Almost everybody loves fresh fried chicken, piping hot french fries, fried fish, and other deep-fried treats. Deep frying gives foods a crunchy, crispy exterior and a tender interior by cooking extremely fast in very hot oil.
Deep frying on your stove can be messy and dangerous, so an electric deep fryer can be a good investment if you cook fried foods frequently. Deep fryers make it safer, neater, and easier to fry foods. Deep-fried foods should definitely be consumed in moderation, and veggies on the side are always a good idea. That being said, if you’re a fan of crispy deep-fried foods, you can get good use out of a fryer at home.
The best deep fryers have a basket to submerge and remove food from the hot oil without splatter. Some have temperature and timing controls to regulate the cooking temperature of the oil. Some deep fryers also have non-stick surfaces and removable parts to make cleanup easier. Read on to learn about some of the best deep fryer features before you buy, and check out this selection of quality recommendations.
- BEST OVERALL: T-Fal Deep Fryer with Basket, Model FR8000
- RUNNER UP: Winco EFS-16 Deep Fryer
- BEST MULTI-BASKET: Secura Triple Basket Electric Deep Fryer
- BEST LARGE CAPACITY: Cuisinart CDF-500 Extra-Large Rotisserie Deep Fryer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Presto 05420 FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer
Types of Deep Fryers
There are two types of deep fryers: electric and propane. Your cooking goals determine the type that’s the best deep fryer for your household, but most people buy electric deep fryers for indoor use in their kitchen.
Electric deep fryers provide an authentic fried cooking taste and experience. They cook food by submerging it in hot oil, making crisp French fries, chicken tenders, and the like available any night of the week. They’re powered by electricity, so they can be used indoors on a kitchen counter, or outside on a patio with a GFCI outlet. The longer the deep fryer’s electrical cord, the more flexible you can be with where you cook,, so look for models with longer cords.
Some electric deep fryers have built-in timers and thermostats for precise cooking time and temperature control. Some models include carbon filters to reduce odors. Electric fryers tend to be smallish, holding between 4 to 12 cups of oil, enough to make food for one to six people. There are also some larger models that can hold a gallon or more of oil, allowing you to cook larger quantities of food.
Propane deep fryers are heated with fuel from a propane tank and are usually made for cooking outdoors. Propane deep fryers made for home use usually have a pot or basin that sits on a pedestal over propane-powered burners. Propane deep fryers made for commercial use have hidden propane burners under the basin that can be adjusted with manual dials. Propane deep fryers are usually larger, cooking larger amounts of food than electric fryers. They offer precise temperature control, and most models are better suited for outdoor use.
Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers
While deep fryers cook food by submerging it in oil, air fryers cook food by circulating hot air over the food to cook and crisp it. Air fryers cook more like an oven, and appeal to people who want food that’s crispy like fried food, but lower in fat and calories.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Deep Fryer
The best deep fryers balance price with capacity and have features like cool-touch exteriors, temperature control, and built-in timers. Deep fryers take up a fair amount of storage and counter space, so factor its size into the equation when picking the best deep fryer for your kitchen.
Deep fryers can be dangerous to handle due to hot oil, so it’s important to choose one with the proper safety features. Here’s what to look for:
- Models with a cool-touch exterior keep the deep fryer from getting hot on the outside so the chef doesn’t get burned. Some models have a cool-touch feature on the fry basket handles as well.
- Models with an auto-shutoff will turn themselves off automatically if the oil becomes too hot, lowering the chances of an oil fire in the kitchen.
- The best deep fryers have a breakaway electrical cord that prevents the entire fryer from tipping over and spilling hot oil on the floor if somebody accidentally trips over the cord.
- Lids are also an important safety feature. Cooking oil fires spread if you throw water on them. The best way to put out an oil fire is to smother it with a lid. Putting a lid on a deep fryer while cooking prevents hot oil from popping and splattering.
Capacity is a two-part measure of how much oil and food a fryer can hold. Capacities vary by model and type. The larger the capacity, the more food you can prepare and more people you can feed. Some air fryers have a small, 2-quart capacity with room to cook one or two servings of food, while larger deep fryers with multiple baskets can hold up to 2 gallons of oil and can cook enough food for a dinner party. Most deep fryers have a capacity between 2 and 4 quarts, enough space to prepare a meal for two to four people. Larger families may need a fryer with a capacity of 8 to 9 quarts.
Number of Baskets
The more baskets the fryer has, the more food you can cook at once. A fryer with two or three baskets offers the most flexibility because you can cook more than one type of fried food at a time. Multiple baskets let you fry chicken tenders and french fries, for example, without mixing them together.
Temperature Controls & Heat Up Time
Most deep fryers have manual dials or digital buttons to adjust the cooking temperature. Some deep fryers cook at only one temperature.
Cooking oil has to reach the right temperature before you begin frying. The time to heat up depends on the size of the fryer, and whether it has an immersion heating element or a non-immersion heating element. Immersion heating elements are in the basin of the fryer itself, so they heat oil faster. Most electric deep fryers have an immersion heating element and generally take between 7 and 30 minutes to reach the correct cooking temperature.
Ease of Use & Cleanup
Deep fryers with built-in timers, digital temperature displays, filtration systems, and built-in oil storage are easier to use because they put all the tools you need to cook and maintain the fryer in one unit. Look for deep fryers with nonstick interiors and exteriors so you wipe them down without having to scrub, and removable parts that are dishwasher-safe. You can save oil and money with models that filter and store oil until the fryer is used again.
Our Top Picks
To make it easier for you to pick the best deep fryer, this guide recommends models with features ranging from temperature control to enormous capacity. The following list also considers ease of use, clean up requirements, and safety features.
The 3.5-liter T-Fal Deep Fryer can cook up to 2.65 pounds of food at once, with an oil filtration system that removes leftover food bits after each use, so you can reuse oil. The filtered oil sits in a storage container in the fryer under the frying compartment. When you’re ready to reuse it, pull out the drawer and pour the oil in the fry basin. The oil container, lid, and basket are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
The T-Fal Deep Fryer has temperature controls and a cooking basket that works in two positions: The first immerses the food in the oil, and the second lets it drain. This model doesn’t have a built-in timer, so you’ll have to keep an eye on your food.
When you’re frying for a big crowd, turn to the Winco EFS-16 Deep Fryer. Its large size, simple controls, and industrial-grade design are suitable for catering work or cooking for extended family gatherings. This fryer holds up to 2.3 gallons of oil with twice the capacity of most electric fryers, though its compact and lightweight design works well for countertop use.
The Winco EFS-16 has a dial to control oil temperature and indicator lights that let you know when the oil has reached the optimum cooking temperature. The Winco fryer has a removable oil well for easier cleanup. This sturdy model stands out for the quantity of food it can cook combined with a modest footprint.
The Secura deep fryer comes with three baskets: the two small baskets can be used at the same time, so you can cook french fries and onion rings simultaneously, while the large basket used on its own has enough room to fry an entire chicken. The fryer holds up to a gallon of oil, and has a carbon filter that keeps cooking smells from filling the kitchen. This Secura model comes with an auto-timer that rings and shuts off when your pre-set cooking time is reached. It’s also easy to clean, with baskets and an oil tank that can be removed and run through a dishwasher.
Cuisinart means business with this extra-large deep fryer. It’s big enough for a 14-pound turkey, or a slew of doughnuts, french fries, and more. This model pulls double-duty and can be set up to steam large quantities of food. You can have a shrimp boil—or shrimp fry up—right in your kitchen.
The CDF-500 has a built-in 120-minute timer that keeps cooking times on track. This model also includes a ready-indicator light that helps while cooking multiple batches of food. When you remove food from the oil, the ready-light goes off as the oil temperature drops when food is removed. The light comes back on when the oil heats up to cooking temperature again, so you’ll know when to put the next batch of food in.
The Presto FryDaddy is a small-capacity cooker that can fry a couple of servings of side dishes like fries, or a few pieces of chicken. It doesn’t have a timer or temperature control and cooks at just one temperature. The FryDaddy comes with a scoop for lifting your food out of the oil after cooking. This model comes with a snap-on lid that lets you use the fryer as an oil storage container for reuse. Its nonstick interior and exterior are easy to clean and maintain. This straightforward fryer is affordable and easy to use—a great option for cooks satisfied with a functional, no-frills device.