How to Tell the Temperature of Cooking Oil Without a Thermometer


How to Tell the Temperature of Cooking Oil Without a Thermometer


Quick Instructions:


To check if oil temperature is hot enough for frying food, briefly place the end of a wooden spoon (or chopstick)  into the oil.  If it is at the appropriate temperature, the moisture in the wood will cause the oil around the spoon to bubble.


To be extra cautious and safe you should use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil.  You can read a review of my favorite thermometer but this tip is for those occasions when you do not have a thermometer handy.  This is an old-fashioned method for finding the approximate temperature of the oil you’re frying.


Step by Step Instructions:


  • Just to be safe, I recommend having a fire extinguisher on hand whenever you’re frying with oil.
  • For best results when deep frying be sure and use an oil that has a high smoke point.  Peanut oil, safflower oil, soy oil, and refined sunflower oil are a few good options.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat.  If you heat the oil too fast it has the possibility of igniting so keep the oil on a medium heat.
  • Slowly dip the end of a wooden spoon (you can also use a chopstick or other wooden kitchen utensil) into the oil.
  • If the oil is at the appropriate temperature for cooking there will be bubbles in the oil around the spoon.
  • If no bubbles appear, wait a few moments and check again.
I hope this little tip helps you!  I forget when and where I first heard this but it has been a big help to me in the kitchen.  {Update: Recently, I’ve been using my favorite thermometer of all time, the Thermapen,to check the temperature of oil.  It’s amazing!}  If you have any cooking or homemaking tips to share I would love to hear them!