Here are 3 ways to check oil temperature without a thermometer when deep frying. Deep frying can be tricky sometimes, but I'm here to make this super easy!
Deep-fried food may be the most comforting thing out there. I mean, who wouldn't want to bite into crunchy cheese balls, pakoras or churros. But the key to perfectly deep-fried food is making sure the temperature of the oil is just right.
Honestly, the most accurate way to check if the oil is hot enough is with a thermometer. And for most recipes, I recommend that the oil should be at a temp between 360F/182C to 375F/190C with some exceptions (samosas or kachoris for eg. where you need to cook them low and slow so that the pastry isn't raw from the inside).
But what if you don’t own a thermometer which most of us don’t 🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️
Here are three ways to check oil temperature without a thermometer:
- Drop a tiny blueberry sized piece of mixture/batter/dough or whatever it is you are frying in hot oil and if it quickly sizzles up to the surface you know your oil is hot enough (what my mom always did). If it sizzles up and browns instantly, the oil is too hot - reduce the heat or turn it off for 2-3 minutes to let the oil cool down slightly and check again
- Drop a small piece of bread in hot oil (about an inch in size). It should take about 30-40 seconds to brown and you know your oil is at the right temperature
- Dip the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick in the oil and if the oil starts sizzling and bubbling around the stick, the oil is hot. The faster and more furious the bubbles, the hotter the oil. If the oil starts smoking, it’s too hot - adjust the heat and then check again
Why Oil Temperature Matters
For perfectly deep-fried food, it's important to maintain the right temperature. If the oil is too hot, the food will brown too quickly from the outside without cooking from the inside. If the oil is not hot enough or too cold, the food will absorb oil making it greasy, soggy and frankly unappetizing.
Some Tips to Ace Deep Frying
- Use oils with a high smoke point for deep frying. Vegetable oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, rice bran, groundnut oil and ghee all have a high smoke point which makes them perfect for deep frying
- Check the oil temperature using a food thermometer or one of the three methods listed above before adding any food to it
- Fry in batches - The temperature of the food is always colder than the temperature of the oil, which cools the oil slightly as you add food to it. Overcrowding brings down the temperature by too much. So make sure to fry in batches which helps maintain the temperature of the oil better
- Keep the oil clean by removing any burnt bits and debris at regular intervals
How to discard Oil
To discard or dispose of oil if it's not good for use again, let it cool completely. Then strain it into a jar or bottle and place it in your trash so that it can be recycled later - never pour it down the drain as it can clog your pipes and drain. You can also find places in your neighbourhood that accept used oil for recycling.
Deep Frying doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. I hope these tips are helpful. If there are any other kitchen tips or hacks you'd like to learn, leave me a comment below!
Super Crispy Deep Fried Recipes
- Super Crispy Masala Vada (Dal Vada/ Paruppu Vadai)
- Veg Cutlets with Potatoes and Beetroot | Veg Croquettes
- Mirchi Bajji - 2 Ways (Mirchi Bhajiya)
- Chicken 65 - Spicy & Crispy
- The Best Indian Punjabi Samosa
- Jalapeno Three Cheese Samosa
- Crispy Veg Nuggets with Sichuan Sauce
- Perfect Pooris - Fluffy and Light as air!