An oil thermometer is also known as a candy or deep-frying thermometer and is used to measure the temperatures of oils when deep-frying and pan-frying.
It is also used when making hot sugars and caramels hence the name candy thermometer.
Unlike meat thermometers, candy thermometers measure much higher temperatures up to 400 degrees.
To distinguish them, they have a metal clip used to attach to the side of the pan and hold it in place. This is because no one is trying to get in that hot oil when the it slips in.
It is quite efficient since it also has markings that would help tell when you’ve reached the soft-ball or hard-ball stages.
What Is An Oil Thermometer?
This is a heat gauge and monitor used to measure temperatures of 100degrees and 400 degrees or even higher in grease/oil for deep or pan-frying.
It is usually used for stovetop cooking while the cooking ingredients are in the pan. Oil thermometers have three basic display options:
- Vertical scale readouts– These are the traditional glass tube thermometers built with vertical scales like the ruler-style, which have colored bars that serve to display the temperature readings at different levels.
- Digital readouts – These are battery-operated, and they display the temperature numbers to show various levels reached.
- Dial readouts – They display temperatures reached on a full circle of numbers, and this type of thermometer is designed with a steel shaft probe sensor inserted into the oil to take the reading.
Do You Need A Special Thermometer For Oil?
Since cooking with oil requires high temperatures, the deep-frying or candy thermometer is best suited for oil
If you are deep frying meat, the temperature must be monitored not to drop below 400 degrees because if it does, it may not cook on the inside.
What Kind Of Thermometer Do You Use For Deep Frying?
As we have seen above, the same thermometer you would use when making candy is also used when deep frying.
When the candy/oil thermometer is used in deep frying, it measures temperatures ranging from 335 degrees to 400 degrees.
This is important to avoid burning or undercooking to give the food a golden-brown result and crisp texture.
Since different foods have different smoking temperatures, it is good to understand which temperature is suitable for using the thermometer better.
Before choosing an oil thermometer, consider:
- Potential of use in other cooking processes
- The ease of reading the measurements
- The design of the thermometer to avoid touching the pan bottom
- Type of display for the readings
- The minimum depth of contents that can be read.
Can You Use A Cooking Thermometer For Oil?
A cooking thermometer is used to measure the internal temperatures of meat and other cooked foods.
Unlike oil/candy thermometers, they are inserted in the meat and not in the oil cooking the ingredients.
The “doneness” of the meat or bread is based on the internal temperatures that the thermometer can read.
This kind of thermometer is important because foods like meat need to cook enough to kill pathogens that are disease-causing agents.
Cooking thermometers may not be used for oil because the thermometer has a probe that needs to be inserted into the bread or meat before and in the cooking process.
Candy thermometers are longer than them and are a safer option when reading the oil temperature.
The candy thermometer also has the advantage of reading higher temperature ranges as high as 400 degrees, suitable for oil.
Types Of Kitchen Thermometers
Thermometers can also give you insight into the inside of your oven, refrigerator, and freezer.
Sometimes the built-in gauge may be faulty or inaccurate, and that thermometer would just give you some peace of mind. The different thermometers include:
- Oven thermometer, which you can hang on the racks of the oven. It will tell you if the temperature you set is what is “delivered.” A slight fluctuation is normal, but if it reads 25 degrees hotter or lower, you know there’s a problem or adjust accordingly.
- Refrigerator thermometer. A miscalibrated freezer or refrigerator can cause huge problems. This is because pathogens get an atmosphere to grow if the foods aren’t preserved. The best temperatures for the refrigerator should be between 33F and 40F. A refrigerator thermometer works the same as the oven by displaying the internal temperatures for clarity.
- Instant-Read thermometers are more of a probe thermometer that works like a meat thermometer. They are not meant to be left in during cooking though. Instead, you insert the probe into the food and check your desired temperature, then remove it. It can also measure cold items, unlike the ovenproof thermometer, and measure how fast food is cooling.
How To Tell If Cooking Oil Is Hot Enough
If you happen to have an oil thermometer, just read the temperature readings after inserting the thermometer in the oil. Avoid the pan bottom to get accurate results.
Make sure the reading is at 350 degrees to 365 degrees.
If you do not have an oil thermometer, you could:
- Drop a popcorn kernel into the oil, and if it pops, then the oil is at a perfect 350-365 degrees range.
- Or, stick a wooden spoon into the oil and see if any bubbles form around the submerged part of the wood and start to float up. If it does, it is ready. However, if it bubbles too hard, it is too hot, and you will have to adjust the heat.
- You could also add a drop of water to the oil, and if it does not mix, it is ready though this method is quite dangerous.
In conclusion, oil/candy thermometers are essential because deep or pan-frying is a cooking method that is here to stay. You don’t want to keep guessing or using the above methods to assure yourself that the oil is good to go.