Best Deep-Fry Thermometers

Updated September 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
136 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best deep-fry thermometers

From French fries to onion rings, chicken fingers to chicken wings, many of the tastiest foods are deep-fried. That can be a somewhat intimidating process to undertake at home, which is why having the right equipment is so critical. A quality deep-fry thermometer is an absolute must to make sure the oil is always at the right temperature.

A deep-fry thermometer is used to measure the temperature of the oil used for deep-frying. It’s designed to withstand the high temperatures required and features a clip to hold it to the side of the pot and keep it in place in the oil. The display is large and clear enough that you’re able to read it while it sits in place, so you know the second your oil is ready to cook the food.

I1 
Use tongs to add food to hot oil when you’re deep-frying. Hold the food beneath the surface of the oil for several seconds before letting it go to keep the pieces from sticking together.

Key considerations

Analog vs. digital

Deep-fry thermometers are available in two types: analog and digital.

Analog deep-fry thermometers are the most common. They feature a large dial for the temperature reading on top of a probe. The probe rests in the oil to determine the temperature. These thermometers are pretty accurate, but they can be difficult to read when clamped to the side of a pot.

Digital deep-fry thermometers have a digital display that quickly provides the temperature. Some models have a fixed probe that sits in the oil, but others have a folding probe that you hold in the oil but remove once you get a reading. Gun-shaped digital deep-fry thermometers use infrared technology to provide a reading, so you only have to aim the thermometer at the oil.

Temperature range

A deep-fry thermometer’s temperature range is one of the most crucial features to consider. Deep-frying requires high temperatures, so you want to be sure that any model you buy can provide high enough readings. Any deep-fry thermometer should offer a range of at least 100°F to 400°F, but you may prefer a model with a range of 50°F to 550°F.
 

CAUTION 1
Caution
 Make sure that the food you add to hot oil is dry by first patting it with a paper towel. Oil and water don’t mix, so wet foods can cause oil to splatter dangerously.
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Features

Materials

Nearly all deep-fry thermometers have an outer casing made of stainless steel. The probe is made of stainless steel, too. It’s an ideal material because it can withstand high heat, is easy to clean, doesn’t stain easily, and is highly durable.

Some deep-fry thermometers also have either a plastic or glass case or housing. It’s best to avoid models with plastic components, though, because plastic can melt at high temperatures. 

Components

Display: Most analog deep-fry thermometers have a dial display, but some have a linear scale that displays the reading. These displays can be somewhat difficult to read when the thermometer is in the oil, though. Digital models have an LCD display that’s easy to read, but high-end digital thermometers have an LED display, which provides an even brighter, clearer reading.

Probe: The majority of deep-fry thermometers have a probe that you place in the oil to get a reading. Some have a fixed probe, while others have a probe that folds up for easy storage. Thermometers with a probe typically provide the most accurate reading.

Deep-fry thermometers that don’t have a probe use infrared technology to provide a reading. You aim the thermometer at the oil to measure the temperature without inserting it in the oil.

Timer: Some digital deep-fry thermometers have a built-in timer to alert you when it’s time to check the temperature of the oil or remind you when it’s time to start frying.

Clip: Most deep-fry thermometers have a clip that holds the thermometer on the side of the pot. Some have an adjustable clip that allows you to control how deeply the thermometer sits in the oil.

Response time

Some deep-fry thermometers take longer to register a temperature than others. The best models can provide a reading within a few seconds, but an analog model may take up to a minute to respond. Look for a deep-fry thermometer that can register temperature changes within seconds.

Auto shutoff

If you opt for a digital thermometer, look for a model with automatic shutoff, so you don’t have to worry about the batteries running down.
 

Only fill your pot 2/3 full of oil. That prevents the pot from overflowing when you add the food.

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Accessories


Stock pot: Farberware Classic Covered Stockpot
You need a deep pot that can withstand high temperatures for deep-frying, so a high-quality stainless steel stock pot works well. We love this 16-quart option from Farberware because it heats quickly and retains heat well.

Splatter screen: RSVP International Endurance Splatter Screen
Deep-frying can make quite a mess in your kitchen, so it helps to have a splatter screen to keep it to a minimum. This fine-mesh stainless steel screen from RSVP International easily fits oversize pots and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Deep-fry thermometer prices

Deep-fry thermometers vary in price based on the type, temperature range, and features. Most cost between $4 and $59.

Inexpensive: The most affordable deep-fry thermometers are analog models. They don’t offer instant readings and have a temperature range that tops out at about 400°F. These thermometers typically cost between $4 and $13.

Mid-range: These deep-fry thermometers can be high-end analog models or low-end digital models. The analog thermometers typically have a temperature range with a max of at least 500°F and also have an adjustable clip. The digital thermometers can provide readings within seconds, feature a clear LCD display, and usually have a temperature max of 400°F. These thermometers generally cost between $13 and $27.

Expensive: The most expensive deep-fry thermometers are high-end digital models. These may have probes or use infrared technology. They have maximum temperatures of at least 500°F, a bright LED display, and a fully waterproof case. These thermometers usually cost between $27 and $59. 

DYK2 
Did You Know?
If your deep-fried food is extremely oily, it usually means that the oil wasn’t hot enough.
Staff
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Tips
 

  • Choose the right oil. When you’re deep-frying, choosing the right oil is key. Use oil that has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. Try vegetable oil, peanut oil, or grapeseed oil; these are all excellent options. The ideal temperature for deep frying is 350°F to 375°F.
  • Filter the oil. You can reuse oil for multiple deep-frying sessions, but it’s important to filter the cooled oil or it may flavor your food and make it taste burned even if it isn’t. Store any oil that you plan to reuse for deep-frying in a cool, dark place.
  • Choose the right pot. A large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven works well for deep-frying. Cast iron cookware works especially well.
  • Never leave a pot of hot oil unattended. That’s an accident waiting to happen, especially if you have children or pets in your home.
  • Don’t add too much food to the hot oil at once. Overcrowding the pot can cause the temperature to drop and lead to food that isn’t properly fried. All the food should be the same size, so all the pieces cook in the same amount of time.
  • Don’t salt your food before you fry it. The salt can make the oil splatter and even smoke. Instead, season the warm food with salt and pepper after you remove it from the oil.
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Some high-end deep-fry thermometers offer a warranty of several years, so you can be sure you’re getting a durable model.

 

FAQ

Q. How do I know if a deep-fry thermometer is accurate?

A. To determine if your thermometer is accurate, place the probe or stem in a glass of ice water. Give it about a minute to provide a reading. An accurate thermometer will register the water as 32°F.

Q. What safety precautions should I take when I’m deep-frying?

A. Deep-frying can be a dangerous undertaking if you don’t do it properly. It’s best to keep kids and pets out of the kitchen. Turn the pot handle inward to avoid accidentally knocking it off the stove, too. If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Lower the heat immediately.

If a fire breaks out, never throw water on it. Instead, make sure the pot’s lid is nearby, so you can cover the pot to cut off oxygen to the fire. It also helps to have some baking soda on hand to pour over any flames. You can also smother a fire with damp kitchen towels or a fire blanket.

Q. Can I use a deep-fry thermometer for candy making?

A. Yes, because it’s able to measure the high temperatures used to make candy.
 

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