Deep Fryers Review
How to Choose a Deep Fryer
The top performers in our review are the Waring Professional Deep Fryer, the Gold Award winner; the Breville Smart Fryer, the Silver Award winner; and Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a deep fryer to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 products.
Professional deep fryers aren’t practical for the home – although they're accurate, sturdy, and reliable, they're too big and expensive for occasional use. The deep fryers we evaluated are small enough to use on a countertop, and they all get hot enough to produce French fries that are crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. The best deep fryer includes helpful features, like adjustable thermostats, so you can fry at lower or higher temperatures, and they reach the maximum temperature setting quickly. Moreover, they recover temperatures swiftly after you've added frozen or raw food to the oil, which can briefly lower the temperature of the oil.
Frying food isn't the healthiest option, but it is delicious and can be enjoyed occasionally in conjunction with a balanced diet. The key to frying food that is crisp, golden brown and not greasy is the temperature. You need a deep fryer that can reach the proper temperature ideal for frying – between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit – and that can recover its temperature quickly after you add food. Deep fryers with adjustable thermostats and digital displays take a lot of guesswork out of frying. Some of the best deep fryers include timers, too, so you get perfectly fried food every time.
One of the biggest concerns about deep fat fryers is safety. We chose several models that have closeable lids and encase the hot oil and food, keeping oil splatter to a minimum. All of the fryers on our list include breakaway power cords that are intended as a fail-stop to prevent a dangerous situation from quickly becoming a disaster.
If the worst happens and you have a grease fire, you need to remove the heating source immediately – which is why a magnetic power cord is so helpful. Also, remember to never use water on a grease fire. If you can smother the flame using another pot or baking pan, you can try that, or use baking soda on the fire. And if the fire does get out of control, leave your house and call 911.
Alternatives to deep fryers include the classic combination of a Dutch oven, oil and a thermometer, and an electric or gas burner as the heating source. Another popular way of deep frying food is in a wok. When you want to deep fry large pieces of meat, like a turkey for the holidays, or if you want to have a fish fry in your backyard, you need a larger vessel, so you should look into buying a turkey fryer. And when you’re ready to experiment with smoking meats, you want to get the best meat smoker available, so be sure to read about the ones we recommend.
One of the latest trends in frying is the air fryer, or oil-free fryers. The way air fryers work is by using hot air that circulates around the food, cooking it and crisping it up, using little to no oil. Do they actually fry food? We tested the Philips Airfryer, the De'Longhi Multifry and the Avalon Bay Airfryer. Find out more about these air fryers and our results, and more about deep frying in our articles on deep fryers.
Deep Fryers: What We Tested, What We Found
Ideally, you want very hot oil to deep fry foods, and you want a deep fryer that not only reaches high temperatures but maintains those temperatures too. Once you immerse raw or cold food into hot oil, the overall temperature of the vat of oil drops. Deep fryers that quickly boost the power back up to the proper temperature are the best and what you want for your fried chicken, doughnuts and French fries. In addition to high performance, you also want a deep fryer that's easy to clean once you're done. Some deep fryers include containers for storing oil, while others have drains or spouts to make maintenance quick.
We tested each deep fryer with small batches of food, such as breaded chicken strips and fresh-cut potatoes for French fries. Once we added the vegetable oil to each deep fryer, plugged in the machine and turned it on, we started a timer. The sooner you can get to frying foods, the sooner you can get to eating them, so those units that reached 350 degrees Fahrenheit the fastest received more credit in its final score. After adding food to the deep fryer, we noted how long each device took to return to the proper temperature, which the more quickly it can recover its heat, the better your food will turn out. On average, the deep fryers in our lineup returned to the peak temperature setting in about five-and-a-half minutes.
Each fried food test we conducted was under similar circumstances: the same amount of chicken – 6 ounces – and the same amount of raw potatoes – one medium unpeeled russet potato – the same temperature, and the same amount of time, unless the food was underdone and had to go back in to finish cooking. Of course, we taste-tested each batch and judged the crispiness and flavor of the food from each deep fryer. The results are reflected in the final scores in our matrix.
An adjustable thermostat is important, because if you can control the temperature, you won't have to play a guessing game and wonder whether your food will turn out soggy and greasy or burnt and overdone. It's worth noting the capacity of each deep fryer for oil and food, because the larger the frying vat is and the more food you can fit in it to cook at once, the faster the overall process.
Deep frying food isn't exactly complicated – you heat oil to a high temperature and throw food in to cook. However, there are various factors you need to keep track of as you're deep frying food, and having a deep fat fryer that lets you know when it's ready or when your food is done cooking can make the whole process easier. Those that required the least amount of effort to prepare and included easy-to-understand instructions received more credit than those units that were more difficult to get going.
Another important factor is the maintenance of the machine. Once you're done cooking, the used oil has to go somewhere – and you need to clean up the mess. Those that didn't fling oil were easy and quick to clean up, because of removable heating coils, were scored higher than those that made cleaning a major chore.
Other features, like a basket (or two or three) for the food and a viewing window so you can see what you’re cooking, were also considered in our final scores.
What Else Is Important in Choosing a Deep Fryer?
A little common sense can go a long way when you're considering safety while frying food, but some deep fryers that employ certain features that act as precautions can make the task safer. We also looked at the length of warranty and support that each manufacturer offers.
Regardless of how safe you're being as you fry foods, it might slip your mind that the machine you're working with is hot. As innocuous as the exterior siding may look, it could be hot enough to the touch to burn your hand. The deep fryers that include cool-to-the-touch sides and handles were given higher scores than those whose exterior temperatures were higher. The lowest exterior temperature we registered was 109 degrees F on the Waring Professional DF55 Mini Deep Fryer, and the highest temp was 360 degrees F on the Presto GranPappy.
The best deep fryers have lids that cover the hot oil and food while cooking, preventing grease splattering all over your kitchen – and you. We found that these machines allowed enough steam to escape through vents on the top while also containing the oil in the vat.
Magnetic breakaway cords offer a quick way to remove the heating source should things go awry and you need to deal with a grease fire, so we considered this safety feature in the final score. And rubber feet can mean the difference between a vessel of hot oil firmly staying on the countertop or being knocked off the counter and onto your feet.
Warranty & Support
Getting a lemon of a deep fryer is a possibility, so it's important that your new appliance come with a good warranty to protect you from defective parts and labor. We checked out the guarantee on each deep fryer and those that offer the longest warranty were given more credit.
Manufacturers that offer various support – customer care and online user manuals – received higher rankings than those that only offered one or the other. And those that have instructional videos, whether it's showing you how to use your deep fryer or sharing safety tips or recipes, were ranked higher than those without.
Deep Fryers: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison on loan from some manufacturers and purchased other units. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to manufacturers in advance of publication.
After we fried just about any type of food worth throwing into hot oil and we cleaned up our mess, we gathered our test results and scored each one accordingly. The Waring Professional Deep Fryer took the top spot because of its large capacity, digital thermostat and timer. And frankly, everything that we fried in it came out crispy and delicious – so much so, that we opted to finish frying the leftovers after testing in this machine because of its excellent performance.
Other Noteworthy Choices
And although the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer is much smaller in capacity, meaning you have to fry several batches in this fryer compared to the best deep fryers in our lineup, it gave us tasty French fries and fried chicken. The smaller size, but high wattage meant that the oil recovered its heat faster than most of the deep fryers we tested, so your job of frying food should go quickly.
There are three low-priced deep fryers in our lineup that could easily meet your needs and your budget, including the Cuisinart deep fryer. The Presto ProFry doesn't have all the features the best deep fryers have, but if you simply want a decent-sized deep fryer that stays simple and gets extremely hot (we saw temperatures that exceeded 400 degrees F, which is uncommon), this may be the deep fat fryer for you. The Hamilton Beach Immersion Deep Fryer holds the same amount of oil as the Presto ProFry – 1.9 liters, or 8 cups – but it has an adjustable thermostat and a lid that covers the food as it cooks, so it's a safer option.
The T-Fal EZ Clean delivered impressive results too. It has a roomy vat for frying, and it produced especially crispy, moist, and delicious fried chicken strips. The features we liked the most though are the automatic oil filtration system, drain and storage option – it's all in the bottom of the fryer, so you don’t need a separate container to save the oil.
You can get the same performance out of the Waring Professional Mini Deep Fryer as our top pick, but it comes in a more compact package. We found it took longer to heat initially than most of the deep fryers we tested, but it recovered heat quickly because of its 1,500 watts and smaller size.
In the end, a deep fryer is about personal preference and getting one with the features you want. So, after comparing the best deep fryers above, be sure to read our deep fryer reviews to learn more in-depth about each fryer before you buy.