Boiling water, and water’s boiling point, is something we don’t think much about. We typically use visual cues to know when our water is boiling. When it’s bubbling, it’s probably boiling – and that’s all we generally need to know.
But if you’re curious to learn about the temperature that water needs to hit to go from “simmering” to “boiling”, we’ve discussed it all in this guide. Let’s go!
📌 Key Takeaways:
- The boiling temperature for water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
- When you boil water at sea level, it won’t exceed this temperature. But if the atmospheric pressure is lower (if you’re at elevation), this can raise water’s boiling point.
- Water generally reaches boiling point within 2-15 minutes, depending on your boiling method, the pot size and water volume, the atmospheric pressure, and the initial water temperature.
Table of Contents
♨️ What is the Boiling Temperature For Water?
The boiling temperature for water, otherwise known as the boiling point, is 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
It’s important to note that this is water’s boiling temperature at sea level and standard atmospheric pressure, and factors including altitude and atmospheric pressure affect the temperature at which water boils.
The higher you’re located above sea level, the lower the temperature you’ll need to bring your water to a boil. For instance, water on Mount Everest has a much lower boiling point: 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s some information you’ll probably never put to practical use!
🌡️ Can Boiling Water Get Hotter Than 212 Degrees Fahrenheit?
Once water reaches boiling point, what then? Is it possible for the water to get any hotter than 212 degrees Fahrenheit when you continue to apply heat, or is it unable to surpass this temperature?
Generally, if you’re boiling water under the average atmospheric pressure at sea level, the water won’t get hotter than its boiling point. When water reaches its boiling point, its vapor pressure increases, and it undergoes a phase change from a liquid to a gas. This means that even if you add further heat, it won’t cause the temperature of the water to rise. Instead, the additional heat energy will be used to convert the liquid water into steam (or water vapor).
Of course, there are exceptions here. For instance, if you subject the water to altered pressures, such as in a pressure cooker, it’s possible for the water temperature to get hotter than 212 degrees Fahrenheit before it boils, because the difference in pressure raises the boiling point. In this scenario, the water can exist in a superheated state, which essentially means that it’s temporarily hotter than its normal boiling point. But even so, once it reaches the higher-than-average boiling point, it’ll stop heating up. Regardless of its boiling point, water always stops getting hotter once this boiling point has been achieved.
To conclude, in everyday cooking and boiling water on a stovetop, your water temperature won’t exceed 212 degrees Fahrenheit unless you’re using a pressure cooker or similar specialized equipment.
⏱ How Long Does it Take for Water to Reach Boiling Point?
Generally, it takes water 2-15 minutes to reach boiling point.
Why is there such a discrepancy in this time frame? Because there are a few factors that determine how long it takes for water to reach boiling point, including:
- How you’re boiling the water. Heating the water on a high-powered burner on a stove or boiling the water in a kettle is faster than heating it in a microwave or a low-powered burner.
- The initial water temperature. It’ll take longer to raise the temperature of ice-cold water to boiling compared to water that’s already warm or hot.
- The amount of water. Smaller volumes of water heat up faster than large amounts, so expect a small batch of water to reach boiling point faster.
- The size of the pot. The bigger the pot, the longer it’ll take water to boil because the pot has a greater surface area to heat before the contents is heated.
- Your altitude or elevation. At higher altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature than it does at sea level. This means that at higher elevations, you’ll find that water boils at a lower temperature and reaches boiling point more quickly compared to water at sea level.
🆚 Water Boiling Points Compared To Other Liquids
Wondering how water’s boiling point compares to the boiling points of other common household liquids? We’ve shared a table with this information below.
|Milk||203°F* (depending on fat content)|
|Vegetable Oil||320°F to 464°F|
|Broth or Soup||Approx. 212°F|
You can see that many liquids have a similar, or identical, boiling point to water. This is typically because they consist of mostly water. However, their exact boiling points vary depending on what they contain. For instance, the presence of salts, as you’ll find in most soups, can result in a slightly higher boiling point, meaning that they take longer to boil than water.
🤔 Why Does Water Evaporate When it Boils?
So, now we know what temperature water reaches when it boils – but why does water begin to evaporate at boiling point?
Essentially, water evaporates when it boils because exposure to higher temperatures causes it to change its physical state from a liquid to a gas. This happens when the water molecules gain enough thermal energy to break their bonds in the liquid phase and become vapor in the gaseous phase.
When water is heated, its temperature rises, and as it reaches its boiling point, the average kinetic energy of the water molecules increases. At the boiling point, this energy has increased enough to overcome the forces between the molecules, so they can escape the liquid and form vapor bubbles. These bubbles rise to the surface, release steam, and disperse into the surrounding air.
📑 Final Word
We wrote this guide because we wanted to provide a helpful resource that discusses everything you might want to know about water’s boiling point. Hopefully, you’ve now learned the temperature at which this liquid boils, how external pressure can affect this temperature, how water’s boiling point compares to the boiling points of other liquids, and more.
Still have questions? We may have answered them in the FAQ section below.
Does water boil faster with lid on?
Yes, water boils faster when you put a lid on the pot. Covering the pot with a lid traps the heat generated by the burner and prevents it from dissipating into the surrounding air, so the process is more efficient and there’s more energy in the pot to accelerate the heating process. Plus, the lid traps the steam generated when water is boiled, which circulates back into the water, helping to bring it up to boiling point faster.
What temperature is boiling water safe to drink?
To ensure water is microbiologically safe to drink, you should bring the water to a boiling temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit and let it boil continuously for at least 1 minute. And then, of course, to avoid burning your mouth, you’ll need to wait for the water temperature to drop to at least warm before you drink it.
Does water boil at 165 degrees?
No, water doesn’t boil at 165 degrees F. It will only hit boiling at 212 degrees F if you’re at sea level. However, 165 degrees is a good temperature for certain delicate green teas – you don’t necessarily have to boil your water to make tea.
Is it better to start boiling water hot or cold?
It’s better to start boiling water cold because cold water from your faucet is typically cleaner than hot water. There’s a risk of contamination in hot water because it comes into contact with hot water systems, like boilers and tanks, which can corrode over time. So, even though starting with cold water is less efficient and will take longer to boil, it’s still something that we always recommend.