In-cylinder temperature is a critical quantity for modeling and understanding combustion dynamics in internal combustion engines (ICEs). It is difficult to measure in small, two-stroke engines due to high operational speeds and limited space to install instrumentation. Optical access was established in a 55-cm3 displacement two-stroke engine using M4 bolts as carriers for sapphire rods to establish a 1.5-mm diameter optical path through the combustion chamber. Temperature laser absorption spectroscopy was successfully used to measure time varying in-cylinder temperature clocked to the piston position with a resolution of 3.6 crank angle degrees (CAD) at 6000 rpm. The resulting temperature profiles clearly showed the traverse of the flame front and were qualitatively consistent with in-cylinder pressure, engine speed, and delivery ratio. The temperature measurements were compared to aggregate in-cylinder temperatures calculated using the ideal gas model using measured in-cylinder pressure and trapped mass calculated at exact port closure as inputs. The calculation was sensitive to the trapped mass determination, and the results show that using the ideal gas model for in-cylinder temperature calculations in heat flux models may fail to capture trends in actual in-cylinder temperature with changing engine operating conditions.