Air fryers may be all the rage now, but there will always be a spot in our hearts (and kitchens!) for a trusty deep fryer. Some foods are just better when you fry them the old-fashioned way!
While cooking with these kitchen appliances isn’t always healthy, treating yourself to a delicious fried food meal once in a while has never hurt anyone. Crispy onion rings, piping hot french fries, juicy fried chicken—do we have to go on?
Luckily, you don’t have to go to a restaurant or fast-food joint to get your comfort fried food fix. There are hundreds of deep fat fryers designed to use at home. The best models are easy to use, easy to clean and deliver quality results consistently.
Today, we’re looking at the best deep fryer gadgets on the market. You’ll find the perfect one for your home in no time. We’re also breaking down the features you won’t want to pass up on and answering some frequently asked questions.
1. Best Overall Pick: EZ Clean T-fal Deep Fryer with Oil Filtration System
The T-fal EZ Clean model is the best-rated deep fryer on our list. It’s the best bang for your buck. You can’t go wrong with that!
With an oil capacity of 3.5 liters, you can fry up to 2.65 pounds of food at once. That makes it perfect for a family of four. Moreover, the powerful immersed heating element makes the cooking process more reliable and shorter.
The two-position frying basket makes using this appliance a breeze: one for frying, one for draining. The handles also let you easily transport the unit if need be.
On top of all that, the most outstanding feature is—hands down—the built-in patented T-fal oil filtration system. After you’re finished cooking, select the “automatic filtration option.” The fryer will start cleaning the oil you have just used. This means you won’t have to keep refilling the entire tank every time you use this appliance, saving you time and money.
Once the oil is clean, it is stored in a drawer you can easily remove. Plus, since all parts (basket, oil container, and lid) are dishwasher safe, clean-up becomes a lot easier.
Lastly, there is a knob that lets you choose the oil temperature, from 302ºF to 374ºF. It’s perfect for more versatile cooking.
2. Best Value Pick: Compact Oster Deep Fryer
If you’re on a tighter budget, the Oster Style Compact Fryer is the best affordable deep fryer—and a great alternative to higher-end models. While it doesn’t boast as many extra features, it gets the job done and takes the hassle off of deep frying!
You can fit up to 1.5 liters of oil (6 cups), so it’s on the smaller side. It’s a countertop fryer ideal for one or two people. This also makes it easy to store even in a cramped cupboard.
The built-in temperature control gives you full reign over your cooking. You can select an oil temperature of 300ºF, 340ºF, or 375ºF depending on what you’re frying.
The lid is also a great addition. Not only does it stop hot oil from spilling, but it also keeps odors to a minimum. That said, the glass viewing window lets you still keep an eye out on your food.
We also really like the materials that go into making this appliance. The oil container is stainless steel with a non-stick coating. That, along with the dishwasher safe parts, makes this unit super easy to clean.
Lastly, the Oster has a magnetic breakaway cord for added safety. If someone happens to accidentally pull on the cord, the fryer will turn off. Other models would just tip over, sending the piping-hot oil everywhere.
3. Premium Pick: Stainless Steel LED-Display KRUPS Deep Fryer
If you can spend more on an appliance, we highly recommend this KRUPS deep fryer. It’s one of the best deep fryers. It boasts a more modern design, generous capacity, and some cool extra features.
This is a triple basket countertop fryer with the large capacity of 4.5 liters of oil, meaning it can fry up to three pounds of food at once. Moreover, you can cook more than one type of food at once (say, onion rings and french fries), using the different-sized baskets.
The frying basket, oil container, and lid can easily be removed and put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
There’s no guessing-work involved when cooking with the KRUPS. The four presets (french fries, onion rings, donuts, chicken) automatically adjust time and oil temperatures depending on what you’re cooking. But if you want full control over your food, you can ignore the presets and manually program the unit.
The higher price tag gives you awesome features. For starters, the built-in filter gets rid of those pesky frying odors. Moreover, the cool-touch handles make it safe for you to handle the fryer without getting hurt. Lastly, the magnetic break-away cord promotes safety for everyone near the unit.
4. Best Compact Pick: Presto GranPappy Deep Fat Fryer
Cooking for one or two with little storage space? Don’t fret. The compact Presto GranPappy Fryer lets you enjoy restaurant-quality fried foods without needing a restaurant-like kitchen. It’s the best small deep fryer on our list.
This unit couldn’t be more straightforward. You pour in up to six cups of oil into the bucket, wait for it to get hot, and then put your food inside. No basket—just a slotted scoop for you to fish out the bits of food when they’re perfectly golden brown.
The immersion heating element runs at 1500 watts and keeps the oil at one temperature: 375ºF. If you don’t like having to mess around with buttons to set a specific temperature, this is the no-frills approach you’ll want.
The bucket is made of heavy-duty aluminum for maximum food safety. It is also lined with non-stick coating, for easy cleanup. The no-skid rubber feet keep the fryer grounded, preventing accidents with hot oil spills.
When you’re done frying, you can leave the oil inside. Snap-on the lid and you can store the deep fat fryer away in any small cupboard, ready for your next use.
5. Best for Families: Stainless Steel Dual Basket Presto Deep Fryer
If you usually cook for several people at a time, you can’t go wrong with this Presto Deep Fryer. It’s the most spacious unit on our list, works fantastically, and is available for a very reasonable price.
With this fryer, you can cook up to five pounds of food in one go. Using the two stainless steel baskets, you can even cook two types of food separately. It’s the best high-volume fryer.
The adjustable thermostat lets you set the oil temperature at your will. It goes from 275ºF for gentler foods up to 375ºF. Thanks to the 1800-watt heating element, the oil will heat up in no time.
When you’re done cooking, turn off the fryer using the simple one-touch off-button and hang the baskets to drain the oil.
To clean up, remove the immersion heating element and the enamel pot. The pot and baskets are dishwasher safe, which makes your job a lot easier.
The sturdy lid keeps the hot oil inside, preventing dangerous spillage. The downside is that you won’t be able to keep an eye on your food while it’s cooking, as there is no viewing window.
What Is the Best Deep Fryer?: Buying Guide
If these five models haven’t charmed their way into your heart, you can always do your own research. Because there are so many models out there, you’ll need to narrow down your search. Look for these features. The best deep fryers check off most of these boxes.
As common sense will tell you, large capacity fryers are more expensive than their small, compact counterparts.
If you’ll only be cooking for two most of the time and you’re on a budget crunch, it would be wise to opt for a smaller model. They work just as well but aren’t as roomy.
On the other hand, if you’re cooking for several people, you’ll probably want to splurge on a larger model. Maybe one with dual or triple basket design. Having to fry foods in multiple batches and eating some of it cold is no fun. Who wants to eat cold, soggy french fries?
Capacity isn’t everything. An electric deep fryer isn’t a small gadget. Some fryers are bulky but not very roomy, while others have the same capacity but were designed to fit a small kitchen. If you’re strapped for room in your kitchen, you’ll have to consider the fryer’s dimensions before you make a purchase.
Being able to control the oil temperature is a very handy feature. Each food has its own ideal frying temperature. Oil too cold and your food won’t get crispy. Too cold and the outside will burn while the inside stays cold and underdone.
The higher-end models let you have full reign over this thanks to their temperature control. Whether it’s by turning a knob, pressing a few buttons, or, more futuristically, touching a screen, you’re in full control.
Easy to Use
That said, you don’t want an overly complicated model. What’s more off-putting than a deep fat fryer that is a hassle to cook with?
You’ll want a no-frills approach if you’re looking for an appliance to use semi-regularly. After all, cooking with one shouldn’t be rocket science.
However, if you’re tech-savvy or like a challenge, by all means, invest in a complex model with lots of different functions!
Luckily, pictures and customer reviews usually tell you within a few minutes if the model you’re looking at is a pain to use.
Similarly, for convenience’s sake, electric fryers that are hard to clean are also no fun. Remember, you’ll need to clean your fryer after every use, once the oil has cooled down. Think of how easy cleanup will be at the end of the day.
For instance, some models have removable oil. Others have dishwasher-safe baskets. That makes your job a whole lot easier—and puts the fun back in cooking.
Deep Fryer Safety Features
Of course, if you don’t handle your electric deep fryer correctly, you can get seriously hurt. Third-degree burns from spilled oil and even house fires aren’t unheard of.
You should always take precautions and read your deep fat fryer’s instructions. But the best deep fryers also have safety features that can further protect you from any accidents.
Just having a metal lid cover the frying chamber is already a good way to prevent getting burned by hot sizzling oil. Being able to check oil temperature throughout the cooking process can be enough to avoid a fire from starting, for instance. Double walls, too, can prevent you from getting burned if you happen to touch the sides of the fryer while it’s turned on.
If you have children around, these are especially important features to keep in mind.
Then, there are bonus features that are just convenient but aren’t necessarily make-or-break add-ons. Here are a few of them:
- Programmable minute timer
- Dirty-to-clean oil filtration
- Built-in drainage for dirty oil
- Ventilation to remove frying odors
You can go without them. But if you’re going to splurge, make sure you’re getting these, to maximize your investment.
Frequently Asked Questions on Electric Deep Fryers
Q: Can I fry frozen foods?
There is no harm in deep frying frozen french fries, chicken tenders, or onion rings—if you are still careful, that is. In fact, you’ll find bags of frozen foods perfect to be deep-fried at most supermarkets. You don’t need to thaw them before cooking them.
However, larger pieces of food (such as a whole frozen turkey) should never be deep-fried while frozen. You have to thaw them completely beforehand. This is because the fryer can easily tip over due to all the weight and the oil can overheat and reach its combustion point, which starts a fire. Unfortunately, this isn’t that uncommon. So much so that these incidents are now known as “turkey fryer fires.”
Q: Are deep fryers safe?
Deep frying food may sound dangerous. Hot sizzling oil can, after all, burn you badly. But if you follow all the safety tips for deep fat frying, there’s nothing to be afraid of!
Q: What is the best oil for a deep fryer?
Choose an oil with a high smoke point, above 400ºF. A high smoke point means a smaller chance of the oil combusting. Our favorites are canola oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil.
Q: Air fryer vs deep fryer: what’s the difference?
These are two completely different kitchen appliances. An air fryer doesn’t use any oil, while a deep fryer needs several cups of oil to run.
Q: What are the best deep fryer recipes?
You’ll find dozens of deep-fried beloved American classics, such as buttermilk fried chicken. But other world cuisines use a deep fryer, too. Churros, a traditional doughy treat from Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries, for example. Or delicious spicy curried rice balls (Nam Kao) from Laos!