How To Tell When Steak is Done with Steak Doneness Chart

I have often found it difficult to tell when a steak is done enough to be safe to eat and not too well done that it is almost inedible. I didn’t like using the meat thermometer because so much of the juice would be lost once you punctured the meat. Then I was taught this simple touch method. It really made a difference in my ability to cook a near perfect steak.

I got one of my boy wonders to help me out since I couldn’t do this and take pictures. I’m no superwoman, you know. 🙂

What you do is hold your hand as shown in each photo. Then touch the fleshy part of your hand to feel the difference in firmness. Each diagram shows the way to hold your fingers to determine the doneness of the meat. Isn’t that cool?

If you prefer to use a meat thermometer then you can follow the guidelines below:

Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb, pork 160 degrees F

Beef, veal, lamb-roasts, steaks, chops
Medium rare 145 degrees F
Medium 160 degrees F
Well done 170 degrees F

Fresh pork-roasts, steaks, chops
Medium 160 degrees F
Well done 170 degrees F

Cook before eating 160 degrees F
Fully cooked, to reheat 140 degrees F

Ground Chicken, Turkey 165 degrees F
Whole Chicken, Turkey 165 degrees F
Breasts, roasts 165 degrees F
Thighs and wings Cook until juices run clear.

Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 degrees F
Egg dishes, casseroles 160 degrees F
Leftovers 165 degrees F

Information courtesy the U. S Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service


  1. Tee Thonen says:

    I must be lame. I truly don’t get it. Using my hand like the photos and I feel no difference.

  2. What a cool idea.

  3. Kathy A. says:

    Thanks SO much! I’ll try it tonight! I appreciate you sharing!!

  4. Thanks! I can’t wait to try it… I am a med rare girl and my hubby a well. I never get his cooked well enough.

  5. Usually I make my hubby cook the steaks, but when I do it myself I never know when they’re which stage of doneness they are at. This trick will be great!

  6. My steak never makes it three.


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