Party on a Budget

Throw an affordable holiday party with these clever ideas.

What is the best way to check for doneness?

What is the best way to check for doneness?

Temperature should be your guide to doneness. To assure that the turkey and stuffing have reached a safe temperature, always use a thermometer when you roast turkey. Because there is no visual test for stuffing doneness, the USDA recommendsthat you not stuff a turkey if you don't have a thermometer.

A meat thermometer measures the internal temperature of foods as they cook. These thermometers can be used for larger cuts of poultry, beef, pork, and other meats. Insert a meat thermometer into the food at the beginning of the cooking time, making sure it is not touching bone. When buying a meat thermometer, look for an easy-to-read dial with a stainless-steel face and shatterproof lens. A meat thermometer can be checked for accuracy by submerging at least 2 inches of the stem in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees F. If the thermometer registers above or below 212 degrees F., add or subtract the same number of degrees from the temperature specified in the recipe and cook to that temperature. Some thermometers have "test" marks at 212 degrees F.

Instant-read thermometers, also known as rapid-response thermometers, measure a wide range of temperatures, typically from 0 to 220 degrees F. These thermometers are not designed to stay in food during cooking. Pull the food out of the oven, then insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the food, not touching bone or the pan. The temperature should register in about 15 seconds. Instant-read thermometers can also be checked for accuracy with the boiling water test.