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Want to know how Ina Garten cooks with consistency? Her secret is this oven thermometer, and it's just $9 at Amazon

The Barefoot Contessa-approved Taylor Oven Thermometer lets you know your oven's true temperature for better results. How easy is that?

I worked as a professional baker before I started writing about kitchen products for a living, and if there's one thing I know, it's that ovens can be, well ... liars. I can't tell you how many times I've tried baking a cake, only to find the center was still mush, even after exceeding the cooking time listed in the recipe. An inconsistency in temperature is often the culprit, which is why it's no surprise to me that Ina Garten herself included an oven thermometer — namely, the Taylor Oven Thermometer — on her website's list of recommended cooking equipment. If this model is good enough for the Barefoot Contessa, it's certainly good enough for us home cooks, and for just $9 at Amazon? It's really a no-brainer.

Say goodbye to raw chicken and overcooked brownies — this kitchen essential helps ensure your oven is working the way it should. 

Pros
  • Made of strong stainless steel
  • Can be hung or placed on an oven rack
  • Wide temperature range (100-600°F)
Cons
  • Some reviewers say the display can be difficult to read through oven doors or from far away
$8 at Amazon

Whether your oven has hot spots or cooler areas, being able to gauge the temperature just might be the solution you've been waiting for if you've experienced inconsistent results. As Ina told the New York Times, "No matter what it says on the dial, the oven itself could be totally different" — and if her pro-level oven needs a backup reading, just think of how helpful having one could be for the rest of us.

The Taylor Oven Thermometer is made of sleek, durable stainless steel and has a large display with a bright red pointer designed for better visibility. It takes temperatures ranging from 100-600°F (50-300°C), and you can either place it right on one of your oven racks, or hang it if you need more space for sheet trays. Plus, it's NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)-certified, meaning it's been thoroughly tested for safety.

One note: The manufacturer recommends placing it in an area that's visible through your oven door; that way, you won't have to keep opening the door to check the reading, as that lets heat out and could affect the temperature.

a photo of ina garten smiling in her kitchen
Even culinary pros like Ina Garten need to double-check their oven's temperature — it happens to the best of us! (Talaya Centeno/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)

It's not just Ina who's a fan of the Taylor Oven Thermometer — over 5,700 Amazon customers have given it a perfect rating.

"I use this thermometer to test the accuracy of various ovens during a home inspection," shared one satisfied shopper. "I compared the thermometer with two others for the first time to compare for accuracy. This one is as accurate as any other I have used. Notably, 80% of all ovens I test are more than 20 degrees off of the thermostat. Always check your oven."

"Bought this because cookies just weren't coming out right, despite using the same ingredients/recipe as previously," wrote another impressed buyer. "Found out that my oven temp was 25 degrees off! It hangs easily from the top rack so it's easy to check and see when we've reached the correct temp."

"I do a lot of smoking on my grill and use two thermometers to ensure even heat distribution," explained a final reviewer. "Taylor oven thermometers are always within a degree or two of each other, and from the thermometer in the lid of my grill. I only wish the numbers were a bit easier to read from a couple of feet away, but that's quibbling."

At this price, snag a few so you're able to compare the temps of different parts of your oven. 

$8 at Amazon

Also on Ina's list? A heavy-duty Lodge cast iron skillet, which I can vouch for as well.

Cast iron pans aren't as high-maintenance as you'd think, and they're ideal for a wide array of cooking tasks, from frying and searing to baking and roasting. Because iron is excellent at retaining and distributing heat, nothing will give you a better sear on your steak or crispy exterior on your potatoes.

Check out my full Lodge Cast Iron Skillet review for more. 

$20 at Walmart
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$20 at Amazon$20 at Lowe's

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.