An air fryer is a good low fat alternative to the deep fryer. However, if you really wish to have the deep crunch of traditional deep fried food, then the deep fat fryer is the preferred option. You’ll still have to do deep fat frying at home.
Yes, for certain old style favorites such as deep fried oreos, you will still have to do it the traditional way – deep frying in hot oil.
If you love the crispy restaurant deep fried food but not the expensive prices, then it’s high time you get your very own electric deep fat fryer for home use.
Do you crave crispy and fluffy homemade fries? I certainly do! It’s time to check out the best deep fryers for home use.
But first, what are the tips for successful deep frying at home?
Tips For Successful Deep Frying
What Is Deep Frying?
When food is submerged into hot oil at its optimal frying temperature, the surface of the food cooks instantly, sealing in juices and preventing oil from seeping inside the food. The moisture inside the food changes to steam, steaming the food from the surface inwards.
That is why getting the frying temperature correct is essential for successful deep frying.
Disclosure: I may be compensated through the links in the post below but at no extra cost to you. The opinions are my own
1) Type of Oil
Using the right type of oil is important and does make a big difference. You need to use oil with a high smoke point. An unrefined oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil, is recommended.
When oil reaches its smoke point, it starts to break down resulting in a foul odor or flavor.
Peanut, safflower and soybean oil have a high smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some people are allergic to peanut oil.
Avocado oil has a very high smoke point at 520 degrees F but is considered too expensive for deep frying.
Rice bran oil with its neutral flavor and high smoke point of 490 degrees F is another recommended oil for your deep fryer.
If using breadcrumbs, do take note that they do affect the quality of the oil and can cause oil to deteriorate quickly.
Never season your food with salt before deep frying. The salt will lower the quality of the oil and affect its flavor as well as reduces its reusable life span. Sprinkle salt on the fried food only after removing them from the hot oil.
Always filter your used oil before storing. This will prolong its usage as well as improve the flavor and quality of your fried food. (Do check the video below showing you how to filter, clean and store your used oil for future uses)
With deep frying at home, you can control the flavor as well as the freshness of the oil.
2) Temperature control
Wait for the oil to reach 350 degrees F before you start frying. This allows for a crispy exterior and less oil-absorbed interior. This also results in less oil used.
Always ensure that the oil does not get too hot (above 400 degrees F). Hot oil can cause a fire easily. Besides, frying at temperature higher than 400 degrees F causes the oil to break down faster. This shortens its re-use life span.
When oil is smoking hot, then you need to shut off/lower down the heat/gas for the oil to cool down.
Maintain the oil at between 325 – 375 degrees F throughout the frying process.
Deep fry in smaller batches. Do not overcrowd the fryer as this will lower the oil temperature too much. Besides not getting the desired crust, the food can get greasy and soggy if the oil takes a while to get back to the optimal frying temperature. This is because when the oil temperature is below 325 degrees F, the oil starts to seep into the food.
A good guide would be to fill the basket 1/2 full only for better oil circulation.
You can only test the internal temperature of the fried food after removing it from the hot oil. Cooked internal temperature of poultry is 165 degrees F and as for fish/shellfish, it is 145 degrees F.
3) Types Of Cookware/Appliances For Deep Frying
You can buy a specialized thermostat-controlled home deep fat fryer with 1, 2 or 3 frying baskets or you can use a deep, heavy skillet/wok/pot with frying basket/chip pan.
According to the USDA, try to avoid using cast iron as oil breaks down faster in a cast iron cookware compared to other metals.
A thermostat controlled electric deep fryer ensures that the oil does not overheat to the point of starting a fire.
Some of the indoor electric deep fryers come with oil filtration system. These type of fryers automatically drain and filter the used oil.
If pouring out and filtering the used oil has put you off deep frying, then you should check out the self filtering deep fryer. It might just make you change your mind about deep frying at home.
Outdoor deep fryers are normally fueled by propane tanks and have larger capacities compared to the more compact indoor electric deep fat fryers.
The outdoor fryer is great for frying in bulk or for larger food items such as frying a whole turkey, lobsters etc.
The oil free outdoor turkey fryer is great for those into low fat meals.
Features Of A Good Home Electric Deep Fat Fryer
The modern domestic electric deep fryer features at least one basket that you can raise or lower into the hot oil.
Double or triple baskets deep fryer allows for different foods to be fried at the same time.
It comes with useful features such as a built in timer, oil filter, oil filtration system, temperature control, a good ventilation system for preventing frying odors, convenient pour spout for used oil, easy cleaning whereby all parts can be disassembled for machine wash, see-through lid etc.
These features add to the convenience and ease of use of the deep frying machine. However, not all fryers come with all of these features.
The deep fryer with drain spout or removable oil container makes cleaning easier compared to the deep fryer without these features.
The deep fat fryer is not your every day use item, but nevertheless handy to have around for the occasional deep frying urge. It is certainly safer than your chip pan.
Advantages Of Deep Frying
Nowadays, everyone is more health conscious especially about excess fat intake and blocked arteries.
Like everyone else, you would have associated deep frying with excess fat intake. However, deep fat frying at home does have its advantages.
Deep frying cooks food fast, just taking minutes and even seconds.
The hot oil quickly seals in the juices, preventing excess oil from permeating the interior of the food as well as preventing moisture in the food from escaping out into the oil.
Deep frying a turkey takes about 3 – 3.5 minutes per pound of the bird whereas roasting in the oven takes about 20 minutes per pound of the bird.
The hot oil quickly seals in the juices of the food resulting in a moist and juicy interior. The exterior of the fried food is crispy and the interior is tender, moist and delectable.
Deep frying adds texture to soft foods such as eggplants. These get a flavorful crunchy batter coated exterior.
Take for example chicken. Chicken baked in the oven does not really have a crispy skin and has meat that is more dry compared to the juicy fried chicken.
Great For Party Foods
You can deep fry a large amount of food fast.
You can deep fry a large variety of food, appetizers, desserts such as onion rings, fish fingers, fried chicken cutlets, French fries etc in a most efficient and fast way.
Disadvantages Of Deep Frying
Excess Oil Intake?
When done correctly, your delicious fried food shouldn’t be dripping with oil.
Submerged the food into the hot oil when the correct optimal temperature has been reached (350 degrees F). This ensures rapid sealing of the exterior. Moisture inside the food heats up and cooked it by steaming inwards.
Remove the fried food as soon as it is cooked as any delay will result in oil seeping into the food.
Overcrowding of food in the hot oil will result in the temperature lowering below optimal frying point. Food would end up soggy and greasy.
However, the crispy golden batter crust would be oily. Drain the excess oil on paper towels. If using the electric deep fryer with frying basket, you can raise the basket and let the oil drips out.
Scalds, Burns and Fire
If not handled properly and carefully, deep frying can cause scalds, burns or even a fire.
Never leave the fryer unattended. Make use of a deep fry thermometer if the fryer you use does not have thermostat control.
Some deep fryers come with lids which help in minimizing oil splatters.
Cleaning up is also easier.
Strong Smell Of Frying Lingers
The smell of fried food permeates the whole house.
Electric deep fryers with odor filters help reduce the smell of frying.
Video On How To Filter Deep Fryer Oil Manually