So, you’ve come across the wonderful idea of having an in-home deep fryer, but you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing.
That’s okay, it’s a fairly unique way of cooking and not many people have direct experience using a fryer.
Depending on what you cook, your technique might be altered ever so slightly, but there are some tips that will help you regardless of what type of food you’re frying.
On the most basic of levels, and being as general as possible, here are the steps you must take to use a deep fryer successfully (keep in mind that it won’t always be the same, and this is assuming you are using an actual oil deep fryer, not an air fryer or a turkey fryer).
Step 1: Fill the deep fryer with oil
Choosing the right oil is a task in itself, but once you know what type you’ll be using, pour it into your cool deep fryer, taking care not to under or overfill it. Most units have a max fill line, and some have a minimum fill line, so you won’t have any difficulties knowing how much oil to put in.
Step 2: Turn it on, make sure it gets to the right heat level
Either plug your machine in to turn it on, flick the switch to the on position, or set the temperature and time (depending on what model you have). Your job now is to ensure the temperature of the oil both gets to the right level and doesn’t go over that level. You’ll typically deep fry between 350 degrees F and 375 degrees F.
Many models have a thermostat that automatically ensures the temperature is correct, but it’s always prudent to have a deep fat fryer thermometer to ensure the heat is right
Step 3: Make sure your food is dry
Water and oil do not mix! Be sure that whatever you are deep frying has been patted dry or has been covered/protected in a batter or dusting of some kind. If you’re doing fresh cut potatoes, for example, just make sure you dry them well on paper towel or a kitchen towel, or else you can get some potentially dangerous spitting of oil when you drop the food into the oil.
Step 4: Lower food in slowly and carefully
This is usually fairly easy, as many of today’s models have a basket to put food into, which lowers easily and locks into place. However, some models do not have a basket, which means you will either need to carefully place in, or use a slotted spoon to place in, the food you wish to fry.
Either way, just go slowly. Ensure that the entire bit of food is covered, and if it is not, you may need to turn it over in the middle of the frying (like donuts, for example).
Step 5: Wait, set a timer if necessary
If you are cooking something with only a few minute cooking time, you’ll likely want to stick around to make sure you get it out at just the right time. Too long in the oil and your food will lose the moisture necessary to repel the oil, and will become greasy and overcooked.
Some fryers now have timers built in, which you should use to make sure overcooking doesn’t happen. If you don’t have a timer on the machine, set one on your phone or your oven or your microwave…anything to make sure the timing is right. This is a careful balancing act!
Step 6. Carefully remove the food from the oil
When the food is done frying, carefully remove it. If you have a fryer with a basket, simply lift the basket out of the oil. If not, use a slotted spoon to fish out the food carefully, ensuring that all excess oil has had a chance to drain out of the bottom of the spoon.
Step 7. Let the food sit for a moment and dry
Whether you let it sit in the basket, or put the food on a drying rack, or pat it dry with a towel, it’s important to let the freshly deep fried food dry.
If you do not let it dry, you will be eating the oil that remains on the outside of the food. By allowing the food time to rid itself of the outer oil, you remove an unhealthy element (and also an element that can hurt if you take a bit and get a mouth full of screaming hot oil!).
Step 8. Eat!
Finally! As you can see, it’s not that difficult. Don’t be afraid to play around with different recipes and foods, but always be sure to have safety as the first and foremost concern. There are many ways for deep fryers to cause damage, both bodily and to your home. Enjoy!
Another thing to keep in mind is that most deep fryers come with a manual (some even include recipes). Be sure to read yours, because each one is different and you may find some helpful safety tips.
Always think about safety when you’re deep frying. As mentioned above, you can get seriously burned and also risk starting a fire if you are not careful.
- Use a lid if your fryer comes with one.
- Be careful to mind where the cord is so that you don’t accidentally snag it.
- Dry your food and make sure no water splashes into the oil.
- Don’t empty oil or clean the unit until it’s very assuredly back to room temperature.
- Don’t overfill the oil or the amount of food you put in.
- Always keep watch of your deep fryer, even if you are cooking something that needs a longer amount of time, like a turkey.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy, and know how to use it, just in case.