How Thermometers work: Dial Thermometers


Thermometers are instrumental in the cooking process. A thermometer is a great way to know if your food is fully cooked, safe and ready to eat! This is the second part of “How Thermometers Work” series and we will explain how to properly use a dial thermometer!


Dial thermometers are a circular device with two main components; the needle and the temperature sensor. There are multiple types of dial thermometers, but the Bimetal or Bimetallic dial thermometers are the most common. The bimetal thermometer has been used by humans for over 200 years and continues to be an accurate and reliable source to gauge the temperature of food or other materials. You can use a number of different metals to make this thermometer work, but it is important to be sure that one of the metals has low heat sensitivity and the other is high heat sensitivity. They are designed to bend and expand when heated. The hotter the temperature, the further to needle is pushed up the dial.

When using the dial thermometer insert the metal pointed stem 2 – 2 ½” deep into the thickest part of the food you are measuring.  It will take about 4-7 seconds to get an accurate temperature reading. This thermometer is perfect for all types of food such as poultry, meat, casseroles and soups. When measuring thin pieces of meat you must insert the probe through the side of the slice, and not on the top. One more tip that I should probably let you know is – DO NOT use the dial thermometer inside the oven or barbecue unless you enjoy a side of melted plastic with your dinner.


To learn how to properly calibrate your dial thermometer check out our previous blog Facts about thermometers ! To check out some of the CCI Dial Thermometers check out the CCI Canada or CCI USA. Next in our series – the Digital Thermometer! Til next time!

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