Determining Doneness

From National Cattlemen’s Beef Association |

Ground Beef

  • Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center or thickest part of a meatloaf or meatball, or horizontally from the side into the center for patties.
  • All cooking times in this brochure are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef.  Ground Beef (patties, meatloaves, meatballs) should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (medium doneness).  Color is not a reliable indicator of Ground Beef doneness.


  • Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer prior to roasting (into the thickest part of the roast, not resting in fat or touching bone) and leave in throughout the cooking process.
  • Or, insert an instant-read thermometer toward end of cooking time (as described above) for about 15 seconds.  Remove thermometer; continue cooking, if necessary.


  • For steaks (1/2 inch or thicker), insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side, so that it penetrates the thickest part or the center of the steak, not touching bone or fat.
  • After cooking, let steaks stand 3 minutes before serving.
  • Medium Rare = 145 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Medium = 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Well Done = 170 degrees Fahrenheit