Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart for Meat, Poultry, Eggs, and More

Cooking at home has been increasing in popularity over the years, thanks in part to the pandemic encouraging people to adapt to new ways of life, discover safe and fulfilling hobbies, and spend more time with family. Cooking and baking unite all of these aspects, plus they are practical and economical. How many households cook? It’s estimated that approximately 70% of Americans prepare the majority of their meals at home. The Institute of Food Technologists found that the most popular recipes during quarantine based on search results included banana bread, pancakes, chicken, pizza dough, brownies, crepes, French toast, meatloaf, lasagna, and cheesecake. Millennials and Gen Z in particular are delving into the world of cooking and baking, experimenting with seasonings and slow cookers. With this newfound passion for cooking sprouting up around the globe, it’s important to highlight food safety. This helpful, easy reference infographic from the How to Cook Recipes team shows the safe minimum cooking internal temperatures for various meats, poultry, and other food:

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Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart for Meat, Poultry, Eggs, and More

The four steps of food safety are as follows:

  1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces frequently. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating to eliminate the spread of germs that cause food poisoning. Wash countertops, cutting boards, and utensils with hot, soapy water. Rinse fresh fruits and veggies under running water.
  2. Separate: Raw poultry, meat, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods. Keep them separate. That means using separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, seafood, and poultry. When grocery-shopping, avoid letting raw meat, poultry, and seafood (and their juices) touch other foods. Keep these separate in the fridge, too.
  3. Cook: Ensure that you are cooking foods to the right internal temp. This food temperature chart can help you to cook your food properly using a food thermometer. Note that you can’t tell if it is safely cooked by texture and color alone.
  4. Chill: Refrigerate food promptly. Keep the fridge temperature at 40°F or below. Refrigerate perishable food within two hours or within one hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90°F.

These crucial food safety tips can help keep you and your family safe.

What Is the Safe Temperature for Beef?

The minimum safe cooking temperature for beef is 145°F for fresh beef, veal, and lamb. However, the safe cooking temperature for ground meat is slightly higher, including ground beef. Ground meat and meat mixtures (beef, turkey, veal, and lamb) should be cooked to 160°F to be considered safe. The safe cooking temperature for pork and ham is also 145°F. For all of these meats, it is important to let the meat rest three minutes before testing the temperature.

What Is the Safe Temperature for Chicken?

The minimum safe cooking temperature for chicken and other poultry (such as turkey, duck, and goose) is 165°F. The safe cooking temperature for precooked ham is also 165°F. Leftovers and casseroles also fall into this category, no matter what ingredients they contain.

What Is the Safe Temperature for Fish?

The minimal safe cooking temperature for fish with fins is 145°F. One helpful indicator is if the flesh is opaque and splits easily with a fork. Shellfish such as lobsters, crabs, and scallops need to be cooked until the flesh is pearly or white and opaque. For clams, mussels, and oysters, there are not specific temps to cook them to. Rather, cook them until the shells open on their own and for any that do not open just throw them away.


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This page was last updated by Megan Miller