Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Apr 2, 2008 05:49 AM

Need suggestions for a deep fryer

Would like to find a (relatively) small deep fryer for home use that is easy to use and to store. Any experiences out there?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Janet: Deep fried foods are not the most healthful but we got to have them now and then. To minimize fat absorbtion, the cooking oil must be at 350F to 375F. The electric home fryers I've used, tested or researched have the power to get oil that hot but none of them have the power to keep it there. Drop some shrimp in the Dilonghi (sp), for example, at 350F and the temp drops immediately to 275F and never gets back above 295F, if that. Two alternatives: For big jobs, the Lodge people make a heavy cast iron Dutch oven with a fitted basket for deep frying. Go Lodge. Or, for small stuff, use your wok and a little extra oil. Both work great since they allow you, the cook, to fire up the burner and get the oil quickly back to 350-375F. Practice with a thermometer until you get the hang of it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GeezerGourmet

      I totally agree, I have not found any home deep fryers that work well and are really worth the trouble. Additionally, they are almost impossible to keep clean. I have a cast iron Dutch oven I use for deep frying jobs, as you suggest, and it works very well. For smaller jobs I use a regular cast iron fry pan.

      1. re: GeezerGourmet

        I disagree, though not entirely. I've tested my Lodge dutch oven/stovetop against my Rival deep fryer, and the Rival recovers faster when large amounts (around 2 qts) of oil are involved. Is a wok better when using smaller amounts of oil? Absolutely, but don't try to make frites in a wok. I'm not totally happy with the fryer I have, but can't find one that is sure to be better. The only thing that seems to be important is the wattage of the heating element, which will be directly related to how fast the temperature recovers when you add whatever you are cooking. Look for a model rated at 1500 watts or more.

        The fryer I use is rated at 1500 watts and recovers really fast, but sadly, only comes up to a little over 350 F when set to 375 F. Not perfect, but from looking at various sites with customer reviews, no models consistently come up to the temperatures the manufacturers claim.

        1. re: Zeldog

          What the stovetop fryer fans are forgetting is just how finicky and potentially dangerous the deep frying process can be. There's a good reason why restaurant fryers have fire suppression systems.

          With a GOOD electric fryer and an understanding of how much food it can fry in a batch, you can just dump the food in and forget it as it cooks. This is not true when you use an ordinary pot, however good its temperature retention properties may be.

          I've relied on published reports when choosing models, but have still returned fryers that proved less than satisfactory. If temperature recovery was too slow, the usable capacity much less than claimed, or the ergonomics especially bad, back it went. I returned so many that I can't remember them all.

          I eventually settled on a model that's especially easy to use and clean (a T-Fal), though another model (a DeLonghi) actually produced marginally better results. This unit makes deep frying just another kind of cookery, rather than something requiring planning and a nasty cleaning process. Even though it isn't the best fryer I've used, the results are superior to what I'm served in most restaurants. The unit does heat to it's claimed temperature most of the time. This likely relates to the supplied voltage, which varies (per the UPS unit on my computer) between 110 and 123 volts.

          If I need absolute perfection, there's still my fryer pot. But very few foods justify the hassle of standing amidst oil fumes, watching the thermometer, and anticipating the ideal moment to fiddle with the temperature (and I use gas - electric requires even more concentration).

          I don't buy deep frying in a wok. That's great if you have a Chinese stove (many suburban Toronto houses apparently do) or a high output pro stove with a suitable adapter. On a regular stove, a wok does a lousy job and is inferior to normal North American cookware. This is both my personal experience and the experience of some well known, reputable testing organizations.

      2. Don't use one myself but ATK testers liked the Oster Immersion

        1. From the land of fried food, I think you should go with the tried-and-true: Fry Daddy, or Fry Baby if your family is small. Made by Presto, sold at big box stores, costs like $30. It is not covered, so you will have to deal with the smell & spatter, but if you place it in the center of your stove, it's no messier than any other cooking.

          Somebody gave me one of the Rival units, and I've used it twice--it takes lots of oil, is difficult to empty and clean, and it's hard to judge the doneness of foods under that cover. The little window fogs up.

          1. I found a Delonghi at Target on clearance for $12.... it's a newer model and seems to work very well. For that price, I can not feel guilty if it sits in the cabinet for an extended period of time.

            1. For small size: Presto Fry Baby
              For performance: DeLonghi Roto Fryer.
              For capacity and cleaning ease: T-Fal EZ Clean.

              If you fry too much food at once, the oil temperature will drop and ruin the food. This is true of any fryer.

              You can make great fried food in a heavy pot, but this is finicky and can be dangerous. A properly functioning electric fryer, used in a safe place (away from flammables) is MUCH less likely to cause a fire.

              The Fry Baby is simple and very small, but you can't adjust the temperature. This means it can't make really great French fries.

              The Roto Fryer is mechanically complicated, and expensive, but it fries small quantities very well in very little oil.

              The T-Fal EZ Clean is, as advertised, extremely easy to clean, and you can store the sealed oil container in the fridge for reuse. However, it is very large.

              2 Replies
              1. re: embee

                I found the Roto fryer online for about $100 with shipping. I think we have a winner. It looks like what I am looking for.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  I decided tonight I am fed up with my Roto Fryer. The first few years I would rave endlessly about it, but the basket mechanism sticks so bad now when I want to drop the basket that I am going out of my mind! I paid top dollar for it about 10 years ago, but I could have had a professional unit for about the same money I think. Wondering if any of you have changed your minds too in the interim.