The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Beef

updated Jun 3, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman

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

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F, which is considered medium-well. Ground beef, however, should be cooked to a higher temperature of 160°F.

How to Check the Temperature of Beef

To take the temperature of beef, insert a meat or instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the cut. To achieve the most accurate reading, try to get as close to the center as you can and avoid large pieces of fat, gristle, or bone.

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 a different degree of doneness, here’s a simple breakdown 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

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.

Learning about your favorite way to enjoy a steak is step one (are you a rare, medium, or well-done kind of person?). The second step is experimenting with the different ways you can cook it — on the stovetop, over flames on the grill, or this easy oven method.

More Resources on Cooking Chicken, Pork, Fish, and Lamb to the Proper Temperature

Knowing when it’s time to take the burgers off the grill or the pull the roast from the oven is helpful when trying serve up a safe and satisfying dinner. The same thought applies to fish, lamb, turkey, chicken, and pork. All the info you need in just one click!

Want More?

Get the Kitchn Daily in your inbox.