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Deep Fryer Disappointment

So, I spent hours reading reviews, comparing prices, etc., to get the "right" deep fryer. I have been frying in a pot with oil and thermometer, and my biggest complaint with that was mess. I bought a Waring Pro DF250 and was SO excited. I chose it because it has a wide range of temperature choices (I like to blanch fries, and the TFAL EZ clean one only had four locked in temps), and it was a good size. Well, I ended up with soggy fries last night. It never got about 350 degrees! I was SOOOO sad (still kind of am). I am returning the thing to Amazon, and am now on the market for a new fryer. It seems though that, even when there are tons of positive reviews (the Waring only had one person say it didn't heat up enough), every fryer has at least one complaint about this issue. My question:

1. Is there an electric deep fryer for home use that heats up to 375 degrees. One that isn't enormous and costs less than $150.

2. If I go back to the pot, what pot, fryer basket, etc. should I buy. I'm currently using a big le creuset and a mesh strainer. It's a pain to get the oil back in the container and a BIG mess. I did just get a new funnel, and I like it.

Help?

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  1. Sorry about your disappointment, I think we've all been there at one time or another. On the rare occasions I fry, I use a Wagner chicken fryer. It's cast iron and certainly old school, and not at all expensive. The advantage in using CI in frying is that once it's hot, it retains the heat like nobody's business, and frying actually helps season the pan and makes it pretty close to non-stick. The major drawback is that it's quite heavy (like your LC). BTW, a lot of people who fry swear by keeping at least some of the old frying oil to season your next batch, as you probably already know

    1. I gave up on electric fryers 3 or 4 years ago. They pretty much always heat to about 25 degrees lower than what they claim. I suspect lawyers are involved (anyone who can confirm their fryer comes up to or exceeds the advertised maximum temperature, feel free to tell me I'm wrong).

      This is one situation where a copper pot will do the job better than anything else. I have one that's 7" wide by 6" deep (about 4 quarts capacity). Heats up and recovers fast, and a probe thermometer is the only other special equipment I need. If you can't find or don't want to pay extra for copper, look for a stainless or aluminum pot with similar dimensions. Depth is most important -- you want to be able to fill the pot half way and not worry about boiling over when you add the food.

      1. Dear Brittbabelsu,
        I ended up buying the Tfal, Emeril EZ clean fryer and I have to say I wasen't dissapointed, I expected to be and I wasen't sure of the temp controls either but it heats up to temp and is quick and easy and the self straining feature for the oil is great, it is also easy to take apart and clean so I would say give it a try, its weird to get used to the preset temperatures but it does work well I've cooked 5-6 things now and was happy with all of them, I'm sold on this fryer now.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tidecreek

          The question was is there a fryer that heats to 375F. When you say "up to temp" do you mean the red light came on, or did you use a thermometer to verify the temperature was 375F. If the latter, I'll buy one tomorrow. If not, I'll stay with my pot and thermometer for now.

        2. You might also want to consider an induction heating pad. The ones here in Japan have a function to maintain whatever temperature you specify, which is used for deep frying such as making tempura (my Panasonic goes up to 200 C = 390 F). To minimize the mess, you can place a couple of sheets of newspaper between the induction pad and the pot to catch oil drips. This really does work! I always put down newspapers when I fry pork chops in a cast iron skillet on my induction cooktop.

          Other advantages of getting an induction pad are that it has many other uses, is compact and easy to store, is very safe, and gives you another stove burner (or warmer) wherever you want it, even on the tabletop.

          1. Thanks for all of the replies! After much consideration, I think I'm going back to the pot and thermometer. I've had good success with it, and with the $100 bucks back from amazon, I can buy awesome frying gear (maybe a slightly smaller Le Creuset, which will weigh less). I considered the TFAL one, but MANY of the reviews said it didn't get to temperature (why I didn't buy it to begin with) AND the preset controls start at 325, which is WAY above my blanching temperature of 280 degrees. I'm kind of bummed (and not looking forward to boxing up this big ole fryer) but I learned a lesson.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Brittbabelsu

              It took me a while to figure out if I would opt with an electric deep fryer or stove-top deep frying. Ultimately, I picked up a nice Lodge cast iron that I can use as a fryer or dutch oven. I am not excited about the drain issues but feel like I get the best control, price, and durability with the cast iron deep fryer.

              1. re: Brittbabelsu

                FWIW, I am fortunate to have a Bluestar range that in turn has gas grates that are ideal to use with a wok. I have found that, with this set up, a wok makes a perfect fryer. I have basic 14" Chinese steel woks, and fry in them all the time. You need much less oil than in normal western-style equipment (I use maybe 1/3 full, and due to shape that is maybe 1/8 of the capacity of the wok), the heat responsiveness is great, and the wide top of the wok helps prevent boilovers. If your stove has high heat capability and you can get a steel wok that fits it well, try it.

                1. re: johnb

                  Thank you all for the great replies. I just sent back the Waring Pro (amazon has a great return system, BTW). The Wok idea is very intriguing, as I have a gas range with a high burner. But, I rent and don't know that it will always be this way. A friend suggested I put shortening in the fryer, but that sounds a little dangerous, and I like the light crispy taste of frying (don't get me wrong, lard is good too. I am still hoping someone will post with a "My fryer totally gets to 375" but I doubt it will happen.

                  1. re: Brittbabelsu

                    The Magimix Fryers are rated above 190ÂșC if it helps; not sure if you can get them in the states though.

                    1. re: pass

                      What does everyone think of this as a fryer:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Presto-06000-Ki...

                      Looks easy, cheap. and it heats to 400 degrees. The reviews are awesome.

                      Thoughts?

                      1. re: Brittbabelsu

                        Interesting -- a simple electric pot. If they claim 400 maybe it will actually reach 375. I don't want another small appliance, but I'm tempted to order one and check the temperature just to see if it really performs up to spec.

                        1. re: Zeldog

                          The reviews were pretty stellar, and it's only 25 bucks at Wal-mart (BTW). I think we're going to try it. If it doesn't work, I'll send it back. But, oddly, it seems logical (and it's pretty cheap).

                          1. re: Brittbabelsu

                            Bought the electric pot (24.88 at Wal-Mart). It didn't quite heat to 375, but to 370. Nonetheless, we got crunch fries, and for 25 bucks, I think we'll keep it as it also slow cooks and steams and stuff. It says you can put it in the dishwasher. I wouldn't. It also seems a bit dangerous (the heating thing gets kind of hot), but overall, I'm pleased. The basket was nice and way easy to use. I wouldn't fry chicken in it, but for simple stuff, it was great.

                              1. re: gfweb1

                                about 4 quarts maybe a little less. It's the size of a fry daddy. Not huge like the more expensive deep fryer, but OK for my needs (It's me and hubby).

                                They make a 6 quart stainless model as well.