We’re going deep fry crazy over here at The Eat Down – we’ve been making our own falafel, fritters and fries for weeks now, and you can do the same with a deep fryer.
These wondrous devices range in price from under $20 to almost $200. But where to start when looking for the best deep fryer?
You don’t want to be stuck with an item with irritating flaws, so here’s our guide to the 5 best deep fryers to help you get the most bang for your buck.
There aren’t many people who don’t love a fried meal now and then. There’s something about that crispy, crunchy coating that is comfort food at its best. It’s easy to find fried fish, meat, potatoes and veggies at restaurants, but what if you want to prepare them for yourself at home? Buying a deep fryer easily solves this problem, but with so many choices on the market, it can be difficult to find the one that works best for you. Before buying a deep fryer, consider the attributes that make it a good choice or not.
Most home chefs want a compact and convenient deep fryer that they can easily store when not in use. You can find these at many home goods stores or department stores. Your basic model allows for tossing foods into the oil, then using a spoon or spatula to remove them before eating. However, there are some much better models out there that streamline the frying process and give you perfectly fried foods each time you use it.
Before you go to the store to shop for a deep fryer, consider where you’ll store it. You may even want to measure that space so you can be sure the one you choose fits. Consider whether you want to reuse oil or not. If you are on a low-fat diet, you might want to look at air fryers in addition to the traditional ones.
Safety is of the utmost importance when using a deep fryer. Hot oil can cause devastating burns to the body or damage to the kitchen. If you have small kids, you need to look for those with an automatic shut-off, detachable cord and a guard to prevent splatters or spills. Non-slip feet prevent the unit from being pulled off the counter.
Another thing to consider before making your choice is the care and maintenance of the unit. You want one that is easy to take apart and wash and that doesn’t require a lot of time and effort maintaining it. A look at the owner’s manual will help you decide whether the care of the fryer is worth it.
These are the major considerations of buying a deep fat fryer:
How much food do you plan on frying at one time? This is an important question to ask yourself before you buy a deep fryer. If you have a large family and need to prepare large amounts of food for one meal, you will obviously need a deep fryer with a much bigger food capacity than if you prepare meals for just one or two people. A fryer that’s too small will require cooking several batches, which lengthens the cooking time. The average family needs a deep fryer that has a 12-cup capacity, while a 6-cup capacity is ideal for two or three people. If you want to deep fry a whole chicken or turkey, be sure there is space to fit the entire bird inside.
Adjustable Temperature Settings
Some foods require a higher temperature for adequate frying than others. For example, deep fried mushrooms cook quickly and at a lower temperature than do a batch of homemade French fries. The ideal frying temperature for most foods is 375 degrees but having an adjustable temperature setting means you can make changes up or down, as needed. This boosts the versatility of your deep fryer and opens up more options for using it, from frying vegetables to fish to chicken.
There’s nothing worse than overly fried foods or those that are burned. For that reason, a timer is a valuable tool to look for on a deep fryer. You can set the timer, based on what you’re cooking, so that you have perfectly fried foods each and every time. Look for a timer that has a broad range of settings so that you can use it for flash frying and for frying foods that take longer, such as a whole turkey. The alert that the timer emits allows you to focus on other tasks while you wait for the frying time to elapse.
Using an oil filter on your deep fryer allows you to use the oil more than once. The filter works to remove debris and left behind foods so that your oil is clean for several uses. Not all deep fryers have an oil filter so if you plan to use yours a lot, it makes sense to ensure that you can get the most out of your oil. The filter will need maintenance so be sure it’s easy to remove and replace as needed. A charcoal filter will help remove some of the scent left behind when you fry foods while also filtering the oil itself after each use.
The food bucket is the actual part of the fryer where you’ll place the items to be fried before dipping them into the oil. Most fryers feature a basket type bucket that allows the oil to get in between all the items and fry them evenly and quickly. Choosing a food basket with a handle makes it easy and convenient to remove the foods from the hot oil when they are finished cooking. Make sure it’s a cool grip handle to prevent burns. Hooks on the fryer makes it easy to keep the basket above the oil so that it can drain before removing the fried foods. A rotating basket is ideal for larger items and helps ensure even cooking, while also using less oil. A non-stick food bucket is easier to clean and prevents your foods from sticking to the sides during the frying process.
Most experts will tell you that you shouldn’t run hot oil down your kitchen drain. When it congeals in the sewer, you could be looking at clogs and backups that are going to cost you money. That’s why having a drain on your fryer is so handy. You can open it up when it’s time to dispose of the oil and simply let it run into a trash container so it can be taken care of properly. You want a drain that is easy to access and easy to open and close.
It’s not often at The Online Grill that we feel we need to address safety – all kitchen appliances needed to be used sensibly – but with deep fryers it’s especially important to be careful.
The best fryers will feature a ‘cool wall’ body. These act as a breaker, stopping the red-hot heat from the appliance’s interior burning you. Likewise, the best models will have a viewing window, allowing you to keep an eye on the progress of your food without having to open it up and risk exposing you to boiling oil.
Other key safety features are an auto-switch-off, to prevent the fryer overheating, and a locking lid to prevent any excruciatingly hot oil or steam harming you. Perhaps most importantly though is a breakaway power cord, which will detach from the fryer if anyone trips on or catches the cord. We can’t emphasize enough just how important this feature is.
Now for the least fun part of deep frying: Cleaning up. It’s important to keep ease of cleaning at the forefront of your mind when shopping around simply because a clean fryer won’t allow your food to be flavored by left-over and old grease.
The easiest appliances to clean will be the ones with removable and dishwasher-safe parts. Not only this, but we recommend looking for fryers that have drainage tubes or oil compartments, which will help you drain any residual oil away.
Temperature ControlIt goes without saying that different foods need different cooking temperatures, and the best air fryers will be able to accommodate this.
Cheap models will only have an on/off switch, or low-medium-high settings, which can be quite frustrating to use. However, high quality appliances will allow you much wider scale to operate within, giving you much greater control over the precise temperature within your food cooks. Usually this comes in the form of an adjustable thermostat with a digital display, offering you far greater versatility.
#1. T-fal FR8000 Ultimate EZ Clean Easy
Heading our list is this model from T-fal. It’s a single basket fryer, but the 3.5 liters of volume that it offers gives you plenty of room to play with. It’s also a powerful beast, giving you a quick heat-up time.
Not only this, but it has an immersion heating system that retains heat for longer, making it far more power-efficient than other models.
Us lazy folks here at The Online Grill love anything that takes the hassle out of cooking, so we’re relieved to hear that everything besides the power cord and control unit is dishwasher washable. It also has a brilliant oil filtration system that makes cleanup simple.
#2. Secura Triple Basket Electric Deep Fryer
This impressive deep fryer from Secura offers enough cooking capacity for two side-by-side baskets, or one large one. Not only this, but it boasts an incredible 1700 watts of power and 4.2 liters of cooking volume.
On top of this, it comes with an oil tank for easy clean-up, and an automatic shut-off feature to help you avoid overcooking your food.
#3. Hamilton Beach
Ever present when it comes to kitchen appliances, Hamilton have yet again delivered a top of the range product that ranks among the very best.
This deep fryer offers the choice of either 2 or 3 basket capacity, and hosts a respectable 3 liters of volume. It features easy-to-use temperature and timer controls, and is simple to take apart for easy cleaning. What more could you want?
#4. Hamilton Beach Professional Cool Touch
It should come of no surprise that Hamilton has two products in our list, and it’s with good reason: They consistently make the best kitchen appliances.
Unlike the 3-liter version above, this one has a more modest 2 liters of volume, allowing one simple basket to be placed inside it. While this might seem to dwarfed by its brother in terms of capacity, it is by no means inferior in performance. Make no mistake, this is a powerful cooker!
The perfect option if you cooking for single people or small groups.
#5. Proctor Silex
Rounding off our top 5 is this compact version from Proctor Silex. It’s the smallest in our list at 1.5 liters, making it ideal for preparing individual portions of food.
Despite its modest size, it has a great temperature control gauge, and comes easy to assemble and therefore take apart for cleaning. It might be compact, but it’s a sturdy appliance and completely safe to use. Great for first timers