PROS / This deep fryer has the longest warranty of all of the deep fryers in our lineup.
CONS / It can only handle ¾ lb. of food at once.
VERDICT / Although smaller in capacity, the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer reaches peak temperature quickly and maintains heat as well as the best deep fryers we tested. It can’t handle as much food at once, but this fryer works well for those who don’t have a lot of space or many mouths to feed.
A smaller sized deep fryer can still perform admirably next to the bigger units as the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer proved. This is the smallest deep fryer in our lineup, but it quickly heats up and fries food to golden crispiness. We put it to the same tests as the rest of the deep fryers we evaluated and found that the Cuisinart earns its rank as one of the best deep fryers. We have given it the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
As long as you don't overload the Cuisinart with too much food – it can only handle about 3/4 lb. of food at one time – you shouldn't have any trouble producing crispy, delicious fried chicken, doughnuts and French fries. We poured the maximum amount of oil into the vat and turned the knob to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the ready light indicated the oil was the right temperature, we double-checked the temperature with a thermometer of our own and found the oil had only reached 370 degrees F. It wasn't going to get any hotter, so we conducted our tests.
Our team of taste testers tried the fries and chicken and compared them to other fryers' results; we found that the Cuisinart's fried chicken and French fries just didn't get as crispy. The fries and chicken were still a hit, though, because they tasted great. So, the oil gets hot enough to avoid the greasiness that too-cool oil can cause, but it wasn't hot enough to create a perfect crust.
Although the wattage on this machine is quite a bit lower than its competitors, a higher wattage isn't necessary because the unit is so small. In fact, when we added frozen or raw food to this Cuisinart deep fryer, it returned to its original temperature setting quicker than most of the deep fryers on our list.
We had no trouble at all figuring out how to use this deep fryer – it's pretty self-explanatory. Clean up is easy, too, though less convenient than other deep fat fryers we have in our lineup. You still have to find a way to filter and store the leftover oil, but there's less of it, and perhaps you won't want to save it at all. The oil vat is made with nonstick material, so cleaning it is simple.
The power and ready lights are useful, of course, because you won't have to guess at when it's time to add food. A viewing window can be helpful for you to see whether your food is ready to come out of the fryer, that is, if the window doesn't fog up from the steam.
The outside panels of this deep fryer get hotter than some of the other units we tested, but not so hot as to present an issue. The lid that closes over the oil vat not only protects your clothes from oil splatter, it shields your kitchen and floor from being covered in slick oil and, more importantly, prevents oil burns. The magnetic breakaway cord and skid-resistant feet both help prevent disasters – the cord can be pulled away from the unit quickly to cut off the power source, and the rubber feet keep the unit on your countertop.
Warranty & Support
The Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer offers the longest warranty of all of the deep fryer manufacturers we feature on our list. If you find that your electric deep fryer is defective within three years of buying it, you can send it back to the manufacturer for repairs or a replacement, depending on what the company decides. In addition to the user manual, you can also find a demo video on Cuisinart’s website. The company also offers customer care by email and phone.
Bigger isn't always better – the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer holds less oil and can handle less food at once than its larger competitors, but it heats up quickly and maintains heat very well. It's easy to clean and a fairly safe unit that has the longest warranty of all the deep fryers in our lineup.