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Roasting: How do I know if it’s done?

Since all roasts are different, cooking times will vary. Because of that, you’ll need to rely on a meat thermometer to give you an idea of progress.

AK Home Cooking SolutionsStandard meat thermometers have temperature ranges at which meat is "done" printed on the thermometer itself. Insert this type of thermometer into the roast before it goes into the oven, just peek at it periodically, comparing the doneness temperatures on the thermometer with the roast’s actual internal temperature.

Other "instant read" models are inserted into the food periodically during cooking and the temperature is then shown on the dial face or digital screen. With these thermometers, you need to know at which temperature meat is done.

No matter which type of thermometer you use, insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bone (if present), which will give an inaccurate reading. For chicken and turkey, insert the thermometer into the thigh—this dark meat area takes longer to cook than the breast meat.

Keep in mind that once you pull the roast out of the oven and let it rest before carving, the internal temperature will rise an additional five to 10 degrees. Factor this into the equation when the roast is close to being done.


Always let meats and poultry rest for at least 10 minutes after roasting and before carving. During cooking, juices concentrate at the center of the meat; resting allows them to redistribute throughout the meat. Early carving causes the juices to just leak onto the cutting board.

To safely transfer a roasted chicken to a cutting board, insert a sturdy metal skewer or the handle of a long wooden spoon through the cavity and use it to lift and move the bird.

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