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 unit can be a good investment if you enjoy homemade fried foods. Deep fryers make it safer, neater, and easier to enjoy these foods. 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: Cuisinart Deep Fryer
- RUNNER UP: De’Longhi Livenza Dual Zone Digital 4.5-L Deep Fryer
- BEST BUDGET: Presto 05420 FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer
- USER-FRIENDLY PICK: Breville BDF500XL Smart Fryer
- BEST MULTI-BASKET: KRUPS KJ502D51 Electric Deep Fryer
- BEST OIL STORAGE: T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket, FR8000
- MOST VERSATILE: Masterbuilt MB20012420 Electric Fryer Boiler Steamer
- ALSO CONSIDER: Secura 1700-Watt Stainless-Steel Triple Basket Fryer
Types of Deep Fryers
There are two types of deep fryers: electric and propane. Your cooking goals determine the type that will be 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 users 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 a basin that sits on a pedestal over propane-powered burners.
Propane deep fryers that are 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 an electric fryer. They offer precise temperature control, and most models are better suited for outdoor use.
What to Consider When Choosing 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.
Capacity is a two-part measure of how much oil and food a fryer can hold. The larger the capacity, the more food you can prepare and more people you can feed. Most deep fryers have a capacity between 2 and 4 quarts, which is enough space to prepare a meal for two to four people.
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. Larger families may need a fryer with a capacity of 8 to 9 quarts.
The more baskets the fryer has, the more food that 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.
Most deep fryers have manual dials or digital buttons to adjust the cooking temperature, and the 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. An electric deep fryer may have an immersion heating element and generally takes between 7 and 30 minutes to reach the correct cooking temperature.
Deep fryers can be dangerous to handle due to the 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 water is thrown 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 food cooks prevents hot oil from popping and splattering.
Ease of Use
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 that are required to cook and maintain the fryer in one unit.
Look for deep fryers with removable parts that are dishwasher safe and nonstick interiors and exteriors that can be wiped down without having to scrub. Users can save oil and money with models that filter and store oil until the fryer is used again.
Our Top Picks
Add crispy french fries, chicken wings, and other deep-fried dishes to your meals at home with one of these reliable deep fryers.
The Cuisinart Deep Fryer comes in two sizes, a 3.4-quart and a 4-quart model. For the purposes of this review, we’re focusing on the 3.4-quart model. An easy-to-read adjustable dial sets the temperature between 175 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The two indicator lights keep the user updated on status, with one showing power and the other lighting when oil reaches the set temperature.
On the interior, a basket that holds 1.7 pounds of food offers sturdy control when cooking. The basket also has a notch that rests on the side of the fryer for draining. The interior features a minimum and maximum oil fill line. Those visual markers help make sure users have the right oil level at all times. A pour spout in the corner creates an easier way to drain oil for cleaning and storage. Set the cook times for up to 60 minutes using the built-in digital timer.
- Dimensions: 13 by 8.5 by 11.5 inches
- Oil capacity: 3.52 liters
- Watts: 1,800
- Built-in digital timer
- Oil fill lines
- Makes enough for two to four people
- Basket notch holds basket above fryer for draining
- Some people find the basket a bit flimsy
The De’Longhi Livenza is easy to clean, thanks to a removable oil container with a pour spout to safely discard used oil or drain and store it to reuse later. The Livenza also has multiple removable parts that can be wiped off to clean or run through the dishwasher.
This model holds a full gallon of oil, so users can cook enough food for a crowd. It has digital temperature controls and a built-in timer, so cooks will know when the oil is at the proper temperature and when the food is fried to the right shade of golden brown.
The Livenza has a sizable “cool zone” at the bottom of the pot, where food particles sink and the lower temperature keeps them from burning and tainting the oil. This product’s larger cool zone allows users to save money by reusing oil.
- Dimensions: 24.41 by 20.67 by 14.76 inches
- Oil capacity: 4.4 liters
- Watts: 1,800
- Easy to take apart for cleaning
- Design includes a cool zone to prevent burnt foods from tainting oil
- Oil cycle counter indicates when fresh oil is needed
- Breakaway cord
- Takes some time to get used to using the digital temperature and timer
The Presto FryDaddy is a small deep fryer 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 food out of the oil after cooking.
This model comes with a snap-on lid that allows the fryer to be used 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.
- Dimensions: 8.38 by 8.13 by 7.38 inches
- Oil capacity: .95 liters
- Watts: 1,200
- Nonstick surfaces inside and outside
- Functions as an oil storage container
- Easy storage with compact design
- Cooks at a single temperature
- Small capacity
The Breville deep fryer takes some of the guesswork out of frying with seven preset temperature settings for fries, twice-fried fries, fish, wings, doughnuts, calamari, and a custom setting. Several of these foods require different cooking temperatures throughout the cooking process. The presets automatically adjust the temperature throughout the cooking cycle for better results.
You can further customize cooking times by selecting fresh or frozen. All of the settings are easily visible on a large LCD display. Cool-zone technology creates an area at the bottom of the fryer where cooler oil prevents pieces of food that float to the bottom from burning. This feature prevents tainted oil, preserving it for future use. A removable, dishwasher-safe oil basin makes for easier draining and cleanup.
- Dimensions: 16 by 10.4 by 11.4 inches
- Oil capacity: 3.8 liters
- Watts: 1,800
- Maintains a consistent temperature
- Presets offer precise temperature adjustments without supervision
- Cool zone saves oil and money
- Simple-to-use digital controls
The KRUPS Electric Deep Fryer provides many of the professional amenities in the private kitchen. Four preset functions for fries, chicken nuggets, onion rings, and doughnuts allow users to cook their favorites without thinking about temperature. However, the temperature is also adjustable, so changes can be made based on personal preferences. An indicator light lets cooks know when the oil reaches the set temperature, too.
This model comes with three baskets, two that can sit side by side in the fryer and one that fills the basin. Users can keep an eye on food through a window built into the lid. The Krups fryer can be completely dismantled, including removing the basin for easier cleaning. Finally, Krups throws in a little extra with an integrated odor filter to keep smells to a minimum.
- Dimensions: 17.3 by 14.6 by 13 inches
- Oil capacity: 4.5 liters
- Watts: 1,800
- Custom adjustable and preset temperature controls
- Three fryer baskets
- Easy cleanup with removable basin
- Odor-control filter
- A few units experience early failure
The 3.5-liter T-fal Deep Fryer can cook up to 2.65 pounds of food at once and has an oil filtration system that removes leftover food bits after each use, so cooks can reuse the oil. The filtered oil sits in a storage container in the fryer under the frying compartment. When the oil is ready to be reused, pull out the drawer and pour the oil in the frying 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 allows it to drain. This model doesn’t have a built-in timer, so users will have to keep an eye on their food.
- Dimensions: 18.3 by 13.7 by 14.8 inches
- Oil capacity: 3.5 liters
- Watts: 1,700
- Cooks a lot of food in a relatively small amount of oil
- Includes oil storage container
- Removable, dishwasher-safe components
- Cleans and filters the oil
The Masterbuilt Electric Fryer, Boiler, Steamer performs three functions. With its extra-large, 10-liter capacity, users can cook meals for a crowd. This model can take on a 20-pound turkey without a problem. An adjustable dial sets the temperature, and an indicator light lets cooks know when the oil reaches the set temperature. But this model does more than fry: It also boils and steams using the same settings and accessories used for frying.
This large deep fryer comes with a cooking basket and a hook. The hook keeps your hands farther away from the oil for safer entry and exit of the food from the hot liquid. This model also includes a drain valve that directs used oil, making the fryer quick to empty and clean.
- Dimensions: 16.46 by 18.43 by 14.8 inches
- Oil capacity: 10 liters
- Watts: 1,650
- Three functions—boil, fry, steam
- Extra-large, 10-liter capacity
- Hook to remove basket and prevent burns
- Drain valve directs used oil
- Safety features can make it difficult to restart the fryer
The Secura deep fryer comes with three baskets: the two small baskets can be used at the same time so users 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 the preset cooking time is reached. It’s also easy to clean with baskets and an oil basin that can be removed and run through a dishwasher.
- Dimensions: 15.5 by 14.5 by 9.5 inches
- Oil capacity: 4 liters
- Watts: 1,700
- Carbon filter helps contain odors
- Dishwasher-safe basin
- Three baskets provide more cooking options
- A few units have temperature control issues
The Cuisinart deep fryer gets the top spot for its ease of use, built-in timer, and oil fill lines that help you get the best results every time. However, for those who want a model that conserves oil and boasts easy cleaning features, the De’Longhi Livenza deep fryer might be a better pick.
How We Chose the Best Deep Fryers
Deep fryers take some getting used to, so one of the first considerations we made was the ease of use. We asked questions like, how easy is it to drain the oil? How long does it take to get the oil to temperature? Are there presets to help you find the right oil temperature?
Our next consideration was if the fryer could heat the oil quickly and efficiently. A fryer should hold the temperature fairly well, even when users are putting the food into the oil.
The final two considerations were oil capacity and cleaning ease. Some models cook only enough for two, while others make enough for a crowd. Deep fryers can be messy, so cleaning ease played a big role in which models made the list. Features like dishwasher-safe components and a removable basin got bonus points.
Deep fryers create delicious foods that usually require a visit to your favorite restaurant. It might take some practice to perfect your favorite dishes. That’s why we’re answering some of the most common questions.
Q: What does a deep fryer do?
A deep fryer cooks food in hot oil. The fryer heats the oil and usually contains a fryer basket to safely remove the food.
Q: What types of food can be put in a deep fryer?
Traditional favorites like french fries, chicken nuggets, shrimp, and doughnuts are good places to start. With time, you can start expanding your fry sessions to fish, onion rings, and other delicious morsels.
Q: What food should not be put in a deep fryer?
Ice is one of the few things that shouldn’t go in a deep fryer. Oil and water do not go together. The high concentration of water and the temperature differences between the ice and oil can result in a small explosion. Be very careful frying frozen foods. They can cause explosions that start fires, too. Some deep fryers have a frozen setting to help reduce the potential of frozen food to explode.
Q: How do you cook with a deep fryer?
Fill the fryer with the recommended amount of oil. Set the temperature, and wait until the oil reaches the desired temperature. Once the oil is at temperature, place the food in the fryer’s basket and lower it into the oil. You can cook it covered or uncovered, but make sure to set a timer.
Q: Can a deep fryer catch fire?
A deep fryer can catch fire. Such accidents are rare, but they can happen if you put something with a high frozen water content, like a frozen turkey, into the fryer.