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The Best Candy Thermometer America’s Test Kitchen

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The heat can turn sugar into many types of candies, and the best candy thermometer has much to contribute to that process. One degree difference decides if the sugar mixture is redundant or usable for a specific candy recipe. No one wants to throw away their efforts, that is why you should always check the temperature during cooking time.

Best-Candy-Thermometer-1024x682 If you are still not sure about the ideal cooking thermometer, why don’t you let this article help out with the following tips and experiences on the tools?

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What Is A Candy Thermometer?

Candy makers usually have to use candy thermometers. It is a cooking tool that people use to measure the temperature of candy syrups, mixtures of jam or jelly. Therefore they can figure out which stage the cooking solution is in.

The accuracy of temperature is important when you follow certain recipes for sweets. One slightest change in temperature will risk you throwing the whole pot into the garbage dump.

  • 230°F to 235°F: sugar threads. The threads cool down fast after separating from heat and make pretty decoration for deserts.
  • 235°F to 240°F: soft-ball stage. This temperature forms the perfect texture for pralines, fondants and fudges.
  • 245°F to 250°F: caramel mixture turns into firm balls.
  • 250°F to 265°F: hard -ball stage. The finished mixture later becomes nougat, rock candy and gummies.
  • 270°F to 290°F: soft-crack stage. People use it to make butterscotch.
  • 300°F to 310°F: hard-crack stage. The result is for making brittles and toffees.
  • At 338°F: brown liquid which is liquid caramel.

Cooking Thermometer Cook’s Illustrated & America’s Test Kitchen Review

CDN DTC450 – best for deep frying

With a range of 40°F to 450°F in temperature, it ensures you monitor the temperature of the oil to not burn or undercook your meals. As we all know, if the oil temperature is low, the protein, flour or the vegetable absorb oil, making it greasy. If the oil temperature is too high, it burns the oil and the food, which is unhealthy and unappetizing.

There is also a heat shield to protect the thermometer head from hot liquids. When deep-frying, oil can spill and melt the thermometer head so these are here to prevent that from happening.


  • Large digital display
  • Long probe
  • Adjustable pan clip


  • Tricky to re-calibrate

Check the latest prices here

Habor 022 – best for early stages of candy making

If you are used to candy making, you will know that risks exist in all stages and the slightest change in temperature decides if the batch is fine or fails. Habor 022’s temperature ranges from -58°F to 572°F, involving all stages of every candy recipe.

This model is also an instant read thermometer. After four to six seconds, it tells you the exact temperature of the mixture, allowing you to decide on the next step quickly. Therefore you don’t have to change the recipe or throw the mixture away.

It also has a clip, which is convenient for you during cooking time. You can leave the thermometer in the pot and continue stirring your mixture without switching hands, etc.


  • Wide range of temperature: -58°F to 572°F.
  • Has a clip
  • Four-to-six-second read


  • Flimsy battery cover

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Polder SYNCHKG106796 – best for professional deep-frying

Any home cooks here who enjoy deep-frying dishes? If you’re looking for a helpful tool to nail them, this is the ideal thermometer for you.

With a range of temperature from 90-400°F, this thermometer is suitable to measure oil temperature for deep-frying food (like these Asian favorites!), most of which achieve the crispy texture desired at around exactly 400°F.

When you use a traditional thermometer, you have to wait a rather long time for it to respond to your mixture’s temperature. If you can’t let go of it, you can’t stir well or may risk burning your hand. Most people share the same fear. This model has a clip that slides up and down according to depth of pot, allowing you to measure the oil temperature more accurately in a professional manner.


  • Adjustable clip
  • Suitable range of temperature (90-400°F)
  • Can be calibrated


  • The numbers may peel off

Check the prices and availability here

Taylor Precision Products 5983 – best for professional candy makers

This ruler-like steel gadget can be the best candy thermometer in town for professional candy makers.

It has a measurement range of 100 to 400°F. This is the perfect range for candy recipes. There are six points that show stages of candy making according to temperature as well. You can keep close track with your mixture to decide what to do next.

It needs good setups to work well. To be more detailed, you have to calibrate it as a part of your routine. Calibration can be tricky and time-wasting for amateurs. You should have experience or make candy regularly to use this well!

The 12-inch length also makes this more of a thermometer for professionals than amateurs. As it is pretty long, the batch should be big so that your mixture reaches a certain point on the thermometer, or else the temperature won’t come out right. If you’re only a home cook, you should consider your pot size before using this tool.


  • Adjustable clip
  • Easy to read with temperature stages printed clearly
  • Available in both °F and °C from 100 to 400°F


  • Fragile ‘shatterproof plastic lens’
  • Needs calibrating frequently

Check availability here

Kitchencraft KCJAMTHDL – best for jam and jelly making 

For those of you who have a sweet tooth, you have a special delivery from heaven here! Kitchencraft KCJAMTHDL is the perfect thermometer for jam and jelly making.

I’ve found this very accurate for reaching the setting point of jam & jellies. The temperature range is from 140 to 400°F, which is convenient for measuring sweet recipes like jam and jelly. Also, all the equivalent setting points for Jam, jelly or marmalade are marked on the temperature gauge, helping you know when your sweet batch has reached the perfect heat.

It also comes with a clip to let your hands free to do other things like stirring or preparing other ingredients. Jam and jelly are not only about sugar, there are fruits or coloring you want to add in, and this comes into handy for that.


  • Sturdy clip
  • Temperature range 140-400°F with marked cooking points


  • Expensive

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Lightbeam LB-ST01 – best choice for chocolate

It gets messy and distracting for me to read ruler-like thermometers when making chocolates. This model is an instant read, steel digital thermometer and is the best thermometer you will ever find for chocolates and candies recipes. You don’t have to wipe off the liquid to read temperature because it shows right on the screen. Not to mention, it can measure temperature between -58°F and 572°F. This wide range allows you to know the exact temperature your chocolate is at.


  • Removable spatula spoon
  • Instant read
  • Accurate measure


  • Tricky battery replacement

Check prices and availability here

Candy thermometer buying guide

Types of candy thermometers

Analog thermometer

This is also the traditional type of thermometer. There are three main smaller types, which are dial, pyrex, and ruler-like steel thermometers. They all have a clip, not too wide range of temperature and take a long time to read.

Dial thermometers have a large dial which is usually stainless-steel. It doesn’t have marked points for stages of candy making. Usually, these thermometers have manual calibration nuts.

Pyrex thermometers are made from glass and look like a tube or a syringe. Therefore, it is fragile and you have to be cautious when using it.

Ruler-like steel thermometers have the body with stainless-steel and usually a handle above. Most of them have marked points for candy.

Digital thermometer

These modern thermometers are divided into two main types, steel and laser. They are usually easy to read, and have a short responding time. Most of them don’t go with a clip and you can’t calibrate them, either.

Steel thermometer consists of a probe and screen. They sometimes have other helpful features like auto shut-off, back-light screen, or alarming sound.

Laser thermometer uses the laser to read the temperature without touching the liquid directly. Main features are: wide range of temperature, auto shut-off and low battery indication.

Testing a thermometer

Insert your candy thermometer into a pot of water and leave it till rolling boil. The bubbles should be constant and vigorous. At sea level, the boiling point for water is 212°F or 100°C; make this your baseline.

Let the thermometer stay in the water for five minutes to get a stable and accurate reading. The bulb of the thermometer should fully immerse in the water, but not touch the bottom or sides of the pot; this can give a false reading.

Now, you should inspect the temperature on your thermometer carefully. If it is 212°F, your thermometer is accurate!

Don’t let your guards down. You have to perform this test on a regular basis to ensure that the conversion is still accurate. It’s better to make this a routine. You can slide the thermometer into water that you’re boiling for pasta or something like that. If the results vary wildly from your calibration, that implies it is time for a new thermometer..

Also, when you live well above sea level, it’s possible that your thermometer is actually accurate, and in fact, that is exactly the boiling point of water at your high altitude. So, for high altitude cooking,  here is a general rule to estimating candy conversions: subtract 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

The Difference Between Meat Thermometers And Candy Thermometers

Due to the specific properties of the food it works for, a candy thermometer is for measuring temperatures up to 400°F. Meanwhile, meat thermometers have a lower temperature range—most go up to 200°F, and obviously cannot measure how hot your liquid sugar is.

A candy thermometer is usually long and slim. This shape enables you to read the sugar mixture’s temperature easily and comfortably because the heat can’t reach your hand. A meat thermometer has a short and pointy shape. The pointy head can penetrate a whole chicken or a thick piece of meat, which a candy thermometer with a blunt head can’t.


Everyone wants to nail their favorite dishes and share them with their beloved. Why not find the best candy thermometer to save time and effort? For me, the top place goes to Habor 022 due to my preference for partissieres. The second place goes to CDN IRT220, the one that fulfills the visionary of a family gathering. My third option on the list is the one that satisfies my secret pleasure – deep-frying, namely Polder SYNCHKG106796.

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.