Recommended and Safe Meat Cooking Temperatures for Perfect Meat and Fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For most people, getting the proper temperature is the most difficult part of cooking meat. Overcooking leads to dried out meat and disappointing results. And undercooking can cause foodborne illness.

The best way to ensure that you get perfect results is to buy a good thermometer. I  recommend buying an instant-read version for the most reliable results.

I have listed the USDA safe minimum internal temperature and the temperature that the Food Network recommends for beef, veal and lamb cooked for personal preference.

I recommend that you print out this chart, put it in a plastic sheet protector and keep it in your kitchen for reference.

Some of the digital thermometers I recommend are here:

Digital Meat Thermometer with Instant Read – Thin Stainless Steel Probe for Cooking and Grilling Food to Perfection

Category Food USDA SAFE Temperature (°F)  Food Network Rest Time 
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160 None
Turkey, Chicken 165
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145 Rare 125 3 minutes
  Medium Rare

130-135

3 minutes
  Medium 135-140
  Medium Well 145 3 minutes
Poultry
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 None
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145 3 minutes
Fresh ham (raw) 145 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F and all others to 165 °F None
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm None
Egg dishes 160 None
Leftovers & Casseroles 165 None
Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. 130-135 None