Thermapen ONE Food Thermometer Review

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The old kitchen adage is that a watched pot never boils. If you’re using a typical kitchen thermometer, properly temping your pot of ingredients can feel just as long. Whether it’s soups, doughs, or meat, getting a quick (and more importantly precise) temperature reading of a dish is crucial to culinary perfection.

Now you can sear, stab, and certain in seconds thanks to the Thermapen ONE, a new instant-read thermometer from ThermoWorks, which can give accurate temperature readings in just one second.

Check out the Thermapen ONE on Amazon.

Does This ONE Really Outdo an Average Meat Thermometer?

thermapen ONE battery compartment

In a word, yes.

Its discreet design allows the long metal probe to fold into the display housing in the handle, which means the Thermapen ONE can be operated and stored easily in a protective leather sleeve.

Available in 10 different bold colors that will fit in with any style of kitchen décor, it does indeed live up to its claim of giving instant readings in as little as a second.

But it’s not just the convenience that makes this a gadget you’ll want to have around.

Cook Confidently, Not Awkwardly

Its thoughtful motion activation feature means the Thermapen will turn on automatically when you pick it up and automatically power down if it’s set down. This reduces the amount of guesswork for new users and cuts down on external buttons and clutter, keeping the instrument sleek.

The digital display will automatically flip to show you digits right side up, which is especially useful for taking readings at odd angles, like reaching into an oven and plunging a poultry’s center mass for a perfect feast.

During our side-by-side tests, this convenience alone put the Thermapen ONE’s performance well above a standard oven probe, which was harder to maneuver and took longer to produce a temp reading.

The Thermapen ONE is even a step up from existing ThermoWorks instruments, as in addition to one-second results the device’s calibration specs have also been improved, now boasting industry-leading levels of accuracy to within one half of a degree.

Along with a probe tip made with Biomaster Silver Ion techniques for increased antimicrobial protection, we felt comfortable putting this little pen through its paces on a wide variety of dishes and even in a few other applications DIYers and hobbyists may enjoy.

Note: The ONE thermometer is for instant readings. For a leave-in style meat thermometer that can measure temperatures over a low and slow cook period for barbecue and smokers, check out some of these options on Amazon.

thermapen ONE food thermometer

How to Calibrate an Instant Read Kitchen Thermometer

One significant difference between the Thermapen ONE and what is currently in your drawer is that its excellent sensitivity to temperatures means that it doesn’t ‘start’ at zero.

The moment you unfold your Thermapen the metal needle will begin giving data. Wave it around in the air, it’ll give you a good idea of the room temperature. Squeeze it in the palm of your hand and it will tell you the surface temp of your skin.

For the best operation and peace of mind, take a few minutes to verify your instant-read thermometer is properly calibrated. For instance, we know water freezes into solid ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and liquid water’s boiling point is 212 F (100 C).

Take the time to make a small ice bath in a bowl or boil a pot of water.

Even though the ONE comes with a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Certificate of Calibration, placing the probe’s sensor tip a mere three centimeters (1/8 inch) into an ice bath and verifying that the thermometer detects the bath as 32 degrees is the quickest way to set yourself up for success.

Tip: If a thermometer fails the ice bath test, compensate and take the miscalibration into account if you plan to continue using it.

For example, if a bowl of frozen ice cubes registers a few degrees above freezing temps your pot roast is also likely a couple degrees off in reality from what an improperly calibrated thermometer will show.

food thermometer in burned meat reading 202 degrees

Putting the Pen Through Its Paces

Both our initial calibration tests and temping of standard dishes such as steaks, burgers, and even soups and delicate seafood all worked perfectly.

Accurate and immediate results. In the case of one batch of steaks, waiting for a traditional meat thermometer to arrive at an answer actually let the steak overcook a few degrees from our target temp.

Meanwhile, the Thermpen let us know in a second, and we pulled that batch from the hot pan to rest immediately. Notably, the Thermapen ONE will not tell you if your food is done, just its internal temperature.

It’s still on the cook to have a bit of skill and knowledge to aim for a target temp that the pen can confirm.

For pans that maintain consistent, high temps for perfectly seared proteins and vegetables try time-tested cast ironware.

We also intentionally tested this thermometer on dishes where the hero protein wasn’t visible.

While some experienced chefs and gourmets can eyeball the doneness of a burger or judge a steak’s wellness by the touch and give of the cooked meat, layered and wrapped dishes like a bacon-wrapped pork shoulder and a beef wellington hidden inside a shell of puff pastry leave cooks in the dark.

You have to pop it in the oven, wait, and hope for the best. That anxiety melts away like melt in your mouth tenderloin with a one-second thermometer in your arsenal.

Other Applications

The sturdy construction and antimicrobial properties of this thermometer make it a versatile tool.

Even small tasks around the kitchen like poaching an egg in water that’s not quite boiling and activating a dry yeast in water warm, not hot water, were a breeze with the Thermapen ONE.

The incredibly sensitive and fast tip are even useful in the workshop. We drilled some test holes in a wooden board and by placing the Thermapen in the drilled hole could see in real-time the wood hold heat from the friction of the drill and see precisely when it cooled down and the area was safe for hands, fingers, or screws. This is not the intended use of the pen, but it’s good to know it performs.

For a reliable way to measure surface temperatures consider a device with features like this.

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