PROS / This fryer offers preset frying times and temperatures.
CONS / Cleaning the fryer took more effort than most of the units in our lineup.
VERDICT / The Breville Smart Fryer combines the convenience of preset frying times and temperatures with accurate and consistent heat to make one of the best home deep fryer units we've used. It has all the safety features you would want in a deep fryer too.
The Breville Smart Fryer is unique among its competition because of its convenient presets for time and temperature for frying specific foods. It also heats oil to the proper temperature every time, and it recovers the temperature quicker than most of the deep fat fryers we tested. This is one of the best deep fryers we've used, and it produced crispy, delicious food every time. We awarded the Breville Smart Fryer the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.
Although the Breville Smart Fryer didn't produce the best fried chicken and fries, it came close – and with a bit more experimentation of temperatures and times, we managed to find a sweet spot with this unit. Following the same testing methodology we used for all of the other electric deep fryers in our lineup, the chicken came out crispy and flavorful. The moisture level was near perfect.
In our French fries test, though, the testers were split on the Breville Smart Fryer. Though the fries were not nearly as crunchy as they were from other deep fryers, they were more thoroughly cooked. So, the inside of each French fry was slightly creamy and fluffy, and the outside was golden brown and crispier. Using the presets "1st Fry" and "2nd Fry," we found that that temperature on the second fry wasn't high enough to really get the fries crispy – but, not everyone likes crispy fries. Also, the Breville Smart Fryer has a manual setting, so you can adjust the temperature and timer however you'd like (up to 400 degrees F, anyway).
We started a timer when we turned on the unit and began prepping food to be fried. What surprised us was that only nine minutes later, the fryer was ready – and we barely finished drying our cut potatoes. That is the fastest a fryer has been ready for us to use in any of our tests. After the first few batches of frying, we noted how long it took the fryer to return to 375 degrees F, and were surprised to see it only took three minutes to recover its initial temperature. This means you can keep frying batch after batch and hardly miss a beat. The oil doesn't cool down so much that you would have to worry about having greasy fries or dry meat.
This deep fryer holds nearly four liters of oil, so you have plenty of room to fry foods. The basket is on the small side, though, so you can only fry up to 2.3 pounds of food at once – but that's the equivalent of five servings of chicken.
The Breville Smart Fryer isn't difficult to use, really, but it does have a learning curve. The presets are meant to make frying easier, but you need to get used to the controls. The knob allows you to select and scroll through the menu of presets, the timer and the thermostat. Once you have it figured out, though, it's just a matter of pressing the start button and adding your food once the fryer dings at you.
Cleaning fryers isn't a fun task for anyone. Draining the oil wasn't particularly difficult, but Breville didn't make it much easier than simply pouring it out into a readied container. All of the parts, with the exception of the power cord and the heating element, can be tossed into a dishwasher, but we washed everything by hand. We had to clean each piece twice to get rid of the oil slick. Also, the basket's weave seemed to be rougher than other deep fryers' baskets, so sponges and other materials snagged on the metal often.
All of the convenient features you'd expect on a home deep fryer are included on the Breville Smart Fryer. The LCD display lights up when your plug the fryer in, and you get an indication when the fryer is ready to use. The timer keeps track of the time elapsed and lets you know when frying is finished. There's a viewing window, though we never found these useful – they fog up almost immediately and don't clear enough for you to see the frying food.
Of all the deep fryers in our lineup, this one registered the lowest external temperature at only 90 degrees F. The immersion-style heating element means that the exterior of the fryer doesn't get as hot as older models. The vented lid prevents oil splatters around your kitchen – and on you. Although the magnetic safety cord can be frustrating if it keeps getting knocked off of its seating, it's an excellent safety precaution – if there's a fire, you can cut the power source almost immediately.
Warranty & Support
Breville doesn't offer the best warranty for deep fryers that we've seen, but for a year your purchase is guaranteed to be free of defects – in parts or labor. You can find the user manual in digital format on Breville's website, along with guides to help you learn all about your deep fryer.
If frying food is new to you, the Breville Smart Fryer makes it simple and easy to get started with its preset times and temperatures for specific foods. It also heats up faster and more accurately than any of the other deep fryers we've used. Although it was a bit more difficult to clean than others, we think this is one of the best deep fryers for home use.