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Aug 29, 2004 10:14 PM

Is it possible to pressure fry at home?

  • d

Most people know that one of the "secrets" to KFC (personally, I'm a fine of the stuff) is the fact that they fry it in a pressure cooker. Now, an industrial pressure fryer is a pretty scary thing to have in the house. In theory, presumably frying in a normal pressure cooker would accomplish the same thing, but the whole process sounds somewhat dangerous, because you have no real way of knowing how hot the oil is getting.

Does anyone know a way to pressure fry at home? Or, is there a pressure cooker that has a thermometer built in, in addition to the pressure gauge?

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  1. Uh... Check it out.. I was asleep in physics, but I can't see what difference pressurizing oil would make.


    5 Replies
    1. re: SenorBeavis

      Wouldn't make any difference but, the problem is that in a normal pressure cooker you have no way of checking the temperature of the oil, which is essential for deep frying. That Kuroma device looks interesting but the cheapest one is 1200 pounds sterling!

      1. re: Dylan

        Unless you are incredibly rich, have a chicken restaurant, or just LOVE fried chicken, the pressure fryer doesn't seem very practical.

        1. re: Jim H.

          Coincidentally, I'm all three!

          1. re: Dylan

            So get a broaster, already.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I agree - Broasted is the way to go for the best pressure-fried chicken

    2. My father was famous for his fried chicken. Used a cast iron pan, used 1/2 inch shortening (before oil was invented)put in the chicken when shortening hot, browned on both sides, and (here's the trick) added a bit of water, turned the heat down as low as he could get, and covered with a tight lid. The chicken steamed for 5-10 minutes, removed lid, let chicken crisp up. It was the steaming, pressure or not, that was the secret.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Jim H.

        Adding water to hot oil? Didn't that cause an enormous amount of sputtering? Intriguing idea though.

        1. re: Dylan

          The website attached below mentions some pressure cooker models which are specifically designed for pressure frying. Its actually quite a useful website for pressure cooking generally. Magafesa and Fagor are both well-respected pressure cooker brands available on ebay auctions as well as elsewhere.


          1. re: jen kalb

            Thanks, great link. Good to know that if you want a pressure fryer + cooker you have to buy that specifically.

            Pressure frying still sounds kinda scary but I may try it...

          2. re: Dylan

            OK, OK. Wrong sequence. Turn down heat, THEN add water. Lid keeps splatter under control.

          3. re: Jim H.

            HI Jim, Since I'm not likely to buy a chicken frying machine, I'd like to fully understand your Dad's method. Did he flour the chicken pieces? Soak in buttermilk first?

            1. re: Pat Hammond

              As a matter of fact, my father had no secrets. Everyone in the family would stand by the stove and closely watch him, to get the technique. Few got it. He washed the chicken pieces on cold water, and salted. Left them for a half hour or so (in retrospect this probably was a type of brining). No buttermilk. Before shaking, he peppered the pieces, and shook in all purpose flour. Let pieces rest for about half hour. Put in skillet when fat was hot, and browned. Turned, and continued browning. Turned down heat, and added about 1/2 cup water (I use chicken broth). Covered, and steamed for 10-15 minutes. Removed cover, let chicken get crisp...drained on rack before serving. Made gravy from drippings. As an historical observation, my father insisted that this was NOT Southern fried chicken (his preference). Most of the family wanted the crispy stuff, but he insisted that Southern fried chicken was "smothered"...often with heavy cream. Either way was a treat. In those days, fried chicken was the Sunday special. To go from the ridiculous to the sublime, my mother would dice a leftover veal roast and pass it off as chicken salad.

              1. re: Jim H.

                Thank you, thank you, Jim! That's a post to cook by! As soon as the weather cools down, I'm going to try this. I like the idea of using broth instead of water for the steaming part. I have the perfect pan with a good fitting lid, too. pat

                1. re: Pat Hammond

                  Yes, I have taken down a copy of this as well. Thanks so much for the novel recipe. I assume we pour the water right into the oil, and not on top of the chicken? I'm still frightfully worried about massive spattering!

                  By the way- I assume that you are away shortening is pretty deadly stuff, much better off using a natural fat of some type.

                  1. re: Dylan

                    When I was little, it was Armour's lard...then Fluffo corn oil. It won't splatter much...if you are worried, place the lid over the pan, tip slightly, and pour.

                2. re: Jim H.

                  I believe I had chicken prepared exactly this way about 20 years ago (at a jazz club, brought by a fan who I couldn't later find to ask the recipe), only it wasn't totally crisped was sort of half crisp and half soggy (or, come to think of it, maybe it was crisp but had been transported to the club in a covered pan). I've been searching for something like it ever since. If I can only find a restaurant that cooks something like this.....


                  1. re: Jim Leff


                    I grew up on this stuff. My mom is from Louisville and her parents were from Sunfish; I always just assumed it was a regional Kentucky variation of fried chicken, as opposed to "Southern Fried". My family just called it fried chicken, though. The only difference is that we never added water, the chicken just steamed itself. I suspect that this is one of those things that you cook by 'feel'- to know when to cover, how low to set the temp., and when to crisp up, etc. (Mom and Grandma used Crisco, fwiw). Anyway, that texture that you describe is pretty much how it is if you don't eat it fresh out of the oil, but even then it is only marginally crisper, there's still a doughiness about the crust.

                    You may be able to find some if you're ever in Louisville, though I must confess that I have no experience in the matter- only homemade (as often as I've been there). I do, however, have spies in the field that I could ask if this isn't deemed a crazy suggestion.

              2. re: Jim H.

                You're not crazy Jim. Here's an official recipe detailing something similar -

              3. Wear-Ever used to make something called the Chicken Bucket pressure fryer. There were two sizes, 4 qt. and 6 qt. They have been discontinued but you can find use ones on ebay for around $30.

                There was some mention on another forum that they were discontinued because of the manufacturer's concerns about consumer safety with this product.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sam D.

                  The website I linked below strongly recommends against using the old Chicken Buckets both because safety concerns with the design and the unreliability of old gaskets (new are apparently not available)