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Is having a culinary torch essential? Well, probably not. But it sure is a kitchen tool that you will love to use the second you add one to your arsenal. These humble, butane-fueled gadgets can create a steady, hot flame that you can use to caramelize sugar on a crème brûlée, torch marshmallows, sear steaks and other proteins, scorch meringues, melt cheese, roast peppers, and so much more.
Worried about holding such a powerful flame right in the palm of your hands? There’s no need to worry—these torches are all designed with an anti-flare safety mechanism that ensures the flame won’t come anywhere near your hands. Different models offer a range of maximum temperatures, flame strength, and usability, so you should definitely have an idea of what you’ll plan to use this torch for before you buy one.
Here, the best kitchen torches to fuel your next culinary adventure.
Best Overall: Iwatani International PRO2 Culinary Butane Torch
Torch head is directly attached to fuel source
Inexpensive, yet still high-quality
Need to buy the brand’s fuel tanks
Iwatani is a classic Japanese brand known for its high-quality torches and attention to detail. This torch head connects directly to the fuel source, though you’ll need to purchase the brand's proprietary butane canisters separately. Each canister will get you about 100 minutes of burn time, which is plenty of fuel for the average home cook. If you want to customize the flame, there are controls that allow you to adjust the size and shape of the flame at all times. Reviewers love the consistent and powerful strength of this flame. Because the fuel source is directly attached to the head, you don’t need to worry about constantly refilling or the flame weakening.
Max Temperature: 2700 degrees F | Weight: 5.92 ounces
Best for Crème Brûlée: EurKitchen Butane Torch With Fuel Gauge
Fuel gauge lets you know when it’s time to refill
Canister can hold 12 grams butane
Flame is 6 inches and very steady
Will need to refill frequently if used often
Torching a crème brûlée requires a delicate balance because you need a flame that’s strong enough to caramelize sugar but you also need to be able to control and easily maneuver this flame so that you don’t completely burn the sugar or warm the custard underneath. This EurKitchen torch offers plenty of control and strength, making it an obvious choice for any crème brûlée enthusiast. The canister can hold 12 grams of butane and the convenient fuel gauge allows you to know when you’re running low and need to refuel.
This model can shoot up to 6 inches of fire and the convenient finger guard ensures that you’re safe from making contact with the super-hot flame. The gas control knob makes for a super consistent and steady flame, which is ideal when you’re glossing over the sugar on a crème brûlée. Even and consistent browning is key.
For a little bit less, you can buy a version without the fuel gauge.
Max Temperature: 2370 degrees F | Weight: 11.3 ounces
“When torching crème brulee, the best place to start is with an even level of turbinado sugar on top,” says Gabrielle Draper, pastry chef and associate manager, R&D technical culinary applications at Barry Callebaut. “Start torching from the center and work outwards. Slowly go in a circular motion around the dish, moving on to the next spot when the previous area has a nice brown caramelized surface. It’s important to torch your crème brulee close to when it will be enjoyed so the sugar stays with a nice crack."
Best Budget: Gibot Blow Torch Lighter
Small and easy to handle
Great for beginners
No fuel gauge
If you’re not quite ready to make the investment on this kitchen purchase, it’s a great idea to start with this model, which is less than $20. Try it out on a homemade crème brûlée or try torching a few marshmallows to get comfortable with the torch. This model is on the smaller side so you don’t have to worry about any excessively huge flames that could be intimidating for your first go around. The canister holds about 8-10 grams of butane and when it’s all out, you’ll need to refill it.
Even though the torch itself is just shy of 5 inches, it can still churn out a flame as long as 6 inches. If you plan to use this for big batch torching, you may find it cumbersome to continuously refill the comparatively small canister, but this would be great for a kitchen torching novice.
Max Temperature: 2372 degrees F | Weight: 8.8 ounces
Best Professional-Grade: Bernzomatic TS3500KC Multi-Use Torch Kit
Flame is powerful and steady
Requires less frequent fuel refilling
Fuel not included
If you’re looking for the torch that kitchen professionals swear by, it is without question a Benzomatic. Known for its high-quality, durable kitchen torches, Benzomatic makes a range of reasonably priced torch heads. When you’re using this trigger-start ignition model, you don’t need to worry about keeping the torch upright, as it’s pressure regulated for tilted use. You’ll need to separately buy a 14- or 16-ounce propane tank to fuel the torch. The adjustable flame knob allows you to control the strength of the flame as well as safely extinguish it when you’re done torching.
Max Temperature: 2372 degrees F | Weight: 2.8 pounds
“I’m a fan of the Bernz-o-Matic Multi-Use Torch Set. The flame is adjustable, and the torch comes with a large propane canister you won't have to replace for a very long time, especially if you're only torching one or two desserts at a time.” — Jenni Field, Pastry Chef and Founder of Pastry Chef Online
Best for Beginners: Jo Chef Refillable Butane Torch
Requires frequent fuel refilling if used a lot
If you’re still getting acquainted with using a kitchen torch at home, start with something approachable and easy to control. This torch comes with butane so you don’t need to worry about ordering that separately. When it does come time to refuel, you can reference the convenient fuel gauge to know how much fuel is in the canister. Multiple safety locks and an adjustable flame function ensure that the user is safe and protected against the flame, so cooks of all levels can enjoy using this tool. If you’re wanting to gift any friends with a torch, this model arrives gift-ready, so go ahead and spread the fiery love.
Max Temperature: 2370 degrees F | Weight: 1.34 pounds
“Kitchen torches can be intimidating at first, but they're quite simple to use. First, ensure you’ve properly filled the torch with butane fuel. Then, slide open the safety lock, point the nozzle away from your body, and press the ignition button. Slowly sweep the flame across the surface you’d like to char, then turn off the flame. My favorite ways to use this tool are to torch crème brûlée and crisp chicken skin after cooking the bird in an Instant Pot.” — Mary Fagan, Recipe Developer and Founder of The Library Kitchen
Best Ergonomic: Williams Sonoma Kitchen Torch
Compact in size
Grip is comfy and padded
Butane not included
Tricky to fill
This torch is super compact and easy to handle, so you don’t need to carry around a bulky fuel tank. There is a clear, built-in gauge that allows you to check in on the fuel level and be prepared when it’s time to refill the handle. The sleek fuel knob also allows you to control the size and strength of the flame. This torch is 8 ½ inches tall, which is the ideal size to fit in your grip, plus the handle is padded and super comfy. There is an angled nozzle that prevents you from having to twist your hand awkwardly for even burning. Some reviewers note that it can be fussy to refill, so try flipping the handle upside down before adding the butane.
Max Temperature: 2370 degrees F |
Best Splurge: SearPro Multi-Use Cooking Torch
Extremely powerful flame
Fuel control allows small and large flames
Fuel sold separately
If you want the top-of-the-line, all-the-bells-and-whistles model, then this torch is right up your alley. Not only does it have a super sleek design, but it can also fire up a seriously powerful flame. Its compact size also makes it easy to transport, making it a great camping or outdoor adventure accessory. This torch is super powerful, but its adjustable fuel control allows you to use it for delicate applications like crème brûlée or meringue, as well as heftier projects. Crank up the fuel control and use the full power flame for tasks like searing steaks, roasting peppers, or lighting a campfire.
This is certainly a pricey option, but if you want a tool that can do everything from torch a mini marshmallow to caramelize a glazed ham, this is the torch for you. Reviewers love using this high-powered torch for finishing off steaks and centerpiece proteins. Even though it’s nearly twice or three times as expensive as some competitors, customers feel the investment is worth it and they love the product.
Max Temperature: 2372 degrees F | Weight: 4.8 ounces
“To get the best meringue result when torching, it’s important not to stay in one spot too long,” says Domenica Lazo, Assistant Application Chef at Barry Callebaut. “Depending on the power of the torch, I may hold it 1.5 to 3.5 inches away from the direct surface. Typically it is best to start around the edges of the meringue and work your way to the center, moving on when the previous area has a nice golden brown surface."
Best for Steaks: O-Grill GJ-One CR Black Professional Butane Culinary Torch
Chic and visually appealing
Adjustable gas flow ring to control the flame
If you’re looking for a torch that can create a super-strong flame for caramelizing meats, this torch is a superb option. This model is designed with an adjustable gas flow ring that works to control the flame length, along with a convenient safety switch to extinguish the flame. This torch also boasts an anti-grease finish torch grip so that you can easily handle the torch even if your hands are a little oily (it happens).
This deluxe torch was designed with presentation in mind, so if you want a fun tool that looks nice tableside to sear steaks or present crème brûlées, this is certainly a visually appealing option. No need to worry about sporting an unsightly, clunky fuel tank because this model has a canister to hold it between fueling.
Max Temperature: 2400 degrees F | Weight: 4.2 ounces
What to Look for in a Kitchen Torch
Refillable Canisters vs. Torch Heads
Most torches are either a refillable canister or a torch head. The former are smaller and less bulky, making them a great option for beginners. Torches with refillable canisters have a small amount of butane in the handle and can be refilled from a separate butane canister. It’s always helpful when the refillable canister models show you how much butane is left so that you know when it’s time to refill. If you’re using the torch frequently, it can become somewhat annoying to constantly refill, but for the occasional torching, these refillable canisters are great.
Torch heads are screwed onto canisters, which means it’s simpler to refill because the gas is coming directly from the source, as opposed to refilling a smaller canister. That said, this setup does require holding the entire canister as you use it, which can prove more difficult for inexperienced cooks. Torch heads and refillable canisters are roughly the same size, but you need to keep in mind that when you’re using a torch head, you’ll also have the entire canister attached, which can be larger and bulky. Torch heads are typically the version that you’ll find in professional kitchens as they’re more efficient, they outlast refillable canisters, and they’re more powerful.
A new culinary torch can run you anywhere from $10 to over $100. Consider how frequently you plan to use the torch and what projects you’ll use it for. If you just want to try making crème brûlée once, it’s probably a better idea to go with something more budget-friendly. If you want a tool that can sear steaks, roast peppers, torch meringues, and maybe even start a campfire, it might be in your best interest to invest in something more durable and with more reliable features.
Always keep in mind with these torches that there needs to be a fuel source. In some instances, the fuel is included, but not always. Make sure to read the directions thoroughly so that you know exactly what kind of fuel to buy for your device. Some torches require proprietary fuel, so make sure you have some when you plan to use it.
Where do you buy butane for a kitchen torch?
You can purchase butane on Amazon or at any of your favorite kitchen or home improvement stores, like Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, or Sur La Table.
How do you fill a butane kitchen torch?
Before refilling your torch, you should always ensure that the gas flow is off. The refill port and nozzle is at the bottom of the torch. Give the butane a little shake, and then insert the nozzle into the canister while pressing and holding. This pressure will create a flow that allows the butane to enter the nozzle. After a few seconds, the canister will be filled and you can release. It’s best to refill your torch in an open space.
What can you use a kitchen torch for?
Kitchen torches are most notably used for caramelizing sugar on the top of a crème brûlée. You can also use one to brown marshmallows, roast peppers, melt cheese, caramelize the top of a casserole, brûlée a grapefruit, and brown meringue.
Is it safe to use a butane kitchen torch on food?
Yes, a butane torch is safe to use directly on food. You never want to burn something to a crisp and should try to keep the flame a few inches away from the food. That said, if unused hydrocarbons from the butane make their way onto the food, it is safe to consume.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written nearly a dozen buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef in addition to a kitchen torch enthusiast. From crème brûlée to seared steaks to roasted peppers, she has used a kitchen torch for many of her private cooking clients. After researching different kitchen torches, she can help you find the best device that fits what you’re looking for.
This roundup was updated by Carrie Honaker, who interviewed Jenni Field, pastry chef and founder of Pastry Chef Online; Mary Fagan, recipe developer and founder of The Library Kitchen; Domenica Lazo, assistant application chef at Barry Callebaut; and Gabrielle Draper, pastry chef and associate manager, R&D technical culinary applications at Barry Callebaut. A pastry chef herself, Carrie's work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.