The Big List of Temperatures

All temperatures listed in degrees Fahrenheit. Sorry, deal with it.

Mostly collected from J. Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab and Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking. Please submit additions or corrections to

Temperature Effect
3000 Gas burns
2000 Coals burn, electric cooking elements glow
400 At roasting temperatures at or above, meat surface browns quickly but high moisture loss and uneven interior temperature
400 Soufflés rise fastest above
350 A moderate roasting temperature offering a compromise between high-temperature browning and low-temperature evenness
325-350 Soufflés rise modestly
300-350 Typical shallow or deep frying temperature for meat
280 Ultra High Temperature cream pasteurization in 2 seconds, usually not sterile so must be refrigerated
265-300 Ultra High Temperature milk pasteurization, takes 1-3 seconds. Sterile, can be stored for months without refrigeration.
250 Milk solids in butter begin to brown and then burn. Hazel/black butter
250 Ideal pan temperature for fried eggs
250 Water boils in a pressure cooker
250 At roasting temperatures at or below, escaping moisture helps cool meat surface resuling in even temperature and doneness with little browning
240-250 250 Soft-ball candy stage
230-250 Milk sterilizes in 8-30 minutes, develops a strong flavor, can be stored indefinitely at room temperature.
212 Water boils at sea level
203 Water boils in Denver
200 Common oven tempterature for meringues
200 Meat fibers easily separate from each other, collagen dissolves rapidly
200 Approximate temperature of smoke
200 Fibers in fish begin to disintegrate
194 Water boils at 10,000 feet elevation
185 Cream for butter is pasteurized, resulting in a custardy, cooked aroma
185 Temperature required to eliminate some viruses present in seafood
180-190 Cooking temperature for hard-cooked eggs
180 Parmesan and pecorino melt
180 Ovalbumin (54% of total albumin protein) sets in egg whites
180 Egg whites become firm
180 Crème Anglaise thickens to coat a spoon
180 Actin (meat fiber protein) denatures and coagulates
175 Starch added to eggs will absorb water at or above and slow protein binding, preventing curdling
172 Lactoglobulin, a whey protein, denatures
171 Common modern milk pasteurization temperature
170 Milk develops "cooked" flavor (vanilla, almond, sulfer)
170 Lysozyme (3.5% of total albumin protein) sets in egg whites
170 Meat: USDA well
170 All fiber-weakening enzymes in fish have been denatured and inactivated
165 Poultry thigh meat should be cooked to at least in order to fully break down connective tissue
165 Cream > 20% fat pasteurizes after 30 minutes
165 Whole eggs (yolks + whites mixed together) set
162 Milk pasteurizes in 15 seconds
160-165 Cooking temperature for Middle Eastern long-cooked eggs (6-18 hours)
160 Some whey proteins begin to denature
160 Eggs free from salmonella after 1 minute
160 Collagen dissolves into gelatin
160 Myoglobin mostly denatured and coagulated
160 Meat becomes stiff, is gray/brown, has lost most moisture
160 Cooking temperature for emulsified sausages so that interior water does not boil, burst, and leak moisture
160 Fish has become stiff and dry
158 Egg yolk proteins set
155 Cream <= 20% fat pasteurizes after 30 minutes
155 E. coli die
155 Meat: well (USDA medium)
155 Poultry breast meat becomes dry and tough when heated above
150 Cheddar- and Swiss-style cheeses melt
150 Egg whites become a tender solid
150 Egg yolk proteins begin to thicken
150 Myoglobin continues to denature, turning meat from pink to brown or gray
150 Refrigerated cooked meat safe to eat after being reheated
150 Myocommata sheets in fish dissolve into gelatin
145 Milk pasteurizes in 30-35 minutes
145 Egg whites begin to thicken
145-155 Meat: medium well (USDA medium rare)
140-160 Meat tenderizing enzymes extracted from plants are most active
140-150 Collagen denatures and meats shrink, expel juices, and become chewier
140 Ovotransferrin (12% of total albumin protein) sets in egg whites
140 Eggs free from salmonella after 5 minutes
140 Eggs at or above will give off hydrogen sulfide, which produces the distinct eggy smell
140 Myoglobin begins to denature, meats start to lose deep red
140 Protein-bound water flows from meat cells under collagen pressure
140 Meat starts to shrink
140 Temperature required for eliminating bacteria and parasites in seafood
140 Fish becomes dry
137 Trichinosis-causing trichina spiralis worms die
135-145 Meat: medium (USDA rare)
130-180 Typical meat temperature during hot smoking
130-140 Pasteurization temperature for eggs
130-140 Most fish are firm but still moist
130 Whey is expelled from curd particles in cheesemaking
130 Soft cheeses melt
130-135 Meat: medium rare
130 Myosin, meat fiber protein, has coagulated
130 Collagen sheaths in meat begin to weaken
130 Fiber-weakening enzymes in fish have denatured
130 Fish becomes flaky as muscle sheets in begin to separate
122 Cathespins, enzymes which break down contractive filaments in meat and dissolve collagen into gelatin, denature and lose effectiveness at or above, but are most active just under
120-130 Meat: rare
120-130 Collagen in fish disolves into gelatin
120 Ideal meat carving and serving temperature
120 Meat develops a white opacity as myosin denatures and begins to coagulate
120 Myosin in fish has coagulated
110 Meat: bleu
110 Fish starts to shrink, becomes firmer and opaque
106-114 Yogurt ferments in 2-5 hours
105 Calpains, enzymes which break down structural proteins in meat, denature and lose effectiveness at or above
104-113 Thermophilic lactobaccili and streptococci bacteria thrive, develop high levels of lactic acid
100 Protein-bound water begins to escape and accumulate within meat cells
100 Myosin in fish begins to denature
100 Collagen sheaths in fish shrink and rupture
100 Escape of protein-bound water in fish accelerates
90 Milkfat in cheese melts
86 Yogurt ferments in 6-12 hours
85 Butter melts
85 Mesophilic lactococci and Leuconostoc bateria thrive, develop moderate levels of lactic acid in 12-24 hours
80 Koumiss ferments in 2-5 hours (before cool aging)
80 Milkfat in cheese begins to melt and sweat out of cheese
75 Propionibacter shermanii, the Swiss cheese hole-making bacteria, grows
72 Buttermilk ferments in 14-16 hours
72 Sour cream ferments in 16 hours
70 Fiber proteins in fish begin to unfold
70 Collagen in fish begins to weaken
70 Protein-bound water in fish begins to escape
70 Maximum emulsion temperature (before fat separates) for beef-based sausages
68 Crème fraîche ferments in 15-20 hours
68 Ropy milks ferment in 18 hours
68 Kefir ferments in 24 hours
60 100 Fermentation temperature range for sausages
60-80 Typical smoke box temperature for cold-smoking
60 Butter becomes spreadable
60 Maximum emulsion temperature (before fat separates) for pork-based sausages
55-60 Ideal cheese storage temperature
40-140 Salmonella multiply
40-45 Typical refrigerator temperature
40 Milk stored at or below will stay fresh for 10-18 days
40 Maximum storage temperature for meat confits
40 Margarine becomes spreadable
34-38 Dry-aging temperature for beef
32 Water freezes
32 Meats keep best at or below
32 Fish keeps twice as long on ice as at 40 (typical refrigeration temperature)
20-22 Soft-serve ice cream is served, half of water content is liquid
8-10 Ideal serving temperature for ice cream
5 Trichinosis-causing trichina spiralis worms die after 20 days at or below
0 Ideal maximum storage temperature for ice cream
0 Ideal freezing temperature for meats
0 Typical minimum home freezer temperature
-10 Parasites in fish die after 7 days
-22 At or above, fish myoglobin oxidizes and turns brownish, red tuna must be stored below to preserve color
-31 Parasites in fish die after 15 hours
-320 Boiling point of nitrogen