The 5 Best Candy Thermometers for 2023, According to Our Tests

It's a must-have kitchen tool whether you cook sugar, make jam, or deep-fry.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Best Candy Thermometers for 2023

Food & Wine / Marcus Millan

If you’re not someone who regularly makes candy at home, you might think, “Why would I need a candy thermometer?” But candy thermometers aren’t just for candy. Sure, they’re great for monitoring the state of sugar for some homemade nut brittle or caramel topping for ice cream, but they can do so much more. 

A candy thermometer is perfect for deep frying — another notoriously fickle task in a home kitchen. Even shallow or pan frying can be made easier with the inclusion of a candy thermometer. Knowing the exact temperature takes the guesswork out of frying, jam-making, or sugar work. Once you add one to your drawer, you’ll wonder how you ever cooked without it. Gone are the days of burnt sugar setting off the smoke detector or pale, flabby chicken skin due to too-cold oil. 

To find the most useful, reliable candy thermometers, we tested 13 for their ease of use and accuracy. Read on to find which candy thermometer is best for you.

Best Overall

ThermoPro TP510 Waterproof Digital Candy Thermometer with Pot Clip

ThermoPro TP510 Waterproof Digital Candy Thermometer with Pot Clip


Pros: Our testers loved this model for its fast, accurate performance and extra design features.

Cons: The top-heavy design makes it feel unstable at times. 

This thermometer emerged as an instant favorite among our testers. It gave the fastest reading of all that we tested and was accurate. We also loved the design: It was the only one we tried with a backlight, and it was simple to read and use, especially with the printed target temperatures on the head. The only part of the design our testers didn't like was the head size compared to the probe. Its large size makes it very top-heavy and prone to falling over. This, coupled with the extra long probe, make it feel a bit unstable.

Price at time of publish: $24

  • Measures: 15 inches
  • Display-type: Digital
  • Temperature range: -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit

Best Overall Runner-Up

OXO Good Grips Glass Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer

OXO Good Grips Glass Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer


Pros: We loved this thermometer's quick, accurate measurements and innovative design.

Cons: We didn’t love the clip on this model. 

This OXO model was edged out only slightly in our tests. Our testers loved its lightning-quick and accurate reading, which made using it a breeze. We noted that even for the price, which is on the higher side, this thermometer was worth the money and “an excellent value” due to its stellar performance. Our testers also loved its thoughtful design — the end of the probe is U-shaped to avoid scratching your cookware, and the names of the sugar stages are printed on the interface for easy reference. Our only complaint was that the tight clip made the thermometer challenging to move and adjust. 

Price at time of publish: $21

  • Measures: 16.5 inches
  • Display-type: Analog 
  • Temperature range: 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
OXO Good Grips Glass Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore

Best Value

Taylor Precision Products Taylor Candy And Jelly Deep Fry Thermometer

Taylor Precision Products Taylor Candy And Jelly Deep Fry Thermometer


Pros: We loved the design of the bulb of the thermometer and its competitive price. 

Cons: This thermometer can be more challenging to read.

This is a good thermometer at a low price. It’s an analog thermometer, so by comparison, it’s harder to read than its digital peers. The candy stages are noted on the edge, cluttering the thermometer's body, but it didn’t interfere much with the temperature numbering. Our testers noted that this is exacerbated when the thermometer gets seamy during cooking. 

While the thermometer is great for large batches, our testers found it particularly handy for small or shallow batches of melted sugar or frying.  The bulb almost reaches but doesn't touch the bottom of the pot. Nevertheless, one tester said, “you [get] accurate readings, even with small batches of candy, without having to tip the pot.” As a professional pastry chef, Chef Conn Zhang at Hutong NYC, also reaches for his Taylor candy thermometer at work. He says, “I find Taylor accurate... [It] offers me two things I need for sugar work. Accuracy and safety. I usually use a thermometer for the sugar syrup when making an Italian meringue, macarons, or specialty desserts at Hutong.”

Price at time of publish: $10

  • Measures: 12 inches
  • Display-type: Analog
  • Temperature range: 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Best Bluetooth

Williams Sonoma Bluetooth Candy Thermometer

Williams Sonoma Bluetooth Candy Thermometer

Williams Sonoma

Pros: We loved this thermometer's convenient Bluetooth feature and secure clip.

Cons: This thermometer's screen can be small and difficult to read.

The Bluetooth feature on this model is great because you can connect your thermometer to your phone to set your target temperature, and the thermometer will beep when reached, taking the guesswork out of trying to maintain a temperature or reading the small readout screen. This is helpful for this model since the screen is particularly small and can be difficult to see. The option to connect to your phone makes it easier for anyone with vision impairments or if you are cooking with children and want to include them without the danger of exposing them to boiling hot oil or sugar. Our testers also loved how secure the clip was, which made it feel safer. 

Price at time of publish: $65

  • Measures: 10 inches
  • Display-type: Digital
  • Temperature range: -40 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Best for Deep Frying

CDN Digital Deep Fry Programmable Thermometer

CDN Digital Deep Fry Programmable Thermometer


Pros: This model had several fryer-specific features that we loved and extreme accuracy. 

Cons: We didn’t like that this thermometer doesn’t have an off button. 

A fluctuation of just 5 or 10 degrees can mean the difference between golden brown and delicious and soggy, greasy, and flabby when it comes to deep frying. This CDN model snagged our top spot for frying due to its thoughtful, fryer-friendly features. Our favorites are the steam guard to prevent dangerous splatter from water droplets falling from the screen and the ability to program a set temperature with an alert beep. During our testing, it was one of the most accurate, which is vital for frying. However, our testers were disappointed to learn that there’s no off button, saying, “You turn it on, then it just auto-shuts off after an hour…I would have liked an off button to save battery juice.” Unfortunately, the lack of this button means you’ll likely have to buy new batteries much sooner than other thermometers.

Price at time of publish: $23

  • Measures: 14 inches
  • Display-type: Digital
    Temperature range:
    40 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Our Favorite

We loved the ThermoPro TP510 Waterproof Digital Candy Thermometer for its easy use; its highly user-friendly interface and features landed it in our top spot without question. The OXO Good Grips Glass Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer was a close second for its quick and accurate readouts and ideal design.

The Tests

To test the capabilities of each thermometer, our product testers performed two tests. The first, the boiling water test, sought to determine the accuracy of each thermometer. The testers boiled water and timed how long each thermometer took to read 212 degrees Fahrenheit — the temperature at which water boils — and if each accurately read that measurement. Next, they performed the sugar candy test to assess the accuracy of the thermometers and their general use. Each tester attached the thermometers to the pans when possible and made a high-temperature candy recipe from start to finish. Testers were asked to note the ease of cleaning, accuracy, ease of use, and quality of the final product. Finally, testers were asked questions about each thermometer’s performance, which we used to rate and rank the thermometers.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you use a candy thermometer?

    Many candy thermometers feature a clip that lets you set it on the rim of the pan. The bottom of the thermometer sits in the pan but not touching the bottom to get an accurate, hands-free reading. Others are a probe style, similar to meat thermometers, that need to be held in whatever you’re measuring though those are less common.

  • Can you use a meat thermometer as a candy thermometer?

    In a pinch, a meat thermometer can give you a somewhat accurate measurement when it comes to deep frying or candy making, but they’re not meant for that task. Freya Drake, former pastry chef of Bluehour, Castagna, and Pambiche in Portland, Oregon, and chef instructor at Kitchen Ambition, says the distinction is “all about the shape and materials. A meat thermometer is designed to poke through a cut of meat to test the internal temperature, so the probe-style tip is usually metal.” 

    To use a meat thermometer instead of a candy thermometer, you must hold it steady in whatever liquid you have so the reading can be consistent. For example, suppose you’re looking to find the general temperature. In that case, this is fine, but for things like caramel making, knowing the exact temperature of the sugar mixture is imperative, and this method might not give you the accurate readings you need.

  • How do you clean a candy thermometer?

    First and foremost, never put any type of thermometer in the dishwasher. Most thermometers can be thoroughly cleaned with a kitchen towel dipped in warm soapy water and rinsed. For thermometers crusted with anything sticky or cooked on, Elizabeth LaBau, cookbook author and candy maker behind Sugar Hero, recommends, “submerge the thermometer in a pan of water and let it sit. Soon, the water will dissolve the sugar, and the thermometer will be clean. This process is pretty fast, but if you want to speed things up even more, you can put the thermometer in a saucepan of water and bring it to a boil.” Regardless of how you clean your thermometer, always dry it thoroughly with a kitchen towel and let air dry the rest of the way. This prevents rust and any corruption of any internal electronics that might be present.

What Didn’t Make the List

Strong Contenders 

  • Polder Candy/Jelly/Deep Fry Thermometer ($10 at Amazon)
  • CDN (TCG400) Candy & Deep Fry Ruler Thermometer ($13 at Amazon)
  • Taylor Precision Products Digital Candy Thermometer (9839-15) ($19 at Amazon)

Results Still Simmering 

  • Williams Sonoma Easy-Read Candy Thermometer ($22 at Williams Sonoma)
  • Wilton Candy Thermometer ($20 at Walmart)

Low Performers 

  • Taylor Precision Products Candy/Deep Fry Thermometer ($8 at Amazon)
  • GoodCook Classic Candy/Deep-Fry Thermometer ($9 at Amazon)
  • Winco TMT-CDF4 Deep Fry/Candy Thermometer ($13 at Amazon)

Our Expertise

Nick DeSimone wrote and compiled this piece. They have worked in professional kitchens for the better part of a decade and have spent much of that time handling thermometers. Nick has some pastry experience under their belt, including time making candy and caramels as well as frying cannoli shells, so they’ve spent a lot of time using various types of candy thermometers. 

In order to assess the best candy thermometers on the market, Nick used data from our expert testers. Our testers put each thermometer through the same series of exhaustive tests to fairly compare them to each other and meticulously test each thermometer’s abilities. Nick also spoke with several candy experts and pastry chefs for this article. All chefs they spoke with have extensive knowledge of pastry and candy making with combined decades of experience using candy thermometers in their daily work.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles