The most accurate way to determine if poultry is done is to use a meat thermometer, and there are many different kinds available. It is important to use one to ensure cooked meats have reached a safe temperature, and also to prevent overcooking.
An oven-safe thermometer is placed in the deepest part of the thigh before putting the bird in the oven, where it stays throughout cooking. Be sure to position the thermometer so you can easily read it while it’s in the oven.
Instant read thermometers are great for a quick check at any point during cooking, but they cannot stay in the oven. The tip of the thermometer must be in the thickest part of the thigh, and it is important to make sure it’s not touching bone.
You can find the perfect spot for measuring the temperature of poultry, the thickest part of the thigh, by placing the thermometer horizontally into the thigh, or you can place it between the drumstick and side of the body. We recommend placing the thermometer beside the drumstick from the top so the numbers are easy to read. If you push it in and touch bone, just back the thermometer out a little to be in the meaty thigh of the chicken or turkey.
We recommend cooking poultry to a safe temperature of at least 165 degrees F. For more information on thawing or roasting a turkey, visit the USDA guidelines here.