Is there a difference between tepid water and lukewarm water? Are the terms interchangeable?

8 Answers 8


The terms are interchangeable.

  • 2
    Synonymous, equivalent, same thing, equal - and when in doubt, body temperature works.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 11:54

There is no difference, thus the terms are interchangeable.

Tepid water consists of two parts cold water and one part boiling water, which renders a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius, which is round about 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Luke warm water is also considered in the same temperature range, which concludes that both are the same.

A quick test would be that the water to the touch should just be a bit warmer that normal body temperature and should not burn you

  • 3
    That's waaaaaaaaay more precise than the actual usage of these terms.
    – Marti
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 1:43

In my experience "tepid" means "room temperature" whereas "lukewarm" means "just barely warm". So I'd rate tepid as just slightly cooler. But that's splitting hairs. In practical terms -- ie in recipes -- they're interchangeable.


While today using “luke” to mean “warm” has gone out of fashion, possibly due to the popularity of the name “Luke”, at one time that’s what the word meant. This came from the fact that “luke” derived from “lew” or “lewk” or “leuk”, in Middle English, which meant “tepid” (slightly warm).


According to dictionary.com, tepid means:

1. moderately warm; lukewarm: tepid water.
2. characterized by a lack of force or enthusiasm: tepid prose; the critics' tepid reception for the new play.

  • 3
    There is no guarantee that a generic dictionary will reflect specialized use from a given domain, in this case cooking.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:36
  • 4
    Well, if you don't want your resulting dish to be characterized by a lack of enthusiasm, then you should use lukewarm water, not tepid. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 3:32

Tepid water by definition (medically speaking) is between 24 degrees(c) and 33 degrees(c). Not 40c as stated in an earlier comment. That comment is way off and could be dangerous if used as a guide to bath babies!!

  • 3
    This is a cooking forum, not a medical terminology or parenting one. Regardless, do you have a citation for your temperature range?
    – Erica
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 13:58

Actually teped water in cooking is 105 degrees Fahrenheit if you were around 86 that’s probably not hot enough to actually activate yeast so it’s important to follow directions. And if you go too hot up can kill yeast when baking so yeah ummm do some research first. Source: my dads an executive chef for over 30 years I texted him to verify I had the info correct :) verified 👍

  • 1
    While the second-hand anecdotal information provided to you by your father is likely relevant to this question, it would be much better if you could cite an authoritative source that others can see and use, without having rely on your word. Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 15:30

Teped water in COOKING is in fact 30-40 degrees Celsius, 86 to 90 degrees Farenhight.

  • What's lukewarm water?
    – Erica
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 1:40

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