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Timers, Thermometers & Scales

Precision is usually a really big help in cooking. True, everyone’s style is different, and if you have a feel for when meat is done to your liking, or when it’s time to flip burgers on the grill, that’s awesome. If you want a way to double-check the temperature of your favorite recipes before serving them to guests, food thermometers give you an accurate reading. The end result is moist and juicy steaks cooked to exactly the doneness you want, roasts that are crispy on the outside and cooked inside, and beautifully flaky fish fillets. At Williams-Sonoma, we want you to have complete control over your recipes from start to finish. Our high-quality timers, thermometers and scales give you consistent results. If you’re trying to decide between different styles, our guide to kitchen measuring devices can help.


There are a lot of different types of food thermometers. Some are digital, others feature dials and there are even infrared sensors. Which one is best for you? That depends a lot on what kind of food you like to cook. Personal preference plays a big part too, since some chefs adore the traditional dial variety, and others swear by the innovation of digital thermometers instead. Here are a few things that set them apart.


Dial thermometers are the workhorse of the thermometer world. They’re used everywhere – and have been for a long time. It’s not surprising that some people are addicted to their simplicity of use: a long probe connects directly to the dial, which gives you a temperature reading in practically no time. Afterwards, most can be immersed safely in water or a dishwasher for quick cleanup.


Digital thermometers offer a more precise display – both dial and digital are very accurate with temperature readings – that shows you even fractions of degrees. They’re very easy to read, since you don’t need to guess at all. Some digital versions take things a step further with built-in programs for beef, chicken, pork, seafood and more that basically tell you when your food is at the desired doneness. It’s hard to beat the ease of use of digital.


Instant-read thermometers can be either digital or analog, and they are used to get a quick reading. They’re simple to use and ready at a moment’s notice. No buttons, no frills, just an accurate temperature. Most instant-read thermometers are designed to take readings with the food safely out of the oven; but there are leave-in designs that let you keep an eye on things from inside the oven, during the whole cooking process.


Digital thermometers with wired probes are great for taking the temperature of foods from a nice distance. That way your hands stay cool even with steaming hot proteins. Another benefit is that the probes are removable – and interchangeable – from the digital device. That keeps your dishes safe from cross contamination and saves time. How? Well, with one probe you can check the temperature of raw chicken. If you have veggies cooking at the same time, a separate probe lets you test them for doneness without needing to pause in between for cleaning.


Infrared thermometers let you read the surface temperature of anything without even needing to be close. If you want a golden sear on proteins, it’s nice to know when your pan’s surface reaches the temperature you want. The same thing goes for keeping an eye on your grill’s heat. Boiling liquids, stews and chocolate are easy to control this way. One note though: infrared thermometers can’t read interior temperatures, so for thick roasts it’s good to have a probe thermometer as well.


There are a lot of specialty thermometers as well that cater to your specific area of cooking expertise. For making candy and caramels, a candy thermometer is a huge help that can sit nicely in liquid for careful control. Oven thermometers give you a constant reading on the heat of the air inside your oven. Burger thermometers stay inside hamburgers while you’re grilling so you get juicy and delicious results every time.

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