 6 pm) but it’s not a miracle (braised chicken in 15 mins). it’s bulky and a little annoying to clean. if space were a constraint for me i could easily live without, but i have room so it’s handy enough to keep around.

  31. Sasha L says...

    My kitchen loves: Cuisinart food processor (for pizza dough, pie dough, biscuit dough, pesto), KitchenAid mixer (I am lucky to have a big one! All things baked), an immersion blender (awesome for soups), and a bought on crazy sale Ikea pressure cooker (beans, and the best soups). I also love my dough blade, wooden spoon and big glass jar for sourdough starter, Tupperware rolling mat, big baking sheets for roasting veggies, a set of strainer lids for growing sprouts and Lodge cast iron cookware. No meat household so no thermometer for meat, but I have a cheap candy one I use for homemade marshmallows.

    • Also a fan of the Tupperware rolling mat here! I love that it has Fahrenheit and Celsius conversions printed on it too. So helpful when baking from yet another American recipe book ;)

    • Ellen says...

      Hi Sasha, I’m not sure if you’re a no-meat household as a vegetarian or vegan, but if so, I’d love to hear your recipe for homemade marshmallows! Does it use agar agar? Or aquafaba? Thanks!

  32. Genevieve Martin says...

    Tongs! Knife sharpener! Big wooden chopping board!

    For some reason I’ve not has a wire cooling rack in years, I need it about twice a year but there’s really no substitute and I always regret not having one… time to get one clearly!!

    • Jacqueline Kearney says...

      Pampered Chef makes a nice cooling rack.

  33. Molly says...

    I just bought my boyfriend a Thermapen for Christmas. I got the classic one, not the MK4. He loves to cook, and because I’m a vegetarian, he eats vegetarian a lot of nights, but I was tired of watching him be disappointed when meat he cooked did not come out like he wanted. Usually it was just as you described. Without a meat thermometer, he would err on the side of caution and end up overcooking. It’s definitely a useful (and small) tool!

  34. Rebecca says...

    The thermapen is life changing.

  35. Sara says...

    I bought my husband a thermapen one year for Christmas and you’d thought I’d bought him a car! We use it all the time – and definitely key to ending arguments about whether meat is cooked or not.

  36. Lauren E. says...

    One thing I never thought I’d use as much as I do is tongs. It’s also the one tool I feel there is no real substitute for.

    One thing that is absolutely not a necessity but I’ve used about a thousand times since I bought it is this egg spoon https://www.amazon.com/Linden-Sweden-Egg-Peeler-Dishwasher-Safe/dp/B01FBG3JSM/ref=lp_9504309011_1_1?srs=9504309011&ie=UTF8&qid=1548882845&sr=8-1!!

    I had no idea how easy peeling eggs could be until I bought it. Now I eat hard boiled eggs almost every day. Does that make me weird? I don’t care. This tool is everything.

    • Katie says...

      I use my tongs for everything…including reaching and grabbing things from higher shelves!!

    • KC says...

      I agree on the importance of something that lets you pick stuff up/flip it over/etc.! I started to use tongs less when I got some cooking chopsticks – they’re safe for nonstick and provide very precise control (but your hand strength limits what you can pick up with them more than with tongs – so tongs are probably still necessary? Just noting this surprising-to-me substitute for anyone out there who happens to have wooden chopsticks languishing in their silverware drawer and finds out at the last minute that they’re lacking tongs or that they’re dirty or something).

      Easier-peeled eggs?! I’m going to have to look at that!

  37. So true! I have a Thermapen and can’t cook meat without it. I always panic when the batteries run out ;0

  38. I’m a huge fan of my Bluetooth thermometer, especially for things that take awhile to cook, so I can watch a movie and the temperature without moving. I’m actually thinking about getting another one so we can monitor grill temp and meat temp simultaneously.

  39. Anna Wagstaff says...

    Amen to the meat thermometer. I also love my cast iron pan–12 dollars on Amazon. After 2 years of tender love, I can say it is seasoned wonderfully. I usually don’t like keeping cookery out on our stove, but this one is used too often to put away. (Should guests come over, it also slides easily in the oven)

  40. Melanie says...

    A chef knife was huge for us – ours is Wustoff and we love it so much we have 2 in case we both need to chop at the same time (I think unnecessary but my husband is the big cook). Also an immersion blender, I make a lot of soup and can’t imagine not having it. We try not to have any ‘one trick ponies’ as our kitchen is tiny, but the immersion blender is worth it. And for Christmas I got my husband a sous vide (maker? cooker? what is it called?) I dont know. But it makes meat perfection! All you need is a big pot to put it and water and the meat in a bag and bam, perfect restaurant quality meat.

    • Taylor says...

      Yes!!! My husband and brother both got me one for Christmas last year. Ha! I ended up keeping the one Joule, because of the Bluetooth ability. Obviously not a must have, but I’ve loved having it. Christmas dinner a snap, and when I have sitter for my kids, I’ll have it set up and just text them to drop in the meat (we’ve attempted having them cook 😯) and it’s perfectly done + no clean up!

  41. Hannah says...

    I have a naive meat thermometer question… are you supposed to put it in the meat when it’s in the oven or out of the oven? I never know if I’m doing it right!

    • Lindsay says...

      The non digital kind you keep in the oven and I heard they are not as accurate. The digital ones are better and you would not put it in oven. :)

    • Erzsi says...

      There are thermometers that you stick the meat when you start cooking and leave in the whole time it’s in the oven. A thin probe attaches to a digital thermometer that you keep outside the oven. Then the thermometer will beep when the meat gets to the right temperature. So simple! You can cook without even using a timer!

  42. Caitlin says...

    Agreed! My boyfriend and I both used to be vegan/vegetarian but have now crossed over and eat meat a couple times a week. We bought a meat thermometer after he grilled (and grilled, and grilled…) a chicken breast for my mom. He was afraid it wasn’t cooked all the way through …it was like a little tan brick by the time he was done. In typical mom niceness she insisted it was fine and ate it (covered in bbq sauce) but we’ll never forget that shrunken thing. Hah!

    Otherwise, a good sharp knife is probably the thing I love most. Growing up my parents only had dull paring and steak knives that tore into everything and actually were probably pretty unsafe.

    Lastly, I don’t use it a ton but my immersion blender is amazing. No more transferring hot soup to a blender in batches!

  43. H. says...

    A couple months ago, when I’d just started seeing my current (still pretty new) boyfriend, I was going to go to his place and make some chicken soup. I suspected (correctly!) that he wouldn’t have a meat thermometer, so I threw mine in my purse and broke it out when it was time to see if the chicken was done. The temperature kept reading SO low and I was in a total panic — Why is it taking so long?? Finally I went to the bathroom and when I came back he’d been looking at it and realized I’d accidentally switched it to Celsius instead of Fahrenheit… D’oh. So not only was I the nut who throws a meat thermometer in her purse, but I didn’t even know how to use it properly. I was so embarrassed… But the soup was good! He even ate seconds!

    So just like, be careful you’ve got it on the right setting. And maybe just trust the “cut it open and see if the juices are clear” method when you’re trying to show off in front of your brand new boyfriend…

  44. Kate says...

    I don’t know how many times I’ve thought “I should really get a good
    instant read thermometer” and never pull the trigger. I just know it’s going to be one of those things that once I do, I won’t understand what took me so long.
    My kitchen can’t-live-withouts are a salad spinner, microplane, scale, and multiple sets of measuring spoons at easy reach in a jar on my counter. And in all honesty, I don’t know what I’d do without my instant pot. It has changed my life!

  45. Em says...

    Between the $99 or the 9 thermometer, I’d just go with the cheap one. A thermometer is a thermometer. No need to go expensive in that category. Put that money towards a better pot or knife or blender instead.

    Two unsung heroes of my kitchen- my paring knife and my milk frother. Who knew!! Milk frother gets used every day and now I have healthier delicious chai lattes that save me $5 per day.

    • Holly says...

      The $99 one is superfast, other cheap ones I have used can take awhile to settle. It makes it easier to not overcook the meat. But any thermometer will work – no one wants ecoli!

    • Cindy says...

      Em, which milk frother do you recommend? I have one attached to my Nespresso machine but sometimes it gets a little wonky and won’t work. I’d love to have a back-up.

    • Em says...

      Hey, Cindy! I love my Breville frother. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so pro! My brother has a handheld one that he likes. He says mine is too big but my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp and I don’t think the breville is too big at all. 😂

  46. Alexandra says...

    I was a little surprised at the temperature recommendations! I cook pork to 145, chicken to 155 and don’t bother with the meat thermometer with steak usually.

    • MJ says...

      Same. Pork and chicken are a little sketchier so I temp those but meat? Just start poking your steaks to see how they feel. You’ll get the hang of the necessary firmness level more quickly than you think.

  47. Sue says...

    if you’re talking about what cheap tools I can’t live without, then definitely a microplane grater (zest, ginger, cheese), my AccuSharp Knife Sharpener (under $10!), and bar mop towels. That last one may not be a tool per se, but they are so much more absorbent than regular towels and cheaper, too.

  48. MJ says...

    my brother in law bought me a fancy thermometer a few christmases ago and i thought it was a lame gift and overpriced. i am SO grateful for that thing. not only can i make caramel sauce and other sweet baking ventures but this former vegetarian is becoming much more confident in cooking meat because of that thermometer!!

  49. Jennifer says...

    Hands down my big Le Crueset Dutch oven! It was my grandparents and given to me when they passed. I remember my Grandpa cooking a big pot of beans in when I was a kid, so it must be at least 30 years old. I use it at least once a week. Still is so great!

  50. Nina says...

    kitchen scissors. and a timer (loud beeping one that sticks to the fridge) to remind me to take food out of the oven. I hate waiting around.

    • TC says...

      YES! Vegan for the planet, for the animals, and for yourself!

    • Anna says...

      Agree!

    • june2 says...

      I made the change as the most useful contribution I could make to hopefully saving humanity’s place on earth for all the reasons in that article, aside from switching to an electric car, which I hope to do this year.

      It’s easy for me to eliminate meat entirely but people like my mother just can’t let go so she has fish a couple of times a month and meat maybe once a month or less. At 72 she still climbs trees to prune them and manages the local ski hut which is a 3 mile uphill trek – with a backpack! – to get to from the parking lot. Pretty sure relying on meat as a primary protein source is not optimal. There are so many other things to eat!

    • Tej says...

      Appreciate your perspective, but this is a post about a tool *she* uses for her lifestyle/diet. I respect vegan lifestyle, but this response feels a little tone-deaf.

    • Jess says...

      Agreed! Such an important read…seems like it’s talked about way more in England than in the States.

    • Deb says...

      Sorry, vegans; you can still get food poisoning. There are plenty of ways in which you can still destroy the environment. And the ingredients from your marinara sauce still probably come from a factory farm. Of course, there are lots of benefits to going vegan, but let’s not get carried away.

    • holllaaaaaaaa! let’s talk about Cowspiracy, @cupofjo!

    • Cece says...

      I agree with you on cutting down on meat consumption, it’s one of the biggest things we can do for our planet. But sadly a huge number of ‘vegan’ marketed products contain palm oil which is also incredibly destructive. Products like soy, almond milk etc also have their own environmental impact.

      The ethical world consumers operate in is not a simple one – it’s naive to assume that cutting out meat automatically rules out ‘destruction of the environment.’

  51. Sarah Christine says...

    Okay Franny, now we need an apt tour! :) I love seeing how other NYers navigate a tiny kitchen. (Also, I have been watching Fixer Upper– so good.– and the kitchen sizes in Texas are just INSANE!! I can’t imagine. I truly can’t.)

  52. Amy says...

    A thermometer is not just for meat – I also use it to see if my sourdough bread loaves are done, to help with more finicky baking projects, and to check if my milk is at the right temperature to add my yogurt starter!

    I love my Thermapen thermometer from ThermoWorks; it’s expensive but it’s super fast and accurate (no one wants to leave the oven sitting open for 30 seconds letting all the heat out while they wait for their thermometer to settle!). I’ve bought the cheaper ThermoPops as gifts a few times and they’re great too (they take literally one second longer to register the temperature), and I also have the ChefAlarm with a long corded probe now, which is super handy for sitting in scalded milk and it lets me know when it hits the target temperature for yogurt. I also check my freezer temperature with it occasionally or stick it in a roast and it lets me know when it’s reached the right temperature and can be removed!

    Between my thermometers and my kitchen scale…not sure which I’d choose if forced to pick! I’m not a naturally skilled cook, but I love to do it anyway and this helps a lot!

    • Carrie says...

      Amy, we are kindred spirits! I was going to write the exact same thing about testing sourdough bread and finicky baking projects. And I also live and die by my kitchen scale, I got one this year and appreciate how convenient and space efficient it is compared to cup measurers. Take up much less space in my cupboard than a measuring cup collection!

  53. Jessica says...

    Pork at 160 is well done, no matter what some guidelines tell you. If you pull it off at 160, it will be dry AF.
    Meat is meat. 135 leads to medium-rare steak … and lamb, and pork (if you were to do so – which I wouldn’t). 140/145 leads to medium for steak… and lamb and pork!
    Perhaps your teacher was guided by the now-out-of-date USDA guidelines which suggested cooking pork to 160/165. It’s understandable! many cooking instructors want to avoid liability or just being blamed if you end up getting a wiggly stomach. But in 2011 the USDA lowered the recommended minimum temperature for pork to 145, with rest, which will bring it up to about 150. That is a temp that’s more likely to yield the combination of fully-cooked meat that is still juicy which most people prefer in a pork chop.
    Consider revising your standards. You, and your pork chops, will be happier.

  54. Amanda says...

    Hi Joanna, Franny and team,

    I love your posts and recipes, and appreciate that you have done dedicated segments related to vegetarian eating, but I think now is the time that we need to start talking about our food and consumption in the context of climate change. While it may have been implied in past posts that vegetarian diets have various benefits, we have reached a point in our history as humans where we need to be direct about the causes of climate change, and we need to start addressing our behaviour and habits. The meat (especially beef) industry and dairy industry are responsible for a lot of emissions in North America. If we all started to consume a bit less meat, and for those of us who are able, no meat at all, we could make a huge difference to the planet. Just something to think about for the future, don’t mean to attack this or any posts. I know you believe in climate change, as you’ve posted about it before, but it is really time for all of us to start taking actions to move away from what is shaping up to be a very grim and difficult future. Thank you for creating a site where people can start to have these conversations!

    • agreed wholeheartedly. it’s a question of responsibility.

    • Brooke says...

      Agree with this!

    • Sarah says...

      I also would love to see a post about this, if only because I know the Cup or Jo team could write about this topic in an interesting and non-judgmental way. Maybe interviews with women who have chosen to reduce or eliminate animal products from their eating habits, and why? (Like your piece with the women who had chosen not to have children, which I loved!) I don’t expect CoJ to make a stand on one side or the other, but this is certainly a topic of conversation that is circling my social groups with increasing regularity, and I’d love to hear other thoughts!

    • Theresa R says...

      And let’s all quit wasting food. Please. It will benefit everybody. I am a retired dairy farmer from Wisconsin. I agree with Amanda. Things gotta change.

    • Ari says...

      I would love to add a counter point to this! In talking about vegan or vegetarian diets as they pertain to climate change, I think it is really important to still talk about ethical consumption and plant-based eating. So many vegan products are hugely problematic — they contain palm oil, are heavily processed or packaged, take advantage of monocropping, etc. The flip side of this is that there are more and more small farm meat producers who manage their herds in ways that are actually beneficial to the environment. Most people don’t know that ruminants (cows, sheep, goats) are the real champions of soil and habitat restoration. A good shepherd or rancher can use their herd to not only make a profit, but to restore the habitat on which those animals graze. And healthy soil is fundamental to healthy ecosystems and nutrient dense food. It makes me so sad when I see people vilify all meat. The problem isn’t meat consumption generally — it’s over consumption and factory farming. If you can find an ethical meat producer, eat that meat only once a week, and then eat a plant-based diet the rest of the time, I would argue that you are doing far more for the planet than a traditional vegan diet. When I was studying farming, some of the most humane, environmentally restorative work I saw was done by meat producers. That being said, in an industrialized food system, it’s so dang hard to actually know how to eat ethically or understand what truly goes into the production of our food. I think any effort to live a more sustainable life, whether it be through conscientious meat consumption or veganism, is admirable :)

    • Em says...

      Wow, Ari! Shedding light on the situation! I personally am already against packaged and pre-made food in grocery stores. Your comment is really lighting a fire in me to do more research. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  55. Christy says...

    My milk frother has become my BFF. It’s not a luxury for me but a necessity and I even travel with it. Use it every single morning for either frothy milk or to warm milk for my coffee. Bodum makes a great one for $25.

  56. nora says...

    a manual lemon squeezer! i use it every day.

  57. Chelsea Powell says...

    Apparently they changed the temperature for pork, I only mention it because they recently changed it and I was so surprised! It is 145 degrees
    F now!

  58. Annie F says...

    A slightly flexible pastry scraper has use beyond scooping up rolled out pie crust or cookie dough. It’s great for getting gunk off of countertops, gently tossing salads, and recently we discovered it can remove stickers that seem otherwise permanently adhered to the floor!

  59. Jodi says...

    I’m obsessed with my digital, compact kitchen scale. It’s the best for baking, but also SO helpful when you have a recipe that calls for those obscure measurements of things, or when a recipe is written in metric vs. imperial and you just have no idea what 1000g of something looks like. Just place a bowl on it, tare it, then pour out the ingredients until you get to the desired weight. I no longer have to guess and it takes up virtually zero space because it’s so thin and small.

  60. Allyson says...

    Forgive the weird observation, but in a Siri/Alexa/Google world of abundant knowledge isn’t it AWESOME that someone(s) took the time, however long ago with however fewer resources, to figure out the exact right temperature for cooked meats? Like, we just ask and some piece of tech tells us how to enjoy our dinner and not risk food poisoning. Amazing.

    • Audra says...

      This is how my brain works, too! I’m imagining some sciencey, food-type pulling a pork chop from the oven and marking in a notebook “…138 degrees. nope, not quite.”

  61. Julie Chase says...

    My meat thermometer, microplane (I use a lot of lemon zest in my food), my cast iron skillet, and a good very sharp chef’s knife are integral in my cooking.

  62. Susan says...

    Exactly! I use the meat thermometer for testing bread, too. No more bread that looks crusty on the outside, but is still tacky inside, yuck!

  63. Natalie says...

    I also love having a meat thermometer! It also helps a ton with baking! Bread should be between 190-200…it’s such a useful tool!

  64. ND says...

    I agree with the comment about sous vide. I assumed this would be some big contraption but its about the size of a hand-held immersion blender. You use it with your own large pot and some ziploc bags, and only costs about $100. It has totally changed cooking meat for me, which I was always bad at. Now its perfect every time.

    • What I really dislike about the Sous vide method is the additional use of plastics. Our planet already has so much. The stuff we put in the Sous vide will most certainly already come wrapped in it and then we put it in yet another plastic vehicle to cook?!? No thank you. Especially with the not so tasty part of cooking stuff in plastic when we run around and make sure our water bottles are BPA free. Eeek!
      For a pro and con on this:
      https://nomnompaleo.com/post/12463202060/cooking-sous-vide-plastic-safety

  65. Blythe says...

    This is kind of a random one, but I LOVE my hard-boiled egg cooker! We seem to eat a LOT of HB eggs and the cooker has made cooking them foolproof… and they are the easiest eggs to peel ever!

  66. Elly says...

    I own a small Ninja Express Chop and it is a lifesaver. Whenever I have something small to dice that doesn’t require dragging out the big food processor, I just throw it in there. An onion, garlic, shallots, whatever. And then you pop it in the dishwasher and it takes up next to no space, unlike the parts of my big food processor. I accidentally put the bowl on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher in my new apartment and it melted, and I immediately ordered a new one. I can’t imagine life without it!

  67. Kate says...

    100% my immersion blender! I use it for everything from soups, sauces, and salad dressings, to homemade baby food. It came with a mini food-processor attachment too which was great before I had a full-size version.

  68. Cristina says...

    I would love to see a cupofjo post on the best chef knives. I’ve been in the market for a quality investment knife years and I’m totally overwhelmed with the options!

    • Laura says...

      We got the henckel knife set as a wedding gift– so great! The knife block even comes with a knife sharpener, but it’s been over 2 years now and they are still sharp and haven’t used the sharpener yet :)

    • Cindy says...

      I have 3 of the Shun knives and they are, hands down, the best I have ever used. I highly recommend them.

  69. Marissa says...

    My knife sharpener. There is seriously nothing worse than a dull knife blade.

  70. Elysha says...

    I’m in love with my Joseph Joseph food scale. Takes all the guesswork out of baking. Folds into the most compact shape and slides in next to my utensils. I use it so much.

  71. Maria Smit says...

    Very , very small kitchen here as well, but I could not cook efficiently every day without these:
    1: Pressure cooker
    2: Benriner mandolin
    3: Immersion blender (use this almost every day!)
    4: Dutch oven
    Of course a sharp knive would be nr. 1.

  72. Amy says...

    My most used, and loved, items are my santoku knife and my Rösle garlic press, both from Williams Sonoma, and my ninja blender/mixer. The garlic press I bought in my pre-stay-at-home-Mom days as it’s FIFTY dollars! But it is wonderful and will last my entire life!

  73. Heidi says...

    I couldn’t cook without my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I bought it at their outlet a few years ago, so I got a great deal on it. Even still, the cost per use is very reasonable with how often I use it.

    • Audra says...

      As someone who has always longed for one, what color did you choose?!

  74. Laura says...

    My magic bullet! It’s so easy to use and clean. I use it to make smoothies all the time but I also use it to make marinades and sauces. If we’re having Mexican food I always add 1-2 chipotle peppers and some of the adobo sauce from a can into the cup with sour cream, a little mayo, garlic powder and lots of lime juice- then you blend it up and it’s the perfect drizzling consistency.

  75. Tough to pick just one. My microplane or zester (whatever you want to call it) and my Japanese chefs knife. Meat thermometer is also right up there. Also my mortar and pestle.

  76. B says...

    I love my microplane — for zesting garlic, lemon, ginger, etc. I love my baby whisk, for whisking small batches of eggs, salad dressings, and other sauces. And perhaps this is not a tool, per se, but I love having an electric hot water kettle. I drink tea all day during the winter, and the water heats so much more quickly.

    • Kile says...

      (Sings) These are a few of my favorite things. I love my electric kettle so much. I’d love a good cutting board rec—and how to care for it (like detailed instructions). I feel like I spend 75% of my home life cutting shit up.

    • Alice Hargrave says...

      I only recently found out that, unlike in England, not every kitchen in the world is in possession of a kettle…I was shocked, and confused, so confused.

    • Me too Alice, me too! Could not live without an electric hot water kettle – neither at home nor at work!

  77. I resisted buying one for years because I didn’t see the value, but OMG has a stick blender changed my life! I can make sauces and thicken soups in a hurry. My only complaint is that mine is corded, but the second it dies or I see an amazing deal I’m going to buy a cordless one. If you want a cheap one to try out first, Costco has a corded one on sale for $15. Give it a whirl and you’ll be a convert for life.

    A close second is my Instant Pot. I make soups in it and rice and potatoes. Homemade paneer is easy to make in it, and so much better and cheaper than you can buy at the store. I’m sure it would be even more life changing if we were meat eaters because you can sauté to sear and then pressure cook, but alas we are not. Be sure to buy a few extra rings for the lid.

    • Lisa says...

      Bec, would you mind sharing your favorite paneer recipe? I would love to make it in my Instant Pot. Thanks!

    • lauren says...

      My stick blender made me feel like Gandalf the Grey.
      My stick blender with a detachable head makes me feel like Gandalf the White.

    • escondista says...

      hahaha @ Lauren!

    • This is the recipe that I use: https://www.everynookandcranny.net/instant-pot-paneer/

      It’s in liters so for the milk it’s just shy of 8.5 cups and for the lemon juice it’s just a tiny bit more than a quarter cup. Be sure to use a good quality whole milk because it makes a big difference in the taste. I will also add some heavy cream in if I have a little leftover from a dish. It’s about $7 for a small wedge at the grocery store, and I can make the equivalent of two wedges for about $5 worth of organic whole milk and it tastes better! I do not have the tofu press, although I’m seriously considering buying it now. The top of your instant pot will be covered in curds so be sure to soak it for a few minutes and then scrub it. Enjoy!

  78. Kristina says...

    The thermapen is expensive but totally worth it! We would be lost in the kitchen without it. My other must-haves are my immersion blender and Nespresso milk frother. Both little luxuries but make life just a little easier : )

  79. Adel says...

    I started w a meat thermometer a few years back when I got into cooking, and found it indespensible at the time, but I’ve since graduated to a Sous vide. Seems intimidating at first, but it’s super easy w the app. And it’s really the best way to make perfectly cooked meat and poultry- especially London Broil, Rib Roasts (yummmm) and turkey!

    • Sara says...

      1000% agree, Adel! My Sous Vide cooker is one of my favorite tools in my kitchen. Have you tried to make chicken in it? That’s my meal prep secret. I make several chicken breasts on Sunday and then I use the chicken for lunches and a dinner or two during the week.

    • Adel says...

      Sara- I have not tried chicken breasts but I should! Thanks for the idea…

  80. Betsie says...

    A decent chef’s knife, kept SHARP!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! we have a small very very sharp one from japan, and it makes cooking so much easier and more enjoyable.

    • Rachel says...

      I am obsessed with my chef’s knife, and I bought the exact same one for my sister’s wedding gift. We often talk on the phone while cooking dinner, and it’s so fun to hear her say that she made it through a spaghetti squash, or a pineapple.

    • Sara says...

      I agree! Sometimes when we are at my in-laws I’ll help my MIL chop something and all their knives are so dull. It makes me crazy!

    • Amanda says...

      Yes! Getting a decent chef’s knife was a total gamechanger for me.

  81. Liz Velasquez says...

    My thermapen. I take it when I go visit my mom. Perfect steaks, chicken and even cakes (200 degrees). The other is my trusty shun or global knives – they go with me when I visit anyone where I might be cooking.

  82. Caroline says...

    You can use a thermometer for so much more than meat! Baking is infinitely easier with a thermometer! How else will I know that my butter is exactly 65°F before creaming it to make a cake? I don’t trust myself with the “smoosh test”!

  83. Katie Larissa says...

    I really love my zester. And I’m not sure how you would zest citrus without one, so it doesn’t feel superfluous at all.

  84. Hilary says...

    A citrus press! I don’t even know what life I was living without one.

  85. Daniela says...

    I never used a meat thermometer until I met my boyfriend who had one, now it’s used all the time! Besides that took, I would pick my microplane grater. I use it for ginger, citrus, chocolate, etc.

  86. Kim says...

    This tip also works for fish. Cook to 145 degrees and your fish will be perfectly cooked. No more guessing!

  87. Sara says...

    Just wanted to comment that meat will continue cooking after you take it off heat. If you don’t want your chicken to be overdone, you can pull it off heat 155-160. The meat will continue cooking up to 10 more degrees while it rests for a few minutes (and you should always let meat rest!) Also ideal temp for poultry dark meat is 5-10 degrees higher, so keep that in mind if you’re only cooking dark meat.

    Also cooking pork to 160 is WAY too much. I cook mine to about 140 and take it off to rest.

    • Jennie says...

      I totally agree with everything Sara said….

      I actually use the touch-test for a lot of the red meat I cook and some poultry. Start doing it when you use your thermometer and you will start to learn how it feels when it is done. I did get a digital, leave in thermometer for roasting, thanksgiving turkey, etc. and I do like it.

      And in a pinch when everything goes wrong and I feel things look under cooked after sliced, a gentle nuke in the microwave has saved me. They cook from the inside out rather than the outside in of conventional ovens and fry pans so the meat still stays juicy and delicious….

    • Kopi-susu says...

      Thank you for this I was going to say the same thing about the temperature ranges. Also it’s probably a good idea to take the temperature in a couple places if you’re just starting to get used to using a thermometer, breast meat and thigh meat can be very different temperatures and you might even hit that funny air pocket between the thigh and the body of a bird, getting three different temperatures. Very slightly undercooked is a lot easier to correct than overcooked.

  88. Tiffani Green says...

    Do I have to pick just one? My Dutch oven, my immersion blender and my food processor are all invaluable.

  89. Elisabeth says...

    Good suggestion! I also use my meat thermometer for bread – no more guessing when it’s done :-)

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Smart!!!

    • Daniela says...

      Same! :)

    • Ellie says...

      Never heard of this – what is the temperature for bread?

      For me it’s a santoku, a vitamix and a large, lightweight bamboo cutting board I can store on it’s side in a cupboard since I like clean counters – huge heavy ones are too cumbersome.

    • Amy says...

      Ellie – for “rich doughs” (with milk, eggs, and/or butter added) you’re aiming for 170*F. With lean doughs (usually just flour, water, salt, and yeast) you want to go up to 190-200*F. This is according to my Thermapen book and it works for my baking!

    • Ellie says...

      Amy – thanks!