You've upped your cooking game with sous vide cooking, and now you're ready to take it a step further with a kitchen torch. The best sous vide torches have an adjustable flame, so they can be used on a variety of foods, and a locking feature for safety.
Sous vide torches need to be able to give your food a crispy texture without overcooking the inside, so a high temperature is key. Most sous vide torches can reach high temperatures around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but some torches can get all the way up to almost 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures can be great for some sous vide foods, like steaks, but they can burn others, which is why it's helpful to have a torch with an adjustable flame intensity.
Another feature to consider when choosing a torch is fuel type. Most torches use butane, but some use propane or MAPP gas, which is often used for welding, but can also be used for cooking. Some torches are attached directly to a bottle of fuel, while others can be filled with the fuel. Both varieties work equally well, although refillable torches are slightly easier to store as they are smaller. One important thing to note is that torches never ship with the gas, as it poses a fire hazard. However, gas refills are easy to buy online.
It's important to read the instructions carefully before using any new torch and follow the brand's kitchen torch safety guidance. Because these torches can get to such high temperatures, not to mention that they use fire, be sure to safely store them when not in use, and be sure to choose somewhere that's out of reach of kids and pets. It's best to choose a torch with a locking feature, so you can put it away without worrying. Torches should be used in well-ventilated areas, and should not be used around other open flames, such as lit stoves.
If you're ready to get cooking, check out this list of the best sous vide torches.
1. The Best Overall
- Max temperature: 2,372 degrees Fahrenheit
This powerful kitchen torch can be lit with the touch of a button and has a convenient locking mechanism so you can store it safely. The adjustable flame intensity makes it easy to get the exact level of sear you want for your sous vide cooking, and since this torch uses butane gas and has a refillable design, it doesn't need to be connected to the gas bottle to work. There are many butane refills available, such as this two bottle pack from Zippo, but make sure whatever bottle you choose has a long nozzle, as short nozzles won't work with this torch's refill valve. With over 9,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, this kitchen torch is an overwhelming fan favorite.
One fan raved: “Love that it has a lock setting! Save so much strain when doing creme brulee or doing the final sear on my sous vide steak. Refilling butane is also a breeze. Excellent flame control. Fits nicely in the hand and well balanced.”
2. The Best Budget-Friendly Sous Vide Torch
- Max temperature: 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit
Like the Sondiko torch, this handy sous vide torch is refillable and uses butane gas, which can be filled from a valve in the base. It also has a convenient lighter button as well as a flame intensity regulator, so you can use it on many different foods. Thanks to its flat base, this kitchen torch can set upright on a table, and the locking mechanism makes it easy to safely store after use.
One fan raved: “This torch is great! I got it because I needed a way to sear my steaks from the sous vide. It works perfectly! I’ve also used [it] for s’mores which is a great hack! Quick s’mores in no time. The knobs and adjustments are also easily controlled with one hand, which I like. It also has a lock which is safe and important”
3. The Best High-Temperature Sous Vide Torch
- Max temperature: 3,730 degrees Fahrenheit
This heavy-duty torch is primarily designed for light welding and soldering, but it works just as well for searing sous vide foods. Recommended for sous vide searing by The Sous Vide Guy as well as many reviewers, this torch can reach temperatures of 3,730 degrees Fahrenheit and has a trigger ignition, so it can be lit with one hand. It also has a locking mechanism, as well as an adjustable flame. The brand recommends using their blue propane fuel cylinders for cooking projects.
One fan raved: “I was recently introduced to sous vide cooking, and this torch was recommended in a few of the sous vide cookbooks that I bought. [...] I bought this torch and am so glad I did. I also ordered Standard Propane Fuel Cylinder - Pack of 3 for the propane. My husband laughed at me as he felt this was a lifetime supply of propane for my uses. I found this torch so easy to use. [...] This torch is definitely hot enough to sear meat quickly. I also learned that it's a good idea to let the meat cool a little so that the searing doesn't cook it more. As I get more experience with this torch, I'm sure I will find more uses for it in the kitchen. In addition, we can use it to light the wood in the fireplace. So far, I love this torch and the multiple uses it can be useful for. I would highly recommend this torch.”