Using Candy Thermometer For Meat And Vice Versa


Whether you are roasting a whole bird or making candy, knowing the temperature of your food as it cooks can either make or break the recipe. So, what’s the best way to monitor the temperature? Of course, through the use of a thermometer.

A thermometer is a tool that you can stock to ensure that your food is cooked perfectly. Not only you get an accurate reading, but it’s also easier and safer to use, instead of guessing the temperature by touch.

However, not all temperatures are created equal nor they can be interchangeable. There are two kinds of thermometers, a candy thermometer, and a meat thermometer. If you are wondering if you can use a candy thermometer for meat? Here’s a straightforward answer.

A candy thermometer cannot be used to replace of meat thermometer when gauging the heat of the meat. It is because the candy thermometer has a long, narrow shape with a rounded end, which is not suitable to stick in a large cut of meat. Also, its temperature range does not match with a meat thermometer.

Difference Between Meat And Candy Thermometers

meat thermometer

Here’s how to tell the difference between the two:

Meat Thermometer

Meat thermometers have a lower temperature range compared to that of a candy thermometer, wherein it ranges 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This handy kitchen tool looks like a pointed stick attached to a dial that contains the temperature. A meat thermometer is useful in checking the temperature of beef tenderloin, grilled chicken breasts, roasted turkey, whole roasted fish, and many more.

A meat thermometer is crucial for cooking large cuts of meat, like whole ham or turkey, roast chicken, pork tenderloin, or meatloaf, which require a safe minimum internal temperature.

If you are not sure of the safe minimum internal temperature, you can refer to this USDA’s chart.

When cooking beef tenderloin, filet mignon, or prime rib, a meat thermometer can help you achieve the perfectly juicy medium-rare around 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is necessary to calibrate your meat thermometer regularly to ensure that it gives an accurate reading.

Candy Thermometer

A candy thermometer is used to measure temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a long, skinny shape that is commonly used when making hard and soft candy, like toffee, fudge, brittle, praline, and many more. These candies all start with a common ingredient, which is sugar that is then boiled to a specific stage, such as hard crack or softball.

The key to cooking it perfectly is by knowing the exact temperature of the sugar. Because of this, a candy thermometer is a useful tool, instead of sticking your finger in a pot of boiling sugar.

You may also use a candy thermometer when making homemade caramel sauce, sugar syrup, and preparing oil for deep frying.

Related Article: How To Make And Substitute Glucose Syrup?

If you’re making fried chicken or deep-fried Oreos and other deep-fried delights, it is necessary to bring the oil to the correct temperature range, usually, 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too low, the food will absorb too much of the soil, making it greasy.

On the other hand, if it’s too hot, your food will burn.

Here’s a quick table to compare these two thermometers:

CriteriaCandy ThermometerMeat Thermometer
SizeCandy thermometer has long and skinny size, making them a safer option when checking the temperature of boiling sugar or hot oil.Meat thermometer is short that is perfect for roasting meat. They are not suitable for measuring the temperature of liquids.
Temperature RangeMost candy thermometers can reach temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit.Meat thermometers typically go up at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Base/TipCandy thermometers have rounded or usually have a flat base, which allows you to lean them on the pot when measuring the temperature.Meat thermometers have a pointed probe-type end, which allows you to insert it into large cuts of meat to check the food’s internal temperature and ensure its doneness.

Can A Meat Thermometer Be Used For Candy?

Because of its size, meat thermometers cannot be used when making candies. It is because they are too short to gauge the heat of the liquid and can cause burn, especially at high temperatures.

One more thing is that the temperature range does not match with those candy thermometers. They have a lower temperature since it is very uncommon for meat to go above that temperature during the normal cooking process.

Recommended Candy Thermometers

Polder Candy Thermometer

When it comes to Amazon’s top-selling thermometers, you’ll always find Polder Candy Thermometer on the top list. There are lots of reasons customers keep buying it.

First, it’s easy to read. Thanks to the wide, metal plate that surrounds the thermometer, allowing you to read both temperature and candy style guides easily. On the sides, you can see are six different ranges, with options like thread, softball, and deep fry.

Second, it comes with a clip that is very stable, which is important if you use it in stirring with the thermometer in the pot or pan.

Finally, the price is very affordable.

Taylor Precision Products Candy Thermometer

Added to the list of best candy thermometers is this product. It is because this stainless steel option has all the bases covered, making it an excellent option.

Thanks to its large-font numbers, they make it easy to read. It has a large clip that keeps the thermometer in place so that you don’t need to worry about dropping it in the hot pot. The nylon handle is helpful in protecting your hand, in case you need to remove the thermometer while it’s still in the pan, which can be quite hot.

Another thing is that it has a good temperature range, too, with ranges from 100 degrees F to 400 degrees F, which is just enough for candy making or deep frying.

Recommended Meat Thermometer

Instant-Read Digital Thermometer

Estimated Price: $20

This mini digital instant-read thermometer is one of the best meat thermometers because it gives accurate temperature readings in less than 10 seconds, scoring a 4 out of 5 for responsiveness.

It comes with lots of features, such as the auto-off, seven selectable meat types along doneness levels, and it speaks seven languages. What’s the best thing about this product is that it has an alarm to let you know when your meat is ready.

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