How To Heat Oil To 350 Without A Thermometer

How To Heat Oil To 350 Without A Thermometer: Full Guide

Last Updated on March 17, 2024 by Shari Mason

It is undeniable that accurately measuring the temperature of your cooking oil can be difficult while cooking at home.

We know 350 degrees are ideal for frying an egg, but what happens when you heat some oil?

Well, if you’re looking for ways to get around not having a thermometer, then read on. We’ll show you several ways to heat oil to 350 without a thermometer.

5 Ways to Heat Oil to 350 Without A Thermometer

oil on a pan

1. Use the Wooden Spoon Technique

One of the effective ways to test the oil’s heat is to use the wooden technique. When the oil has warmed up, dip a wooden spoon or chopstick’s handle into the oil.

When the oil starts to bubble steadily, it is hot enough to fry. If the oil bubbles very quickly, it’s too hot and needs to cool down a bit. If there aren’t many or any bubbles, it’s not hot enough.


2. Try the Bread Test

To try the bread test in measuring the oil’s temperature, drop a small portion of bread in the frying pan with oil. Monitor how long it takes for the bread to turn brown.

If the dough browns in 50-60 seconds, the oil’s temperature is between 350° F-365° F means ready for frying.

If the bread turns brown in 40-50 seconds, the heat is between 365° F and 380° F.


3. Set Stove To Medium Heat for 10-15 Mins

Bring the oil to 350 degrees by using medium-high heat on your stove for 10 to 15 minutes. Heat should gradually increase until the oil reaches 350–375° F.

Any lower or higher will result in burned or greasy food. The dish might be cooked more quickly at 350 degrees, but it wouldn’t be overcooked or burned.

Read: How To Make Fondue Without A Fondue Pot?

4. Use Your Eyes

You can also see when the oil is hot enough for cooking.

When heated, oil produces a slight sheen and flows almost as smoothly as water. Holding your palm over the pan will make it feel noticeably heated.

Heat the pan without any oil in the case of cast iron or stainless-steel pans. 

Add the oil when the air above the pan feels warm. It will heat up to the proper temperature rapidly.

Read: How Hot Is Medium Heat On A Stove?

5. Drop a Popcorn Kernel 

If the popcorn pops, the oil is in the ideal frying temperature range between 325° and 350° F. It means the oil’s heat is enough to soften the kernel’s hard outer surface.

The water expands as the kernel warms, creating pressure against the stiff starch surface. This top layer eventually caves in, resulting in the popping of the popcorn. [1] 

Why Does Oil Temperature Matter?

pouring oil on a pot

Temperature matters because the oil must be heated enough for healthy frying to convert the meal’s water content to vapor, which stops the food from accumulating oil. Temperatures in frying oils can range from about 325°F to 400°F.

“The secret of food lies in memory – of thinking and then knowing what the taste of cinnamon or steak is.”

– Jerry Saltz, American Art Critic

If the oil is too cool, it will soak into the meal and turn it into a mushy grease bomb rather than a crunchy, golden masterpiece. [2] 

Read: Thermopro Vs. Thermoworks

Tips & Tricks When Heating Oil To 350 Sans A Thermometer 

  • Avoid overcrowding the pan. Your hard work in testing the oil heat will be wasted by the oil’s abrupt temperature drop caused by the cold food.
  • Dry your food completely before frying to prevent spits from hot oil and make your food crispier.
  • Use a high and narrow pot for frying. This is to lessen the oil’s chemical reactions, such as oxidation, because of the tight surface.
  • Use brown paper when draining the oil from food. Paper towels don’t absorb oil and can make your food soggy.


u003cstrongu003eHow do I know if my oil is hot enough to fry?u003c/strongu003e

To know if the oil is hot enough to fry, dip any clean wooden tools. If the oil bubbles steadily, it is ready to fry.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you properly heat the oil?u003c/strongu003e

To properly heat oil, pour it into the pan and set the stove to medium-high heat. Wait until the oil starts to boil or flow before cooking.

u003cstrongu003eWhat happens if the oil is too hot?u003c/strongu003e

If the oil is too hot, it will instantly burn the outer layer of food you cook in it. Hence, leaving the inside undercook because of the instant heat.

u003cstrongu003eShould I preheat the oil?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, you should preheat oil before frying to cook food evenly. If you put the food in unheated oil, it will soak in your food and make it greasy.

u003cstrongu003eHow long does oil take to heat up?u003c/strongu003e

Oil takes about 5 to 10 minutes to heat up. Set the stove to medium to high heat to avoid burning the oil.

u003cstrongu003eHow to keep oil at 350? u003c/strongu003e

To keep oil at 350° F, set the stove at medium heat and do not increase the heat. With this, the heat in the pan will provide the same level of heat to the oil.

Key Takeaways

It might be hard to guess the oil’s temperature without a thermometer at first, but there are several ways to tell you how. First, dip a wooden chopstick. If oil bubbles steadily, it is ready.

You can also drop a popcorn and wait for it to pop. You may likewise drop a small piece of bread or dough. If it turns brown, go on.


Shari Mason

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