You can make excellent fried chicken with the affordable Proctor Silex 35041 deep fryer, and with some experimentation, you can cook terrific French fries. However, this model comes with a small cooking basket, so you need to be careful to add only small amounts of food.
This compact deep fryer brought oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in six minutes and 35 seconds, which is the fastest heating time of any fryer we tested. It made good-tasting breaded chicken, but our tests yielded mixed results when we cooked French fries.
During our testing, we poured in oil to the maximum fill line, heated it and added the fries. It took only five minutes to cook the fries and many were “excellent,” according to our taste testers. They turned out a rich golden brown and were just the right amount of crispy on the outside with softer, well-cooked interiors – and a great taste.
However, there were inconsistencies with other batches. At times, some fries were dark in color and overcooked, while others were very light in color and undercooked, and still others were just right. Occasionally, a few fries were dark on one end and light on the other.
The problem seems to be the size of the fryer’s metal mesh basket, which measures 5.5 x 5.5 x 3.35 inches. This proved to be too small for long French fries and long pieces of breaded chicken. Fries cook better if there are few in the basket, maybe enough for one or two servings, or if you cut them a bit shorter and carefully arrange them so they are evenly distributed in the basket. If you want a compact, inexpensive fryer that creates more consistent results, try the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer CDF-100C.
With all deep fryers, the oil temperature drops temporarily after you add food, and the faster it returns to the correct temperature, the faster your food cooks. This Proctor Silex model excelled in this area, reheating the oil to the original 375-degrees in a mere three minutes and 50 seconds. That’s the second-fastest reheating time of the fryers we evaluated.
The fryer’s exterior reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cool compared to most of the models we tested. It comes with a splatter-free lid, so you don’t have to worry about hot oil splattering on you or your countertop. You also get a magnetic safety cord that quickly detaches to cut power to the machine.
However, it is missing a few helpful features, including a viewing window and a timer. This fryer also doesn’t have an oil drain, oil filter or oil storage container. Further, we were disappointed with the machine’s four “non-skid” feet, which only have tiny plastic circles on them.
The Proctor Silex 35041 is easy to clean. We washed the parts by hand, and since there aren’t very many, it didn’t take long. Also, the machine’s interior is made of non-stick material, so it is simple to clean. In addition, the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, which is handy.