You can make delicious fried chicken and French fries with the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer CDF-100C. However, you need to be careful not to overload it with too much food – it can handle only about 3/4 pounds of food at a time. If you cook for big groups and need a large-capacity deep fryer, take a look at the Presto DualDaddy.
During our tests, 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 it with a thermometer of our own and found the oil had only reached 370 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn't going to get any hotter, so we continued testing.
Our team of taste testers tried the fries and chicken we made in the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer and compared them those made in other deep fryers; we found that the Cuisinart's fried chicken and French fries just didn't get as crispy. They were still a hit, though, because they tasted great and were properly moist and thoroughly cooked – just the exterior was a bit wanting. Essentially, the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer gets oil hot enough that food isn’t greasy, a problem too-cool oil can cause, but it doesn’t get hot enough to create an absolutely perfect crust.
This fryer uses only 1,000 watts, which is quite a bit less than its competitors. However, a higher wattage isn't necessary because the appliance is so small. In fact, when we added food to the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer, it returned to its original temperature setting in just three minutes, which is the second fastest time of the models we tested.
We had no trouble figuring out how to use this deep fryer – it's self-explanatory. Clean up is easy, too, though less convenient than with other deep fryers we tested. With this Cuisinart model, you must find a way to filter and store the leftover oil. However, since it holds just 1.1 liters of oil, there's less of it to deal with, and perhaps you won't want to save it at all. The oil vat is made of nonstick material, so cleaning it is simple. There is also a charcoal filter on top that helps trap cooking oils. It is removable and washable, so you can reuse it.
The fryer’s power and ready lights are useful because you don't have to guess whether the oil is hot enough to add food. It also has a viewing window so you can see whether your food is ready to come out of the fryer – that is, if the window doesn't fog up from the steam.
At 133 degrees Fahrenheit, this deep fryer’s outside panels get hotter than those on some of the other models we tested, though not hot enough to create a safety hazard. The lid closes over the oil vat to protect your clothes from oil splatter, to keep your kitchen and floor clean, and more importantly, to prevent oil burns. In addition, the appliance’s magnetic breakaway cord and skid-resistant feet help prevent disasters – the cord can pull away from the unit to quickly to cut off the power, and the rubber feet keep the fryer on your countertop.
Cuisinart includes a three-year warranty with its Compact Deep Fryer. That’s the longest manufacturer warranty we found on a home deep fryer.