Fried food isn’t the healthiest option, but there’s no denying how tasty it is. There’s a reason most of us have a hard time resisting french fries, mozzarella sticks and onion rings.
If you’ve ever tried deep-frying at home, you know how tricky the process can be. Getting the oil to the right temperature is one of the most important steps — if it’s too hot, your food will cook too quickly; if it’s too cold, you can wind up with soggy, greasy food. With a quality deep-fry thermometer, you can quickly and easily keep track of the oil’s temperature, so you wind up with delicious, crispy fried foods every time.
Our top choice is from Etekcity, which provides an accurate digital temperature and can be used for more than just deep-frying.
You can choose from two types of deep-fry thermometers: analog or digital. An analog deep-fry thermometer has a dial display and a probe that sits in the oil to determine its temperature. The dial shows a fairly accurate temperature reading, but the thermometer clamps to the side of the pot to keep the probe in the oil throughout frying, which can make reading the display somewhat difficult.
A digital deep-fry thermometer features a digital display that provides a quick, easy-to-read temperature. Some digital models sit in the oil like an analog thermometer, but other models have a foldable probe you hold in the oil for a reading. Some digital deep-fry thermometers use infrared technology to determine the temperature and have a gun shape that allows you to get a reading by aiming it at the oil.
A deep-fry thermometer must read high temperatures since the oil has to be very hot for frying. Any thermometer advertised for deep-frying should have a range of at least 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can find some models with a range as wide as 50 to 550 degrees.
Most deep-fry thermometers feature a stainless steel outer casing and probe. Stainless steel is incredibly durable, isn’t prone to stains and can withstand high temperatures, so it’s an ideal material for a thermometer. Some models may have glass or plastic components. It’s best to avoid thermometers with plastic parts because plastic can melt when exposed to extreme heat.
Analog deep-fry thermometers usually have a dial display, although some have a linear display. Dials are generally easier to read when the thermometer is in hot oil. Many digital models feature an easy-to-read LCD display, and some more expensive thermometers offer an LED display, which is brighter and even easier to read.
Most deep-fry thermometers use a probe to determine the temperature. Many have a fixed probe, but others have a foldable probe for easier storage. A model with a probe is generally the most accurate.
Infrared deep-fry thermometers don’t have a probe because the infrared technology allows you to aim the thermometer at the oil or other item to measure the temperature. While they’re easier to use, they aren’t as accurate as a model with a probe.
Digital deep-fry thermometers may have a timer built in that lets you know when the oil reaches a specific temperature or it’s time to check the temperature. This is a handy feature when you’re multitasking in the kitchen.
The majority of deep-fry thermometers use a clip to stay on the side of the pot or other cookware. Some clips are adjustable, so you can raise or lower the thermometer’s probe in the oil.
A high-quality digital deep-fry thermometer usually requires just a few seconds to register a reading. With an analog model, you may need to wait as long as a minute for a reading. It’s preferable to have a thermometer that can detect temperature changes within seconds.
A digital deep-fry thermometer should have an auto shutoff feature to prevent the battery from draining if you accidentally leave it on.
You can pay between $4-$60 for a deep-fry thermometer. Analog models with a limited temperature range go for $4-$13, while high-end analog or low-end digital thermometers cost between $13-$27. For the highest-end digital deep-fry thermometer, expect to pay between $27-$60.
A. For fried foods with a crisp exterior and tender interior, the oil should be between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
A. You can use a deep-fry thermometer for candy and jelly making. Depending on the design, you may be able to use it for meats and other foods.
Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Infrared Thermometer
What you need to know: This is a user-friendly thermometer that’s accurate and is suitable for other uses.
What you'll love: It only requires pointing at the oil to get an accurate reading. It features an easy-to-read digital backlit LCD display and the auto-shutoff function helps prolong battery life.
What you should consider: Batteries can burn out quickly if it is used regularly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Thermometer
What you need to know: This high-accuracy, budget-friendly deep-fry thermometer is extremely easy to use.
What you'll love: Featuring durable stainless steel construction, the temperature range spans from 50 to 400 degrees. Readings are very accurate.
What you should consider: Numbers on the dial can be difficult to read.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
KT Thermo Deep-Fry Thermometer
What you need to know: A fairly affordable deep-fry thermometer, it has one of the largest temperature ranges available.
What you'll love: Made of stainless steel, it can measure between 50 and 550 degrees. The display is easy to read. The warranty provides a replacement if issues arise within the first 12 months.
What you should consider: The thermometer’s clip is somewhat flimsy.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.