Phase-change memory (PCM) devices are enabled by amorphization- and crystallization-induced changes in the devices' electrical resistances. Amorphization is achieved by melting and quenching the active volume using short duration electrical pulses (similar to ns). The crystallization (set) pulse duration, however, is much longer and depends on the cell temperature reached during the pulse. Hence, the temperature-dependent crystallization process of the phase-change materials at the device level has to be well characterized to achieve fast PCM operations. A main challenge is determining the cell temperature during crystallization. Here, we report extraction of the temperature distribution on a lateral PCM cell during a set pulse using measured voltage-current characteristics and thermal modelling. The effect of the thermal properties of materials on the extracted cell temperature is also studied, and a better cell design is proposed for more accurate temperature extraction. The demonstrated study provides promising results for characterization of the temperature-dependent crystallization process within a cell. Published by AIP Publishing.