how to use an oven thermometer

When you bake and cook foods in your oven, it is important to maintain a consistent and accurate temperature to ensure the food cooks as desired and does not get burnt. However, the thermostat settings on ovens can often become inaccurate. An inaccurate temperature can negatively affect the taste and consistency of more precise recipes.

If you want to improve your baking skills and get better results in your recipes for baked goods and other food, the first thing you should do is check your oven’s temperature for accuracy. Luckily, you can easily do this with an oven thermometer. This article will teach you how to use an oven thermometer and offers some additional advice to help you improve the overall performance of your oven. Who knows? It might even improve your baking skills too!

Using Your Oven Thermometer: Simple Instructions

Step #1: Place the Oven Thermometer Inside Your Oven

The first step to using your oven thermometer is to place it inside your oven. Place your thermometer on one of the oven racks. Or, if your thermometer has a clip, you can hang it from one of the racks. We recommend testing the temperature in the centre of the oven to get a good idea of the general temperature and heat.

Step #2: Preheat Your Oven

Switch your oven on and set the temperature to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, wait for your oven to reach the set temperature. Depending on your oven, it could take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to preheat.

Step #3: Check the Oven Temperature

Checking the oven temperature

Once your oven is fully preheated, check the oven thermometer to see if it is reading the correct temperature. If possible, try to read the temperature on the thermometer through the closed oven door, as this will give you the most accurate reading. If you need to pull out the oven rack or handle the thermometer, make sure to oven mitts.

If the temperatures on the oven dial and the thermometer match, then you can rely on your oven alone. Keep in mind that you might not get an exact temperature match, but that is ok. If there is a slight temperature variation, make a note of this and make adjustments as needed when cooking and baking in the future.

If the thermometer doesn’t read the desired temperature and isn’t anywhere close, you may need to adjust or recalibrate your oven’s dial. Calibration is often done by a professional, but you may be able to do it yourself in some cases.


If you want, you can also test other areas inside your oven to check for hot or cold spots, which can be quite common.

Oven Thermometer FAQs

How Do I Know if My Oven Temperature Is Correct?

With baking, even the temperature of the ingredients you use can affect the recipe and cooking process. That’s the reason why it is so important that the oven’s thermostat achieves the right temperature. An oven’s thermostat will not be 100% accurate in many cases.

The best way to find out if your oven is producing the right temperature is to test it using an oven thermometer. Fortunately, oven thermometers are quite inexpensive and are available in most grocery stores and a variety of other locations as well.

Where Do You Put an Oven Thermometer?

Almost all oven thermometers can hang from oven racks using a built-in clip or hook, but they can also rest directly on top of the rack as well. As mentioned above, we recommend you start by placing or hanging your oven thermometer in the middle of the oven’s centre rack. This central location will give you a great starting point and alert you to the overall accuracy of the thermostat.

After the first test, it is highly recommended that you also check several other areas around the interior of your oven so you can determine if you have hot or cold spots. For optimal results, take the time to test the front and back as well as the right and left sides of the interior and take note of any temperature changes you notice.

When you move the thermometer from one place to the next, let it sit inside the oven for at least 10 minutes before you check it again. This gives the oven time to reheat again after the door has been opened and gives the thermometer enough time to get a new reading.

Can You Leave an Oven Thermometer In the Oven?

After testing your oven and its heating capability with an oven thermometer, you may be wondering, ‘can I simply leave the device inside my oven all of the time?’

An oven in the kitchen at home

Yes, you can, and some people find they get even better baking results when they can monitor the heat every step of the way. Leaving the thermometer inside with the food while you cook can also help you keep track of temperature changes due to the door being opened. This trick is particularly helpful if you are baking or cooking more than one food dish at a time and know you will need to open the oven door one or more times.

Oven Thermometers Made Easy

Oven thermometers are relatively simple devices that can be used to seriously improve your oven’s overall performance, especially when it comes to baking recipes. Now that you know how to use an oven thermometer and how easy they are to purchase, we recommend testing your oven’s thermostat as soon as possible.

You will be surprised at how much it helps. Just remember, test the centre of the oven first and then test other areas to check for cold or hot spots. Also, slight variations are normal, and you can typically adjust the thermostat accordingly when you bake. However, if the thermostat is off by a considerable amount, you may want to consider recalibrating your oven.

Do you have some more tips? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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