How to Insert a Meat Thermometer Into a Turkey Thigh

The thigh is a popular part of the turkey for those that prefer dark meat.
The thigh is a popular part of the turkey for those that prefer dark meat. (Image: turkey image by Diane Stamatelatos from

Whether you're cooking a whole turkey or roasting turkey thighs for dinner, you have to keep food safety in mind at all times. Turkey is poultry, which must be fully cooked before eating. Consuming undercooked poultry could result in harmful bacteria growing in your meat which can cause dangerous illnesses and even death. Always use a meat thermometer when testing your turkey thighs, or any type of meat, to accurately determine its temperature. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that all parts of the turkey should reach 165 degrees F before it can safely be consumed.

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Select an oven-proof or instant-read digital thermometer. An oven-proof thermometer is inserted into the food at the beginning of the cooking time in the oven. The temperature gauge will rise as the food cooks. The instant-read thermometers are inserted in the food periodically, or near finishing time, to determine the temperature. Some types of thermometers work better than others depending on the size and shape of the meat or food you want to measure. For turkey thighs, most oven-proof and instant-read thermometers will work fine, since turkey thighs are fairly thick. If you have a number of turkey thighs you are cooking at the same time, it may be best to use an instant-read thermometer to quickly check each of the turkey thighs.

Carefully insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, making sure to stay away from the bone. The probe should be at least 2 inches into the meat.

Note the temperature on the gauge. The turkey thighs are done when the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.


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