How do you really know what the temperature of your oven is? Owning an oven thermometer is crucial for accurate baking results even if your oven has or has never been calibrated before.
Did you know your oven can be slightly cooler or warmer than your knob indicates? It can be off from 5-10 degrees or even over 75 degrees Fahrenheit from what your oven knob indicates. This is a huge deal especially when baking bread or delicate cakes as accuracy is everything. Even opening up your oven while you’re baking makes a difference in your cooking time. No wonder why your baked goods come out the way they do—it isn’t you, it’s your oven!
An oven thermometer will help you accurately read your oven’s temperature so you are able to make any adjustments necessary, giving you the correct heating needed for your baked goods to come out as desired. Now that you’re convinced that you need a thermometer, how do you know which one to buy? It’s important to know oven thermometers generally come in two different styles: bulb and dial-face. Bulb thermometers have a colored alcohol in them; like Cook’s Illustrated, we prefer dial-face thermometers because of their readability and durability—those are two key factors that you need to consider when purchasing a thermometer. Cook’s Illustrated tested a wide arrange of different thermometers; the best one they found was the Cooper-Atkins 24HP oven thermometer for the best accuracy and durability—running you about $7, not bad.
Even if you choose to purchase a different brand and type of oven thermometer, keep in mind they can be inaccurate in their temperature readings—so though you shouldn’t have to, we recommend replacing your thermometer when it begins to fade or you feel that the readings are off…but, if you go with the Cooper-Atkins thermometer, you shouldn’t have that problem.
Oven Thermometers via Cook's IllustratedPhoto by: Pete Jelliffe | Flickr