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Company name:

Date: _________


Cooking temperatures chart by

Food Type Minimum cooking temp (°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures Beef, pork, veal, lamb 160  
Turkey, chicken 165  
Fresh beef, veal, lamb Steaks, roasts, chops
Rest time: 3 minutes
Poultry All poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing 165  
Pork and ham Fresh pork, including fresh ham
Rest time: 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) 165  
Eggs and egg dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm  
Egg dishes (such as frittata, quiche) 160  
Leftovers and casseroles Leftovers and casseroles 165  
Seafood Fish with fins 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork  
Shrimp, lobster, crab and scallops Cook until flesh is pearly or white, and opaque  
Clams, oysters, mussels Cook until shells open during cooking  

Cooking temperatures chart by

Company name:

Date: _________

Food Ground meat and meat mixtures  
Type Beef, pork, veal, lamb  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 160  
Food Ground meat and meat mixtures  
Type Turkey, chicken  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 165  
Food Fresh beef, veal, lamb  
Type Steaks, roasts, chops
Rest time: 3 minutes
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 145  
Food Poultry  
Type All poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 165  
Food Pork and ham  
Type Fresh pork, including fresh ham
Rest time: 3 minutes
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 145  
Food Pork and ham  
Type Precooked ham (to reheat)  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 165  
Food Eggs and egg dishes  
Type Eggs  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) Cook until yolk and white are firm  
Food Eggs and egg dishes  
Type Egg dishes (such as frittata, quiche)  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 160  
Food Leftovers and casseroles  
Type Leftovers and casseroles  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 165  
Food Seafood  
Type Fish with fins  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork  
Food Seafood  
Type Shrimp, lobster, crab and scallops  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) Cook until flesh is pearly or white, and opaque  
Food Seafood  
Type Clams, oysters, mussels  
Minimum cooking temp (°F) Cook until shells open during cooking  

Cooking temperature chart

  • Your food products need to be cooked to the correct and safe internal temperature to render it free from harmful bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms.
  • The required internal temperature depends on the food material you are using as well as its type and form.
  • A cooking temperature chart is a written document of the established and recommended internal cooking temperatures for specific food materials.

Reaching the correctly prescribed internal temperature in cooking is the main principle of applying heat to your food. This renders pathogens inactive and unable to cause foodborne illnesses. Some of the most prominent pathogens including S.aureus, Salmonella, Coxiella burnetti, and Campylobacter easily inactivated using proper thermal processing. With all the different prescribed time and temperature combinations in cooking different materials, your team may have occasional lapses in processing. To make the process more organized and free from a blunder, using a cooking temperature chart would be best.

Different types of foods such as vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, as well as liquid materials including milk and juices require different heating times and temperatures. This principle is because of the complex nature of food materials. Our cooking temperature chart template can help you compose your very own cooking temperature chart consisting of all the ingredients you use in your operations. Ensure that your team does not forget at which core temperature does your chicken has to be cooked or your beef and seafood. 

In this article, we'll briefly go through what is the significance of cooking temperature and why it's necessary to measure it when following your HACCP plan. Feel free to use our free cooking temperature chart template above.

What is a food's internal temperature?

Put simply, internal or core temperature is the temperature at the center of a food product. It's an important parameter to determine your food is cooked all the way through or not. Targeting the core of your food ensures that all parts of your raw material are cooked and subjected to the correct and safe temperature to inactivate harmful bacteria and other pathogens. Because of the complex composition of foods, the time it takes for heat to travel the center of your material greatly varies.

As an example, a pork material would normally need a higher temperature or longer heating time than that of a fish. This fact is because pork contains fat that slows down the speed of heat traveling. Additionally, pork has a more compact structure of proteins than fish. The same rationale is used when comparing the cooking temperature for vegetables and poultry. This point is where using a cooking temperature chart comes in handy. As a food business, you will surely use different kinds of ingredients. The cooking temperature may also vary in terms of the food material's form. Ground beef usually requires a higher meat temperature during cooking than lean meat since the potentially contaminated meat surface has been processed and distributed throughout the materials.

A food's internal temperature is measured using a kitchen thermometer. It's impossible to evaluate just by visually observing the food to know whether the food is cooked enough, so that's why you need to measure it.

Before we can start enjoying a meal, the food has to pass a long way in different supply chain stages.

Cooking temperature chart

It means that one piece of meat usually spends a significant amount of cooking time in different stores and transportation vehicles where the storage temperature needs to be covered and ensured. Cold storage similarly affects the cooking temp of your material. If poultry meat comes straight out of the cold storage, preoperational methods such as thawing are done. This step ensures that the meat is evenly cooked without overdoing the outer layer even before the center gets cooked.

Failure to achieve the standard cooking temperature may put your consumers at risk of getting unsafe food. Several cases of gastrointestinal illness are reported every year due to consuming undercooked foods. Such events may significantly affect your business. 


Food temperature chart as part of the documentation

Cooking temperature charts are an invaluable part of a HACCP food safety management system. Hitting the correct internal temperature is one of the key critical control points in food processing. In implementing your HACCP plan, your updated temperature logs on your cooking temperature chart are an important part of your commitment to food safety. Food safety audits would normally involve verification activities directed towards your cooking temperature charts.

Not sure how to make your own food temp chart and other monitoring forms of your HACCP plan? Go and check some of the most common food safety management documents from our HACCP plan template hub.


Customize your food temp chart

Your food temp chart must be customized based on the food products that you are serving in your food establishment. This document will become an essential part of your daily operations. A good food temperature chart must have an accurate description of which food is being described, the type of cooking method used, and the prescribed temperature to cook it.

Remember that although two of your food product may be made from the same type of raw material, the type of cooking method or the form of your meat will vary the cooking temperature. As an example, the cooking temp for ground beef is expected to be less harsh than that of a steak cut. Similarly, different cuts of meat will require different cooking temperatures.

Your best chance to make the cooking temp chart that is a perfect fit for your operations is trying out our cooking temperature chart template. Our templates can be customized based on your needs.


How to measure food internal temperature?

The best way to check the core cooking temperature is a food thermometer. Food thermometers are specially designed with a probe to easily puncture the meat and measure the temperature from its tip. To make sure that your temperature reading is accurate, you should orient your assigned employee on how to correctly measure temperature. This step includes instructions such as avoiding inserting the thermometer probe too close to the outer layer of your food or fiddling with the probe.

Below are the proper steps on how to measure the internal temperature of your food.

STEP 1. Pick the correct device – a thermometer probe that is ready to use.

Make sure the thermometer is right and is calibrated to be used correctly.

Some food businesses also have an infrared thermometer that can be pointed at food to measure its surface temperature. These thermometers are not effective for measuring the internal temperature of your food since they can only detect surface temp. 

A common probe thermometer is specially designed to detect the temperature of your food at approximately 10 seconds after inserting it into your food. A modern probe digital thermometer uses an automatic display panel for faster and more accurate temperature reading. Other more modern devices feature an instant-read thermometer.

STEP 2. Clean and sanitize the probe.

To measure the temperature of your food, you are required to insert the probe into the product. The whole thermometer must be always cleaned and sanitized before use. If the probe is not cleaned enough, pathogens and allergens may spread through cross-contamination. In addition, the sanitation of your thermometer must be done before and after every inspection.

STEP 3. Insert the probe.

Insert the thermometer midway into the food. The core temperature is always taken from the thickest part of the food! The point where you measure the temperature of your product is very important. Inserting it at a very shallow angle will not give you an accurate reading of your product's temperature.

STEP 4. Check the temperature.

The thickness of a standard probe was designed to give you an accurate temperature reading at approximately 10 seconds. For a digital cooking thermometer, allow the reading to stabilize. Most digital thermometers have an indication that the reading has reached stability. Depending on the type and form of food you are cooking, your target temperature will vary. The standard holding time at these target core temperatures is maintained at least 2 minutes!

Check the standard temperature according to your cooking temperature chart!

food temp chart


STEP 5. Record the temperature.

Depending on your HACCP plan risk analyses, you may also need to record the core temperature on your cooking logs. This serves as a record-keeping document for your monitoring procedures and for later verification activities. These documents also serve as proof of the proper implementation of your HACCP food safety management system. Make sure you follow all your food safety rules regarding temperature logs on time. Use any digital software to keep in mind and archive all food safety tasks.

STEP 6. Clean and sanitize AGAIN.

After every use, clean and sanitize your core thermometer to prevent any food contamination. Check from your cleaning schedule, which cleaning supplies to use. Additionally, place your thermometer in a safe spot where it will not be damaged or compromised.


Don't forget to calibrate your thermometers!

Before using a probe, you should be sure that the probe is calibrated to work accurately because the thermometer must always be accurate to +/-1°F. Calibration schedule and period are determined in your calibration plan. Depending on the brand and quality of your thermometer, calibration may be scheduled every quarter of the year or at least once a week. Traditional, metal probes usually need frequent calibration to check their accuracy. 

Cooking thermometers require periodic calibration to verify their performance. It means you need to check periodically that your thermometer is working correctly. For traditional probes, the thermometers are dipped in solutions with a predetermined temperature and your instrument's readings are compared with that of the standard. More advanced thermometers often times a digital meat thermometer, require special services from their manufacturer's representatives. 

Allow our FoodDocs mobile app to remind you of your calibration schedules. 

Most common calibration methods:

Calibration is an important step to ensure that your cooking temperature logs are accurate.

1. Hot calibration method – place your probe into boiling water and check if the temperature is between 210°F and 214°F.

2. Cold calibration method – place the probe into an ice and cold water mixture. Check if the temperature is between -30°F and 34°F.

If the temperature is not within the correct range, adjust your thermometer to the correct temperature while still in the water. Similarly, you can countercheck your results by dipping a recently calibrated spare thermometer and comparing the results. If you don't have an adjustable thermometer, ask a professional service provider to do it for you.


What are minimum standard cooking temperatures?

The cooking temperature standards may have little difference between countries and states and depend on the food (check the cooking temperature chart template above). The standard advice is to cook food until it has reached 158°F and have stayed at that temperature for 2 minutes.

Food should always be cooked thoroughly to kill the target pathogen. The principles behind the targeted internal temperature and required cooking times for processing are that these combinations represent the required parameters at which the target pathogens are most susceptible. Multiplication of pathogens is usually fastest in the ‘Temperature Danger Zone,' which is between 40°F and 140°F. Food products are more likely to spoil and cause food poisoning if kept in this temperature range for an extended period. That's why refrigerators operate at 42°F and lower. Below this range, the growth is stopped or slowed down, whereas, above 158°F, most pathogens start to die. 

The right cooking temperature is also important to give the food the correct degree of doneness (rare, medium, well-done). Although some consumers prefer their meat a bit rare, this is only advisable for dine-in businesses such as restaurants. To ensure 100% food safety, the meat should be well-done. To serve food that is undercooked, you need to provide a consumer advisory to protect highly susceptible customers like the elderly, pregnant women, toddlers, and people with compromised immune systems. For them, undercooked food can be dangerous and cause foodborne illness.


Meat temperature chart

As mentioned, the standard internal temperature required for different types of foods varies depending on the type of raw materials you have. The recommended cooking temperatures for meats such as pork is at least 145°F of internal temperature before removing from the heat source with a three-minute rest time before carving. Other fresh meats such as beef, veal, and lamb require the same conditions as pork, that is 145°F with a three-minute rest time.

This standard time and temperature combination were established by the USDA to have uniform pork, veal, lamb, and beef cooking temp chart to avoid confusion. Emphasis is given to the indicated "rest time", which is the period when the meat is set aside in a rack to cool. This step allows the residual heat to continue the cooking process in less harsh conditions. This standard cooking temp holds true for smoked, cured, and cooked meat products such as ham. On the contrary, when you are using cooked ham and you intend to reheat it, the internal cooking temperatures must at least reach 165°F. 

It's quite a different case when it comes to ground pork and other meats. This type of raw meat is known to have a higher count of microorganisms because it has already undergone processing. As such, the recommended processing for ground meat cooking temp is at 160°F with no resting time. 


Chicken temp chart and other poultry meats

Poultry meat which includes chicken products as well as turkey and game meats has a different cooking temperature chart. This type of meat is quite more sensitive and is not advised in any way to be eaten rare. Poultry is associated with the pathogen Salmonella which requires proper cooking to be eradicated. As such, your chicken temperature chart must indicate a minimum cooking temperature of 165°F. This applies to all parts of a chicken or turkey including thighs, breast meat, giblets, and others. A similar cooking temperature is advised for ground poultry meat including ground chicken and turkey. 

Related to poultry, egg dishes, and related products mixed with raw eggs require to be cooked to at least 160°F.


Minimum cooking temp for fish and other kinds of seafood

Because seafood, particularly fish and shellfish, have less cartilage than meats and poultry, they require less heating treatment. The general rule for these raw materials is to reach the internal temperature of at least 145°F for only 15 seconds. Seafood would have an opaque to shiny white cooked color as an indication of its doneness.


Important cooking temperature documents

Monitoring your cooking temperature logs make up a huge chunk of your HACCP plan. Complete documentation of your cooking processes is required to emphasize that your HACCP food safety system is well-established.

Here are some of the documents needed in relation to this requirement.

1. Cooking temperature chart. This document contains the prescribed temperatures for cooking specific ingredients in your process operations.

2. Cooking chapter with proper hazard analyses in your HACCP plan. This segment includes the analysis of hazards you are trying to eliminate or control as well as the rationale of applying cooking to the material. This document must also include the monitoring procedures as well as verification activities involved when checking your cooking temperature logs.

3. Cooking log to register the results. This document will act as your monitoring form for logging temperature checks on your cooking operations. Our cooking log template was built taking into account the necessary information needed in monitoring as well as in cases of non-compliance to the established critical limits. What's even better is that this template is completely customizable and you can edit every section to fit your operations.

4. Consumer advisory to protect highly susceptible customers. An advisory is a written statement for your consumers notifying them of the risk of consuming raw or undercooked food.


Not sure where to start with your food safety checklists? Don't have enough time? Our platform at FoodDocs can direct you through the HACCP processes and get your cooking temperatures chart done in no time. Become HACCP compliant in just 1 hour and make sure all your cooking temperature charts and logs are in place by using our services. 

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