I was frying chicken and I noticed the amount of time needed to fry the chicken and how dark the batter will end up depends largely on the temperature of the oil.

The problem is, the oil temperature when it reaches equilibrium (or almost constant temperature) will vary depending on the amount of chicken inside, the volume of oil, and the heat outputted by the stove. For home cooking, this is a disaster and very variable way of cooking.

The only way I can think of becoming consistent is buying a thermometer that will constantly monitor the oil temperature. I had one where I had to place a meat thermometer on the oil and hold it just so it won't touch the metal portion of the pan, but this is tiring and the heat tends to go all the way up the thermometer--and to my hands and it gets too hot. It may also damage the thermometer this way.

Is there a more industrial (and heat resistant) but affordable thermometer where I can just leave it on top of the oil so I can adjust the heat element to achieve desired temperature for deep frying at home? If none, how to properly deep fry at home to get consistent results?

  • 1
    This was the very first Google result -> m.bestreviews.com/best-deep-fry-thermometers
    – Johannes_B
    May 11, 2020 at 6:04
  • I use an old, mercury based, frying thermometer. I've got two. They work great to 450°F+ but are probably illegal to sell in the US anymore, except in antique stores. May 11, 2020 at 22:18
  • @Johannes_B thanks saw these deep fry thermometers previously but I was thinking the pan temperature should actually transfer from the clip to the thermometer itself?
    – Pherdindy
    May 12, 2020 at 3:47
  • @WayfaringStranger I am actually scared of mercury based ones as I feel we may die from it if we didn't notice the thermometer breaking or shattering or something
    – Pherdindy
    May 12, 2020 at 3:48

2 Answers 2


My meat thermometer can bear temperatures above deep frying ones so I just use that and I keep the tip "suspended" in the oil with the help of the pot's handle and the thermometer's own cable. An alarm at 170 Celsius helped me last time to keep the temp under control. For the record, I was frying this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struffoli

Since I don't deep fry more often than once a year, I can totally live with this solution.


There are instant read thermometers, and there are also some that use a laser and you can point them at a surface and it reads the temperature that way.

If you are really doing "deep" frying like at least an inch or two of oil there should be enough so that you can use a regular thermometer. I have a "fry daddy" type fryer and it has a thermometer built in. Also as you note, the more oil you use, the easier it is to keep a stable temp, but then you have a lot of oil to deal with.

It is also possible to just get a feel for it based on how fast the chicken cooks. My step mother fries chicken in a shallow pan without too much oil and keeps it covered and just adjusts the temperature as she goes to keep it cooking without burning.

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