Some parts are dishwasher-safe for quick and easy cleaning. Designed with a patented oil filtration system that is efficient and cost-effective. Two-position basket makes it easy to transfer food and access the oil.
Its basket may be difficult to clean due to batter potentially sticking to the mesh wiring.
Compact. Heats quickly. Inexpensive model with no bells and whistles. Excels at keeping oil at the optimal temperature for thorough, even frying. Comes with a convenient slotted scoop to easily retrieve food.
No cooking lid (although there is a storage lid). Only 1 temperature, which is too hot for some foods.
Sustains heat better than most fryers on the market. Includes stainless steel mesh basket with cool-touch handle. Control panel has a 60-minute timer and temperature control dial for easy, effortless frying.
Short cord. Difficult to strain oil when you're done cooking.
Needs very little oil. Innovative frying system makes food extra crispy. Only 2.2 pounds. Easy to drain used oil. Digital timer and thermostat. Exterior does not get hot.
Its 2.2-pound maximum food capacity is a little on the small side.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested T-fal Deep Fryer to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
With an electric deep fryer, you can prepare onion rings, corn dogs, crispy fries and other deep-fried foods to your liking. It can also save you from spending money at fast food restaurants - no need to go out when you make your own mozzarella sticks at home! Consider purchasing a deep fryer if you enjoy indulging in fried foods.
Before you buy a deep fryer, you should think about the size you’ll need. Large fryers take up a substantial amount of counter space, so a smaller model is more suitable for a small household. Also think about features such as an oil drain, adjustable thermostat, ease of cleaning, and a mechanism for spill prevention.
You may be wondering if a deep fryer is a “fad” kitchen gadget that you’d use a few times, then stash away for months. Many satisfied owners tell us they use their deep fryer on a regular basis. Plenty of recipes exist for the adventurous deep fryer owner, and if you get one, you’ll encounter no shortage of relevant recipes on the internet.
However, there are some people who find their deep frying needs to be minimal. If this sounds like you, you could potentially achieve the same “deep fried” effect with a heavy Dutch oven and a good supply of cooking oil.
In short, an honest evaluation of your potential usage is always wise before investing in a countertop appliance.
Finding the right cooking oil or fat for deep frying foods is not always a straightforward process.
Here’s an in-depth look at some of your choices:
Olive oil is a great candidate for deep frying, but the extra virgin variety has a low smoking point and can become bitter when overheated.
Peanut oil is one of the most popular cooking oils used in professional kitchens and higher-end fast food restaurants. It has a very high smoking point (450°F) and a neutral flavor. It can be expensive, and it’s not readily available in some areas. Those with a peanut allergy or sensitivity could experience a reaction to foods cooked in peanut oil.
Safflower oil is another “healthy” choice for deep frying. It has a high smoking point, polyunsaturated fats, and beneficial Omega6 amino acids. However, it can impart a strong (though generally agreeable) flavor to foods.
Canola oil is an excellent all-around cooking oil, and many people prefer it to standard vegetable oil. It has a fairly high smoking point and is high in Omega-3 amino acids. The main drawback to using canola oil for deep frying is its tendency to break down after one session. You must replace it after each use.
Vegetable oil is often the most affordable form of cooking oil on store shelves. It has a relatively neutral flavor, although some detect “buttery” tones in the finished product. If you use vegetable oil in your deep fryer, be sure to monitor the temperature closely.
If you’re going to drop $50 to $100 on a deep fryer, you want one that will deliver a quality finished product. The tastiness of deep fried food hinges on the temperature of the oil it’s cooked in. If the oil is too hot, the food will taste burnt. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the food will be too greasy. Ideally, you’ll end up with a platter full of golden, crispy deep fried food every time you use your fryer.
Here’s a look at what to expect from the products on our shortlist in terms of their performance:
What types of features should you look for in a deep fryer? The best fryer features enhance cooking efficiency, ease of use, and cleanup.
In this section, we highlight some of the features provided by today’s electric fryers. Useful features include an adjustable thermostat, a signal light, a sealed locking safety lid, and a filter for oil drainage.
People sometimes make mistakes when deep frying food. A piece of fried chicken could burn on the outside but remain raw in the middle. A frozen snack food designed to fry in hot oil for five minutes could become unrecognizable three minutes later.
Here are some common deep frying mistakes and how to avoid making them:
The ideal temperature for most deep frying projects ranges between 300° and 400°F. Oil that’s too cool won’t form bubbles, and the food will absorb it rather than repel it. Overheated oil can break down, creating an undesirable combination of oil and water. It will also burn the outside of the food before the interior has a chance to form steam.
Frozen and refrigerated foods may temporarily pull down the oil’s temperature, and different models have different temperature recovery times. This “uncertainty” could taint your results — at least until you know how your deep fryer works.
The best oils for deep frying generally have a neutral flavor and a high smoking point (over 400°F). Using a flavorful oil like EVOO might sound like a good idea but, in reality, its low smoking point may impart a bitter flavor to the food if it overheats.
Expired or unfiltered oil can cause food to blacken in the deep fryer. Some cooking oils can survive several rounds of heating, cooking, and cooling without damage. Others begin to break down after only a few uses.
Sometimes, your batter or coating won’t stick to your food. This is a bummer, because not only is that coating delicious, it provides a protective barrier between the food’s moist interior and the hot cooking oil.
One solution is to refrigerate or freeze breaded food products before deep frying. This step enables the batter or coating to better adhere to the food. However, for best results, you’ll still need to thaw the food a bit before dropping it into the hot oil.
Some flash frying techniques suggest that you wait until the last minute to batter the food. With each batch, you use a fresh, cold batter mix. Pro chefs who prepare Japanese tempura tend to follow this philosophy.
You may ask: are breaded mozzarella sticks, battered fish, and Southern fried chicken healthy?
After all, the very act of deep frying usually involves saturated animal fats or heavy, plant-based cooking oils. If doctors and dietitians suggest cutting back on artery-clogging saturated fats as part of a healthy diet, where does deep frying stand as a cooking method? Is it inherently healthy or unhealthy?
The answer lies in moderation. The American Heart Association advises us to emphasize monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats while limiting our intake of saturated fats. However, that doesn’t mean we must shirk all foods that we love. Instead, we should carefully balance our ratio of “treat” foods against a diet that’s rich in veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
So if you’re going to treat yourself, why not do it right? We know that saturated fats like lard and heavy oils like Crisco enhance the deep frying process. We also know that lighter oils, while healthier for the body, have a lower smoking point and can impart “off” flavors to food.
Consider the process for making Southern deep fried chicken. The chicken is dredged in milk and coated with batter. The batter forms a barrier between the moist interior of the chicken and the hot cooking oil. When the oil contacts the coating, it bubbles and boils — but it does not penetrate the chicken’s skin. This bubbling is actually proof that water (in the form of steam) is escaping from the interior meat.
As the chicken continues to fry, the hot oil creates a crispy exterior, but the meat itself steams in its natural moisture. Whether the chef is using a saturated animal fat like lard or an unsaturated plant oil like soybean oil, the cooking process is still the same.
Are you preparing a late-night snack for yourself or feeding an entire family? If the latter, then you will probably want a fryer with ample capacity. Otherwise, you’ll spend extra time frying food in multiple batches.
Here’s a look at the cooking capacities offered by our shortlist contenders:
In general, the bigger the fryer, the steeper the price tag. Additional features and brand popularity also influence the cost. Here’s a look at the price of each contender on our shortlist and what you get for your money:
Q. How do I clean my cooking oil between projects?
A. The first step is to use a skimmer to remove any food or coating remnants floating on the surface of the oil. If you can do it safely, the next step is to pour most of the remaining oil through a fine sieve suspended over a clean, heat-resistant container. The last inch or so of oil will probably contain a layer of burnt food particles, so do not pour it into the same clean container. Place a tight-fitting lid on the container and refrigerate the oil.
Q. How reliable is the thermostat on my electric deep fryer?
A. Proper oil temperature control has been an issue with electric deep fryers for a long time. You can probably count on your onboard thermostat to sit within 25° of the target temperature, but for more precise control, we recommend investing in an additional analog bulb thermometer as a safeguard.
Q. Why don't my French fries look golden brown, like the kind I get at restaurants?
A. There are several reasons why food prepared in a deep fryer at home doesn’t always look as picture-perfect as food prepared by the pros.
Many restaurants use a proprietary form of shortening in their fryers that would be prohibitively expensive for home cooks.
Some restaurant foods have been treated with ingredients that encourage browning.
Professional cooks may partially cook fresh potatoes at one temperature, then finish them off at a higher temperature. It would be difficult to duplicate this result at home.
Makes 10-12 Donuts
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
In a large bowl mix the sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add eggs, milk, and melted butter. Beat well. Add 3 cups of the flour, beating until blended. Add one more cup of flour and beat well. The dough should be soft and sticky but firm enough to handle. If you feel it's necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
Remove your dough from the fridge and begin heating oil 360F in your deep fryer. Working half the dough at a time, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/2" thickness. Cut out circles using a doughnut cutter or large biscuit or cookie cutter. Peel out donuts and place them in the fryer basket, then slowly lower them into the fryer. Flip them over as they puff and turn them a couple more times as they cook. They will take about 2-3 minutes in total and will be lovely and golden brown all over.
Remove from the oil and set them on paper towels, then place them into a brown bag and add the cinnamon-sugar coating. Shake gently to cover them.