Your sous vide steak is cooked to the perfect level of doneness, having maintained all of its juicy flavors. But something is missing - that crusty, caramelized sear and deep color that give a good steak its rightful place at the top of the carnivore’s food chain. But that’s easy (and fun!) to fix with a cooking torch.
There are other uses for cooking torches, as well. That’s how cooks get the crunchy crust on the top of crème brulée. And the slightly brown crusty peaks of meringue on a Baked Alaska or lemon pie. Or melting and toasting the cheese on top of a casserole.
Yes, you get to play with fire in the kitchen! But there are guidelines, both for safety and to ensure the best result for your meal. We’ve rounded up some of the best choices to keep your efforts safe and easy - and your meal delicious!
Like any kitchen tool, you want your torch to do the job it's designed for and not make you jump through a bunch of hoops to make it happen. After all, the best part of meal prep is the result, and you will want your torch to get you there as easily as possible while showing off your own culinary style.
Temperature: Each sous vide torch has a range of temperatures it can reach. The higher the temp, the faster the sear. So you want it to bring on the heat (and hold that temperature evenly), but with enough control so that you don’t crank it too high and burn your expensive steak. Consider an easily adjustable torch to give you the best control. All of the torches listed below reach temperatures of 2,500°F or more.
Versatility: Right now, you may be thinking of using your torch only for sous vide cooking, and that’s a great reason to get one. But you may want to branch out to torched desserts sooner or later (once you find out how much fun you can have playing with fire in the kitchen). The right torch can handle both searing a steak and caramelizing a crème brulée.
Ease of Use: You want to be able to maneuver your torch easily during use and adjust the flame quickly if needed. There can be a fine line between searing and burning. A torch with a cumbersome design and complicated settings might look awesome, but why make it hard on yourself?
Consistency: You want to know that when you use a particular setting on your torch you get the same result every time. Consistent heat is an important factor in charring meat successfully, and a consistent torch will help you achieve that.
The Iwatani PRO2 lets you adjust the flame size and shape to fit your specific cooking task, whether it’s searing a sous vide steak, creating a sugary crust on crème brulée, glazing a ham or making s’mores. One-touch ignition makes for easy start up. The 8-ounce butane canister just twists and locks into place. The Iwatani PRO2 has a 1 year manufacturer warranty.
The Power Blazer from Fire Maid offers a safety lock for security and a long burn time to help you get the job done and feed a hungry crowd. With an easy to adjust flame, this torch fits a variety of needs, from meringue pies to sous vide meats. The nozzle head allows for precise placement and control of your flame, so you’ll get just the results you want. 90-day money back guarantee.
With the Jo Chef Professional Kitchen Torch, you can sear your sous vide meats, roast peppers and brown crème brulées to perfection. The refillable butane torch is equipped with a safety lock and a flame adjuster for safety and precision. The Jo Chef comes with a bonus heat-resistant placemat and a 23 recipe e-book. 90-day money back guarantee.
With its ergonomic handle and quick refill design, the Pepe Nero Culinary Torch makes it easy to sear meats and brown desserts. The safety lock prevents it from lighting accidentally, while the push button ignition system streamlines the steps in your kitchen. A sturdy base keeps the torch stable when you need to set it down. The adjustable flame is perfect for a variety of uses. It even functions well when inverted!
The Scorch Mate butane torch boasts aluminum construction and an EVA carry case to protect it and keep it looking great. The reliable flame will finish a sous vide steak as easily as it will caramelize a crème brulée in seconds. The built in safety lock prevents accidental ignition. You’ll have great control using this torch for a variety of uses. This torch has a built in fluid window so you’ll always know when it’s time to refill. Refillable with most butane canisters including Zippo brand. 1 year warranty.
Vatelware is a small, family-owned business devoted to providing kitchenware. This torch was made for the everyday chef who wants to stretch the skillset. The child safety lock and flame guard are important features in the home kitchen. Lightweight and compact, the ergonomic design fits nicely in the hand. The flame is adjustable and can be used at any angle, making this a versatile torch. As with the other torches, this tool can handle anything from toasting s’mores to searing a sous vide steak. When full, this torch will run for 30 minutes on high. The fuel tank has a gauge so you’ll always know when it’s time to refill. 12-month money back guarantee.
The Spicy Dew Culinary Torch has a stylish and portable design and is perfect for everything from toasting breadcrumbs to melting cheese to caramelizing sugar to searing a steak, and the strong and consistent flame will go for up to 60 minutes. The child safety lock prevents accidents and worries. The sturdy base keeps it stable when you set it down, and there is a protection guard to protect your hand from the flame. You can adjust the flame easily, depending on your purpose. And the fuel gauge window lets you know when it’s time to refill with widely available butane. 90-day money back guarantee and 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Flame cocktails, flambé desserts, caramelize sugar, sear a sous vide steak and more with the Ingeniosity Culinary Torch. The ignition fires up instantly to get you started cooking with the adjustable flame suitable for a number of uses. With safety in mind, this torch has a safety lock, sturdy base, flame guard and hand protection plate. The torch is quick and easy to refill with butane cans for cigarette lighters, readily available - it takes just 10 seconds. When full, the flame can burn for up to 60 minutes. 1 year manufacturer’s replacement warranty.