When cooking, it is important to know that the temperature you set on the dial actually matches the temperature within the oven. Unfortunately, built-in oven thermometers aren’t entirely accurate thanks to their placement in the oven and the oven’s temperature cycling methods.
In this article, we go over everything you need to know about oven thermometers, testing your oven’s temperature accuracy for yourself, and the best thermometer to check oven temperature at home. The process is much more simple than you are probably imagining, so you’re just a few steps away from understanding your oven completely for the first time. Keep reading if you want to learn more and do this process yourself.
Is Oven Built-in Thermometer Really Accurate?
Although your oven has a thermometer built right into it, this thermometer is likely inaccurate for a few reasons. In fact, your oven’s thermometer could be off by up to 50 degrees, which makes a huge difference when cooking and baking delicate recipes at home.
The biggest reason for this inaccuracy is the thermometer’s placement inside of the oven. When you put food in the oven to cook, you typically place it on a rack in the middle of the oven. However, built-in thermometers need to be out of the way and are therefore located in the oven’s rear or along the side walls.
Temperatures can vary greatly between the walls of the oven and the middle, so your food may not actually be experiencing the temperature you have intended to cook it at. These outer areas of the oven are also more likely to experience hot spots and drafts that give an inaccurate reading.
Another reason that you can’t always rely on your oven’s built-in thermometer is due to temperature cycling. Your oven is trying to maintain one constant temperature that you have set while cooking, and it does this by cycling between higher and lower temperatures. If the initial temperature isn’t even accurate, then this process of temperature cycling only makes the number on the dial less accurate.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to test for this inaccuracy yourself without help from any professionals. Once you understand just how of your oven’s built-in thermometer is, then you can adjust the dial to make up for it.
How to Test Your Oven’s Temperature Accuracy
SO, if you can’t rely on the oven’s built-in thermometer, what can you do to make sure that your food is cooking at the right temperature?
Luckily, the process of testing your oven’s temperature accuracy is actually quite simple and only requires one tool. We suggest using the ThermoPro Meat Thermometer for this process because is extremely reliable, accurate and designed to be used in an oven’s high-temperature range.
An oven that is off by even just a few degrees can make a huge difference in the quality of meats, baked goods, and other foods coming out of your oven. Below, we have put together a step-by-step guide that you can follow to test your oven’s temperature accuracy for yourself and make sure that your food is perfect each and every time.
- Place the probe from your meat thermometer directly in the center of your oven’s rack and preheat to 350 degrees
- When the oven alerts that it is preheated, take note of the temperature on the thermometer and compare it to the temperature you have set.
- Allow the oven to remain at this temperature for 2 hours, taking temperature readings every 15 minutes and listing them.
- Find the average temperature by adding all of your temperature readings together and then dividing by the total number of temperatures on the list. Ideally, this average should be very close to the original set temperature of 350 degrees. If not, then the oven’s built-in thermometer is not accurate.
Don’t stress about any inaccuracies in your oven’s temperature. In the next section, we will go over how you can adjust your oven’s temperature dial to make up for this difference yourself. We hope you see just how easy it can be to test your oven’s accuracy when you have the proper tools and understand the process a little better.
Tip: How to Adjust Your Oven’s Temperature Dial
If you go through the process above and realize that your oven’s built-in thermometer is inaccurate, then you will want to adjust the temperature dial so that your set temperature actually matches the temperature at the oven’s center.
This process is far less overwhelming than you might think, and we have put together a guide for how you can do it yourself.
- After going through the process of testing your oven’s temperature accuracy, find the difference between the actual temperature and the temperature you had set on the dial.
- Take the plastic control knob off your oven’s temperature dial. It should slip right off fairly easily, but a butter knife or flathead screwdriver can be used on particularly stubborn knobs.
- Look at where the alignment part of the dial is. This is the flat spot along the alone side of the dial. Mark this spot on the knob with a marker.
- Screws should be holding the outer portion of the dial to the portion inside the range. Unscrew these.
- With the dial unscrewed, you should be able to turn it easily for adjustment. If you found that the oven was running hotter than you had set it, turn the dial stem clockwise to correct for this difference. If the oven had been running cooler than adjust the dial stem counter-clockwise to make up for the difference.
- Retighten the screws and place the dial’s knob back onto the stem.
- To make sure that your adjustment is accurate, you may repeat the process for testing your oven’s temperature accuracy and fine-tune your adjustment as necessary.
It’s as simple as that. With your oven’s temperature dial adjusted, you can rest assured that your food is being cooked at exactly the temperature you have intended each and every time you use your oven. It is far easier than most people think, and it makes a world of difference when you are cooking meats, baked goods, and other foods that require a precise temperature.
Finding a Good Oven Thermometer
When you are dealing with a possibly inaccurate built-in oven thermometer, it would be pointless to test your oven’s temperature accuracy with yet another unreliable thermometer. This is why finding an accurate, high-quality, and reliable oven thermometer is so important.
First, you want to make sure that the thermometer you’re using is intended for this purpose. Ovens reach incredibly hot temperatures that a standard thermometer can’t read or withstand. You will want to find a thermometer that is built for this, such as an oven-specific or meat thermometer.
It is also important to find a thermometer that is easy for you to use. Look for an option with easy controls, instant temperature readings, and a clear display screen so that you can go through this process easily yourself. With the right tools, you’ll be able to test your oven’s temperature with accuracy and rely on the results in the future.
If you want the most reliable thermometer you can get your hands on, then we highly recommend the ThermoPro Meat Thermometers. These thermometers are perfect for oven use, can withstand high temperatures, is the incredibly accurate thermometers, and has an easy to read display along with simple controls.
We hope that this article helped you better understand why your oven’s built-in thermometer isn’t always reliable and what you can do about it. By following our simple guides for testing your oven’s temperature accuracy and adjusting the temperature dial, you can rest assured that the food in your oven is actually cooking at the temperature you set to begin with. By using the ThermoPro Meat Thermometer, you can accurately go through this process yourself and have your oven running properly in no time.