I've come across recipes that involve the use of a Butane or Propane torch. Is it safe to use a propane torch bought at the Hardware store, or is there something different about the torches and/or fuel that is sold at a culinary store?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/6899/…
    – Erik P.
    Mar 29, 2013 at 15:31
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    I don't think that this is a duplicate. The other question does not address food safety concerns specifically.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 30, 2013 at 9:09
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    One very important point to remember if you buy a propane torch from a hardware store is to make sure you buy a "Regulated Nozzle". Otherwise when you tip down to bronze your food it will go off (extinguish).
    – user26288
    Aug 4, 2014 at 2:49

4 Answers 4


Propane and butane are pure alkanes. They don't produce anything nasty when burned. The worst you could possibly get should be carbon monoxide (and I am not even sure it can be produced in a torch, the dioxide ifs much more likely), but it being a gas, it won't stick to your food. The complex molecules you get from heating the food itself have more potential for being harmful than the combustion products of a propane butane torch. Ago yes, it is food safe.

Another matter of safety is that it is easier to cause a fire with a hardware store torch, because it has more power than the kitchen ones. But a sensible adult should be able to handle the thing safely.

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    I agree with the above, just make sure your torch is burning efficiently, i.e. producing a blue flame, not an orange flame, or you may end up with a slightly propane flavored meal. Mar 29, 2013 at 18:38
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    Might manage to get a little butane monoxide and other such traces, but that's true for the cooking models too. Mar 31, 2018 at 23:11
  • @Didgeridrew good advice. Of course, good torch in good condition shouldn't even allow inefficient burn.
    – Mołot
    May 11, 2018 at 12:10

You will achieve the exact same results and save yourself considerable money getting your propane torch at the local hardware store.

That said, depending on what you are attempting (Crème brûlée, for instance) may take some practice to get it right, but a generic propane soldering torch is fine.

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    Most generic propane torches from the hardware store are better than those awful butane "crème brûlée torches" you find at kitchen stores, which take forever to do even a single serving.
    – Aaronut
    Mar 29, 2013 at 13:56

Yes, you will be just fine food safety wise. The Bernzomatic heads available with the triggers are best for convenience. I actually recommend you look for MAP/MAPP gas which will lessen your risk of "torch-taste" but as was mentioned earlier the food safety issue is not a problem, it's the same propane that your grill uses.

A few tips, always start your torch facing away from your food. There will be a small puff of gas initially that you don't want to hit your food. Keep a nice blue hot flame and wave your torn like you were painting brush strokes on a canvas so you don't get hot spots.

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    I would be careful with MAPP gas torches. First of all, MAPP itself (metylacetalyne propadiene) is actually no longer produced in the US and most things labeled MAPP are in fact MAPP substitutes. Secondly, all those double and triple bonds (propadiene, acetylene, respectively) are going to produce very unpredictable combustion products. I wouldn't want to eat them. Although its burning temperature is lower, propane torches are likely to be somewhat safer because the combustion of pure alkanes is very clean and usually almost all CO2 and water (maybe a little CO).
    – jbeldock
    Apr 6, 2013 at 7:17
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    pretty much every trusted source I've come across has recommended MAP/MAPP or it's newer equivalent over anything else. Their arguments are actually counter to yours, namely that they burn more completely then butane or propane and will lessen the risk of torch taste. I tend to trust the sources I've come across but to each his own.
    – Brendan
    Apr 6, 2013 at 15:38
  • That's really interesting! Please do point me to anything you find--I'd love to use the hotter flame. :-)
    – jbeldock
    Apr 8, 2013 at 23:06
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    there's a nice thread on this here forum.chefsteps.com/discussion/comment/2082/#Comment_2082
    – Brendan
    Apr 10, 2013 at 1:14
  • I tried MAPP gas and got a sooty residue. Not recommended. I have used propane, esp. when melting cheese, with great results.
    – user26402
    Aug 8, 2014 at 23:44

I have worked in the metal industry with both products a map gas seems to me more of a mix of what we concidered waste gas where propane butane are as they said a clean burning natural gases I would use and think would be more safe for direct cooking. Also will get you out of a fix when you have left your lunch and have nothing more than a can of soup. Punchure the top and heat. Hell ive even cooked bbq shrimp for the whole crew with nothing more than aluminum foil and a rosebud hook to a propane tank. Got funny looks while doing it but a whole lotta thank you afterwards and when ya gonna do that again? ....."remember cooking is like sex more imagination you put into it the better it is".

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