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Testing if oil is hot enough

Jfood is canning some marinara and the food channel in the background. The chef on Viva Daisy (whatever) was making something and jfood glanced over as she stated, "a good way to test if the oil is hot enough to fry is to stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil." And then she placed the non-stirring end in the oil and it did show the bubbles come up the handle a little.

Has anyone tried this?

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  1. Yes-it does work! Much better then the drop of water. And you can tell with how fast bubbles that is is close or really hot & ready. So simple-but really is my way of choice now.

    1. Wok-with-Yan does it with a chopstick.

      1. Yes, this is exactly what my mother has always done, too!

        1. It's really quite amazing how well it works. I think I first read about it in Fuschia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty." After just the first few tries (I use a wooden chopstick as well), you get a sense of what the bubbles should look like and how quickly they're rising to the surface. I would still use a thermometer if the temperature was critical, but for everyday sauteeing or stir frying it's easy and foolproof.

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          1. re: JoanN

            I think that is where I learned it too - or maybe in one of the Vietnamese cookbooks that we did. It's a great method. I've also found that I've learned, over time, to tell by the shimmer of the oil.

          2. This is a very common trick used by Chinese cooks but as other posters have stated a chopstick is used instead.