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How to Use an Electric Deep-Fryer

By Miye Bromberg Published

Electric deep-fryers make it easy to fry food at home. Here's how to use them.

Step 1: Pour in oil up to maximum fill line

Most electric deep-fryers use between 6 and 19 cups of oil; our winner uses slightly under 15 cups. This is more than enough oil for most of our recipes; when deep-frying in a Dutch oven, we typically use 8 to 12 cups. You can use either peanut or vegetable oil; we have no distinct preference in the test kitchen. Don't be tempted to put more oil in! You don't need it, and if there's too much oil, the bin can overflow when you put food in.

Step 2: Turn on

Step 3: Set temperature

The greatest advantage of an electric deep-fryer is that once you set its temperature, the appliance will automatically regulate the temperature for you—no need to fuss with the controls or use an additional thermometer to check on it. All the fryers we tested were reasonably accurate within the temperature ranges we chose, too.

Step 4: Once oil is at desired temperature, add food to basket and lower into oil

Electric deep-fryers heat up oil fairly quickly—our winner takes 14 to 15 minutes, depending on the temperature chosen, compared to about 20 minutes for the same amount of oil in a Dutch oven. You'll know when our winner is at the right temperature because the indicator light on the console will switch off. We recommend adding delicate food (such as doughnuts) or battered/breaded foods (such as fried chicken) in a single layer to the basket to encourage even cooking and prevent individual pieces from sticking together.

Step 5: Cover

Most electric deep-fryers can be covered in order to contain spatters while the food inside is cooking—a benefit that helps keep your counters clean. The fryers do such a great job of regulating the temperature that as long as you haven't exceeded the volume of oil recommended and don't overcrowd the fryer, the oil and food should sit low enough in the fryer that there is no risk of the unit overflowing, as there might be if you covered a Dutch oven.

Step 6: Raise basket and remove food

We love the baskets that came with most of the electric deep-fryers we tested. They allow you to remove all the food in the fryer at once, and can be latched onto a hook on the side of the fryer to allow excess oil to drain.

Equipment Review Electric Deep-Fryers

Electric deep fryers promise to make it safe and easy to deep-fry your favorite foods at home. Which one is best?

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.