Thermometers are usually associated with illness and temperature checking. You probably got one shoved in your mouth as a kid while you sat there with your fingers crossed, hoping that you were ill enough to get off school.
But thermometers are also super handy for use in the kitchen. Thermometers don’t need to be reserved for professional chefs, but everyone who likes to cook should have one in their pantry.
But do you need to stock a meat thermometer, an instant-read thermometer, and an oil thermometer?
Well, thankfully, we’ve conducted some research to find that out. Keep reading to learn more.
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
Meat thermometers can be used to gauge the temperature of many things in the kitchen, and oil is one of them. Although meat thermometers are designed to measure the temperature of solids, they are also proficient at measuring the temperature of liquids.
Dip the probe’s tip in the oil for 30 seconds and read the temperature. Be careful not to get oil on your bare skin, as your hand may be relatively close to the oil when holding the gauge.
3 Main Types of Kitchen Thermometers
- Instant-read Thermometers
Instant-read thermometers are probes that are available in both analog and digital models. They allow you to take instant temperature readings of various kinds of food. For example, you can use them to check meat and poultry.
However, they cannot be left in the meat while cooking in the oven. Instead, you must take the meat out, check it with the thermometer, remove it, and place it back in the oven.
Instant-read thermometers can also check cool food, such as salad bar items. They’re handy probes you can use for a variety of purposes.
These thermometers range from around $7 to $50 for high-range professional models.
Check out the link below to buy a highly-rated instant-read thermometer from Amazon for $10.
- Meat Thermometers.
The main difference between meat and instant-read thermometers is that meat thermometers can be inserted into the meat and left in while the food cooks. Then, to check the probe, open the oven and take a quick peek at the dial.
Meat thermometers also look a little different, as it sports a larger dial on the analog versions, that’s easier to read at a glance.
However, there are also digital versions on the market. These tend to be a little more sophisticated and sometimes more expensive.
Digital meat thermometers can be programmed to emit a beep to signal that the desired temperature has been met.
The thermometer probe is inserted into the meat. It is attached to a wire that runs outside the oven.
At the end of the wire, there will be a digital reader that displays the temperature and emits the beep.
Analog meat thermometer:
Digital meat thermometer with the long probe:
- Deep-dry Thermometer for Oil and Candy.
Candy and deep-drying thermometers look pretty different, as they are designed to withstand extreme heat. They are made from glass.
Typically, they clip onto the lip of your pot or pan and sit propped up inside the hot oil or sugar.
You will visually be able to see the temperature gauge get to work as the red line moves up the levels.
The thermometer will usually display temperature recommendations to help you decide when your oil or sugar is done.
In confectionery cooking, the sugar needs to be at precise temperatures; otherwise, the sugar will not achieve the consistency you want.
Similarly, when cooking with oil, the food you’re cooking will turn out very differently if the oil is a few degrees too hot or cold.
Can a Meat Thermometer be used for oil?
The short answer is yes. You must dip the thermometer in the oil carefully without getting oil spatters on your hands. Then, read the temperature on the analog face or the external digital reader.
Make sure the probe sits in the oil for around 30 seconds to get an accurate reading.
Oil thermometers are designed to read extremely high temperatures; therefore, make sure your meat thermometer is of a high enough quality to cope with such heat. Every thermometer is different, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Before checking the oil, I suggest doing a quick check of the meat thermometer to check that it is working correctly.
Fill a tall container with ice, and dip the probe of the meat thermometer into it. If the thermometer works properly, it will read a temperature of 0 degrees celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the thermometer reads these temperatures, then you’re good to go.
Do you need a Special Thermometer for Oil?
If you’re cooking with fry oil regularly, investing in an oil thermometer will be worthwhile. Oil gets hot, really hot. So you need a thermometer that can gauge temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
And although most meat thermometers can handle this heat, their reliability above 300 degrees Fahrenheit is lower. This is particularly true of older meat thermometers.
Oil thermometers are also handy as they come with a clip that can attach to the side of the pot or pan, meaning you don’t need to get your bare skin anywhere near the spattering oil.
In addition, the thermometer can stay in the oil the entire time, meaning you can continually read the temperature without dipping the probe in and out every few minutes, waiting up to a minute for an accurate reading.
What Other Liquids Can I use a Meat Thermometer for?
Meat thermometers are multi-functional and can read a range of temperatures exceptionally well. You can use them in soup, water, milk, and other fluids.
However, if you want the most accurate reading possible for liquids, use a liquid-in-glass thermometer, such as an oil thermometer.
These are designed to measure liquid temperatures, whereas meat thermometers are designed for solids.
What’s the Ideal Oil Temperature When Cooking?
The most common ideal oil temperature for more food items is between 365 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, different kinds of oil have different smoke points.
- Light olive oil, one of the most common household oils’, has a smoke point of 468 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Extra virgin olive oil is lower, with a smoke point of 410 degrees Fahrenheit.,
- Avocado oil, most commonly used for baking, has a smoke point of 520 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Almond oil, which is not used for cooking but more so for flavor in dressings etc., has a smoke point of 430 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coconut oil and butter have some of the lowest smoke points at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Canola, 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meat thermometers can usually gauge temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they can handle the smoke points of all these oils.
Can a Meat Thermometer Measure Human Temperature?
If you’re trying to save a few pennies and want to buy a one-size-fits-all thermometer, this won’t work. Cooking thermometers, such as meat thermometers, are designed to gauge high temperatures.
Unfortunately, the human body is less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is very low compared to the inside of your oven or vat of oil. Therefore it requires its own special thermometer.
Additionally, most kitchen thermometers have a pointed tip on the probe, which can be dangerous if placed in the human mouth. So just buy a medical thermometer instead, please.
Thermometers are handy things to have do they not need to be super high-tech or expensive. Meat thermometers can be used for various purposes in the kitchen, and measuring oil temperature is one of them.
Of course, a specified oil thermometer will be easier to use and may perform slightly better, but the difference is minor.
If you cook with hot sugar or oil regularly, it may be worthwhile to invest in an oil or candy thermometer.
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.
Last update on 2023-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API