No longer do you have to depend on fast food chains to have your favorite chicken wings, fish and chips, etc. Compact deep fryers have made deep-frying safe and convenient. Let’s take a look at the different aspects that need to be taken into consideration before purchasing one.
Deep fryers are safer than chip or frying pans. Besides preventing the oil from splattering all over the place, they also fry food to a crunchy crisp, within a matter of minutes.
We’ve all been deep-frying food in simple, deep-bottomed, nonstick pans. However, problems like difficult-to-clean oil splatter, the danger of being burned, inconsistent results, etc., have caused many people to stay away from this style of cooking. While deep fryers aren’t a part of must-have kitchen appliances, owning the right cooking tool can make all the difference.
A deep fryer is a simple equipment that contains a mesh basket for the food to be put into. It also contains an inner container that holds the oil for frying. The best part about deep fryers is that they heat up the oil in just 5 minutes or so, unlike the long time taken by a pot of oil on the stove. Various manufacturing companies have come up with a variety of deep fryers that are suited for the home kitchen. However, with so many options out there, it can get very confusing.
How to Choose the Right Deep Fryer
Deep fryers are available in different sizes and capacities. While some use just 3 cups of oil, larger ones use as much as 6 to 8 cups of oil. The size suitable for you will depend on the kind of foods you want to deep-fry, and the number of people you’re most likely to entertain.
For example, if you intend to use the fryer to fry French fries and chicken nuggets, a small fryer will do. However, if you’re the type to host lots of parties, or are into deep-frying whole turkeys, you may want to look into the larger ones. Purchasing a large fryer means using lots of oil at a given point, which may not be practical if you’re a small family.
The size you pick must be proportional to the size of your kitchen counter and the kitchen. You don’t want a huge fryer that doesn’t fit on your countertop. Moreover, handling and washing large fryers will be quite cumbersome. Smaller fryers call for lesser oil, and also take up lesser storage space.
Before purchasing a fryer, make sure you check the height of the cabinets and figure out where you will keep this new appliance. As far as shapes and colors are concerned, purchase a fryer that suits your kitchen style and décor.
Single or Double Basket
If you don’t have a large family, but do hold parties and dinner gatherings often, you may need to consider the double basket fryer. The best part about the one with two baskets is that you can fry double the amount in the same amount of time. Moreover, you’ll also be able to fry two different foods at once; perfect for dinner parties! Some fryers also come with rotating baskets, which rotate in the oil, instead of sitting still. Such fryers call for lesser oil; however, they aren’t suitable for many foods because the oil becomes hot very quickly, causing the food to brown on the outside, while the inside remains uncooked.
If you’re purchasing a larger deep fryer, it’s better to go in for one with an immersion heating element. The immersion type heats the oil faster, as compared to the heating elements at the bottom, thus, saving time and energy. Immersion-style heating elements also have a faster temperature recovery time. So, when you go looking for a fryer, look for one with this type of heating element.
Removable Oil Reservoir
Always look for a fryer with a removable oil reservoir. Removable ones make it easier to pour the used oil into a container. Some come with outlets for draining the oil, which are even better. Then there are those fryers, which come with automatic oil filters. In such fryers, the oil gets sifted before it is drained into the reservoir. This feature allows you to conveniently reuse the oil.
Choosing a fryer with a dishwasher-safe mesh basket, reservoir, handle, lid, and filter makes cleaning easier. Since most oil reservoirs or bowls come in nonstick material, cleaning them isn’t that difficult. Moreover, check that the fryer basket has comfortable, removable handles. This makes it easier to clean and store them.
Timers and Indicators
Some deep fryers come with digital timers to set the cooking time, while others come with manual dials with simple settings like ‘Low’, ‘Medium’, and ‘High’. The ones with digital timers are better, because their precise measurements help cook food to perfection. Then again, most fryers come with indicator lights, which let you know when the oil is ready for frying.
It’s good to purchase a fryer with a viewing window, because it allows you to supervise the cooking without taking off the lid. Keep this window clean at all times, and use it to gain better insight, as to what is going on inside the fryer. This feature is very important because it not only allows you to check on your food, but also protects you from accidental splashes of oil.
Besides the viewing window, ensure your deep fryer comes with a thermal safety cutout that turns off the fryer if it gets too hot. Moreover, check with the vendor regarding the body of the fryer. You want one which doesn’t turn too hot while frying. This will help prevent accidents and burns. Some deep fryers come with lockable lids. As far as possible, try to get a lid that locks perfectly. This will prevent the hot oil from accidentally splashing or spilling out. Again, always look for baskets that can be lowered or raised, without taking off the lid.
The price range may vary from $70 to $400, depending on the brand, size, features, etc. Avoiding spending money on an expensive model, especially if you think you’ll use it just once in a while. The deep fryer you choose will depend on various factors, like the number of people you’re catering to, budget, safety features, etc. Peruse through the different fryers in the market before taking your pick. All the best with your culinary endeavors!