Cooking Food + Charts

Cooking food to a safe temperature is the best way to ensure safety.

That’s because when food reaches a safe minimum internal temperature, bacteria that may be lurking are destroyed.

Sound complicated? It’s not. It’s as easy as using a food thermometer.

About Food Thermometers

Food safety experts agree: food is safe to eat when it is cooked or reheated to a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
The only accurate way to know if food is cooked safely is to measure the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry,and egg products with a food thermometer.

You can’t tell by looking at food, use a food thermometer to be sure.
Color and texture are not reliable indicators of safely cooked food.

How to Use a Food Thermometer
1. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food.
Make sure it’s not touching bone,fat, or gristle.
For whole poultry, check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
For combination dishes, place the thermometer in the center or thickest portion of the food. Egg dishes and dishes containing ground meat or poultry should be checked in several places.
2. Wait the amount of time recommended for your particular type of thermometer
3. Compare your thermometer reading to the Safe Minimum Internal
Temperature Chart to determine if your food has reached at least a safe internal temperature.
4. Clean your food thermometer with hot, soapy water before and after
each use!

Tasting Tips
• Don’t taste food while it’s cooking. To ensure safety, food should not be tasted until it
reaches a safe minimum internal temperature.
• No double dipping. Use a clean utensil each time you taste food; otherwise, you may
contaminate the batch.

Done Versus Safe: What You Need to Know
Webster’s Dictionary defines “doneness” as the condition of being cooked to the desired
degree. This includes subjective qualities, like a food’s appearance, texture, and optimum
flavor.
But whether a food is cooked to a “safe” degree is another story. The standard that ensures“safety” is not subjective at all. It’s a simple matter of cooking food until the internal temperature reaches the level that ensures destruction of any potential pathogens, as measured with a food thermometer.
Visual signs of doneness should only be taken into consideration after the food has
reached a safe temperature. And if you’re thinking about leaving the food thermometer
in the drawer, consider this: According to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers
turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature!

Avoid the “Danger Zone”—Keep Hot Food Hot After Cooking
The possibility of bacterial growth is greater when food cools because the drop in temperature allows bacteria to thrive.

There are two ways to keep cooked food from entering the “Danger Zone”:
Don’t Interrupt Cooking:
Interrupted cooking allows partially cooked food to cool down . . . and may encourage bacterial growth before cooking is complete. To avoid this,make sure to cook food all the way through the first time.
Hold Hot Food at 140 ºF (60 °C):
If you aren’t going to serve food right away, it’s important to keep it at 140 ºF (60 °C) or above. Once food is safely cooked on the stovetop, in the oven,or in a microwave oven, keep food hot by using a heat source. Place food in chafing dishes, on warming trays, or in slow cookers.

Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart

Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four guidelines to keep food safe:

  • Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate—Separate raw meat from other foods.
  • Cook—Cook to the right temperature.
  • Chill—Refrigerate food promptly.

Cook all food to these minimum internal temperatures as measured with a food thermometer before removing food from the heat source. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook food to higher temperatures.

Product Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time
Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb
Steaks, chops, roasts
145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Ground meats 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked) 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Fully Cooked Ham
(to reheat)
Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).
Product Minimum Internal Temperature
All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing) 165 °F (73.9 °C)
Eggs 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Fish & Shellfish 145 °F (62.8 °C)
Leftovers 165 °F (73.9 °C)
Casseroles 165 °F (73.9 °C)

Meat and Poultry Roasting Chart

If you prefer, you may choose to cook these meats and poultry to higher temperatures.

Red Meat, Type Oven °F Timing Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time
BEEF, FRESH
Beef, rib roast, bone-in; 4 to 8 pounds 325 23 to 30 min/lb 145 °F and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Beef, rib roast, boneless; 4 pounds 325 39 to 43 min/lb
Beef, eye round roast; 2 to 3 pounds 325 20 to 22 min/lb
Beef, tenderloin roast, whole; 4 to 6 lbs 425 45 to 60 minutes total
Beef, tenderloin roast, half; 2 to 3 lbs 425 35 to 45 minutes total
POULTRY: Times are for unstuffed poultry. Add 15 to 30 minutes for stuffed birds. The internal temperature should reach 165 °F in the center of the stuffing.
Turkey, whole; 325 30 min/lb 165 °F and check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast.
Chicken, whole; 4 to 8 pounds 375 20 to 30 min/lb
CAPON, whole; 4 to 8 pounds 375 20 to 30 min/lb
CORNISH HENS, whole; 18 to 24 oz. 350 50 to 60 minutes total
DUCK, domestic, whole 375 20 min/lb
DUCK, wild, whole 350 18 to 20 min/lb
GOOSE, domestic or wild, whole 325 20 to 25 min/lb
PHEASANT, young, whole, 2 pounds 350 30 min/lb
QUAIL, whole 425 20 minutes total
LAMB
Lamb, leg, bone-in; 5 to 9 pounds
Lamb, leg, boneless; 4 to 7 pounds
325 20-26 min/lb 145 °F and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Lamb, crown roast; 3 to 4 pounds 375 20-30 min/lb
PORK, FRESH
Pork, loin roast, bone-in; 3 to 5 pounds 325 20-25 min/lb 145 °F and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Pork, loin roast boneless; 2 to 4 pounds 325 23-33 min/lb
Pork, crown roast; 6 to 10 lbs 325 20-25 min/lb
Pork, tenderloin; ½ to 1½ lbs 425 20-30 minutes total
PORK, CURED
Ham, cook-before-eating, bone-in; Whole, 14 to 16 pounds 325 18-20 min/lb 145 °F and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Ham, cook-before-eating, bone-in; Half, 7 to 8 pounds 325 22-25 min/lb
Ham, fully cooked, bone-in; Whole, 14 to 16 pound 325 15-18 min/lb 140 °F
Ham, fully cooked, bone-in; Half, 7 to 8 pounds 325 18-25 min/lb 140 °F
Ham, fully cooked, boneless; 3 to 4 lbs 325 27-33 min/lb 140 °F
Ham, country, dried (see label directions)
VEAL
Veal, boneless roast, rump or shoulder; 2 to 3 pounds 325 25-30 min/lb 145 °F and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Veal, bone-in roast, loin; 3 to 4 pounds 325 30-34 min/lb

Turkey Roasting Chart

Turkey Roasting ChartFor a fresh or thawed turkey:

  1. Set the oven to 325 °F.
  2. Cook to 165 °F.

Related Information:

Size of Turkey Unstuffed Stuffed
4 to 6 pounds (breast) 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2  to 5 hours 4 3/4  to 5 1/4  hours

special poultry chart