The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Beef

The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Beef

(Image credit: Henry Chen)

Whether you're cooking a massive prime rib or a simple pan-seared steak for one, it's good to know the temperature beef should reach before it's safe to eat. To make it easy to remember, the safe internal temperature for beef, lamb, and pork is the same!

Kitchen Fact: The safe internal temperature for cooked beef is 145° Fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F, and this reading should come from a meat or instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the beef not touching any bone. 145°F will yield beef cooked to a medium-well doneness.

Ground beef, however, should be cooked to a higher temperature of 160°F.

The Right Temperature for the Doneness You Want

There are those who wouldn't dream of eating beef cooked to medium-well, so if you want beef cooked to another doneness, here's a chart for the corresponding temperatures before any resting time:

  • Rare: 115 to 120°F
  • Medium-Rare: 120 to 125°F
  • Medium: 130 to 135°F
  • Medium-Well: 140 to 145°F
  • Well-Done: 150 to 155°F

Remember that these are suggested temperatures before you let the beef rest. Letting beef rest for a few minutes before serving will yield juicier meat, but some carryover cooking will occur that will take the internal temperature of the meat up by about five more degrees.

Kitchen Fact Source: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures at Foodsafety.gov

More Beef Cooking Tips from The Kitchn

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