What Kind of Fuel Does a Culinary Torch Use? [A Few Options]

Culinary torches are a useful and cheap method to implement into any kitchen to take a mediocre dish to the next level. Culinary torches have been around for a long time, but not many are 100% up to speed about common and frequently asked questions that present themselves about the appropriate ways to use them effectively. One question I see arise is simple in nature. What kind of fuel does a culinary torch use? Here’s what I can tell you on this topic.

So, what kind of fuel does a culinary torch use? Culinary torches most frequently use fuel that is either in the form of butane or propane. This is different from the fuel type that’s commonly found in stovetops. Stovetops often use natural gas to ignite a flame and to heat a traditional oven.

Understanding that culinary torches are most frequently used with propane and butane is one thing but understanding why is also important and it’s a straightforward explanation to say the least.

The good news is that we are going to cover exactly that in this post as well as point you towards a few of our other post on this site that includes everything you need to know about culinary torches and how to use them safely and effectively.

Stick around 2-3 minutes and we will have you on your way.

Here is the inside scoop.

Why Culinary Torches Use Propane or Butane Instead of Natural Gas

First and foremost, if you landed on this post and need some additional information and background on culinary torches in general, be sure to check out our post that explains what a culinary torch is and how to use it here.

It will give you a detailed overview of the culinary torch and show you how to exercise normal safety precautions and even a few great ways to use them on dishes you may not have thought of.

Most individuals are often curious as to why culinary torches are usually equipped with propane and butane as opposed to another form of gas or fuel.

The answer is simple.

Natural gas is not nearly as functioning or desired for a device such as a culinary torch that utilizes control knobs to adjust the flame size for your torch.

This is due to the oxidation taking place. Propane, butane and even acetylene are all much more capable of fully oxidizing a flame as the torch control knob is adjusted to either

1.)    Less Flame

2.)    More Flame

Thus, making propane and butane the clear and desired choice for culinary torches.

The Explanation Behind the Desired Blue Flame with Culinary Torches

This is also part of the reason you notice with most culinary torches that the flame does not begin blue.

It begins a red, orange, or even yellowish color and turns blue within moments of being ignited.

This is the oxidation taking place when the flame turns to the desired dark blue color with culinary torches. This is also the color that indicates your torch is ready for use.

It’s also the science behind why you hear the desired sound of the hissing or even a slight roar take place from the culinary torch when it’s at its peak level for use.

Now that we are aware of the what and why behind culinary torches and the proper fuel to use, let’s cover a few other common questions that arise on the topic and wrap this up for you.

Can I Use a Butane Torch for Crème Brulee?

Absolutely 100%. In fact, crème brulee is one of the most common food dishes and recipes that requires the use of a culinary torch to make it the outstanding dish we all desire and know.

A culinary torch that uses butane as opposed to propane makes no difference in the safety or practical use of the torch when applying to crème brulee.

It’s safe and helps to create the masterpiece with some simple slow motions and maybe a tad bit of practice.

Is A Culinary Torch the Same as A Chef’s Torch?

Yes, culinary torches are often referred to as chef’s torches. This is due to more exotic dishes often implemented with the use of a culinary torch.

Therefore, it’s common practice for a chef to be accustomed to best practices and how to create traditional delicacies using culinary torches often.

Does A Butane Torch or Propane Torch Produce More Heat for Cooking?

Propane burns hotter than butane.

This is slightly confusing, however, since both butane and propane displace the same amount of heat out of your culinary torch. Propane simply has a higher burning temperature, but as it’s released the from the culinary torch, the heat displacement will be the same.

Is Butane Safe for Cooking Indoors?

100%. Butane chef torches or culinary torches are perfectly safe for use indoors and in your kitchen.

You can use a culinary torch that implements either of these fuel choices. It is essential, however, that you exercise necessary precautions and use common sense and safety during use.

Choose A Fuel That Has Easy Access to Refills

The last consideration to keep in mind before sending you on your way is that your culinary torch will eventually run dry on fuel after several uses.

Make sure to make it easier on yourself by choosing a fuel that you can refill easily or have accessible too locally.

While this shouldn’t be a problem with butane or propane, it’s certainly something worth looking into before choosing your torch.

In Summary, Regardless of the Fuel Choice, Culinary Torches Make a Great Addition to Any Kitchen

The difference between using propane or butane with your culinary torch isn’t going to have much of an impact if any, on your overall results and the use of your culinary torch.

Both will surely get the job done and will get it done effectively.

Earlier in this post, we linked to our other blog post detailing a culinary torch, and its common uses. If you are implementing these practices, you can be using a culinary torch like a professional in no time.

The most crucial factor to consider when deciding on which fuel will ultimately be best will come down to cost-effectiveness and ease of access.

Ensure that if you choose butane for example that you have an easy to access place to pick up more fuel.

Turning the Floor Over to You…

What kind of fuel do you use in your culinary torch? Do you have anything to add to this post or any further recommendations that we left out of it? Be sure to share your stories and concerns by dropping a comment below.