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How to Test Digital Thermometer Accuracy with Ice Water

By Cook's Illustrated Published

You don't need lab-calibrated tools to find out if your kitchen thermometer is accurate. This simple test with ice water does the trick.

  • 1. Fill Container with Ice

    Start by filling a tall cup or container with ice. ThermoWorks, the maker of our favorite digital thermometer, recommends using crushed ice since it results in less space between pieces of ice than whole cubes would. Make sure to fill the container to the top.

  • 2. Add Water

    Slowly add water to the container until all but the top ½ inch of ice is covered with water. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. If the ice at the bottom of the container starts to float, you need to add more ice and water.

  • 3. Take the Temperature

    Place the thermometer probe into the ice-water mixture. You want to take care to stir it in the center of the container, avoiding the walls of the container. The thermometer should read 32°F in the ice bath, plus or minus the manufacturer’s specified accuracy. If your thermometer can be calibrated, you can adjust it so that it measures 32°F in the ice bath.

     

    Information adapted from thermoworks.com. 

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.