Fryer reviews: Features explained
A fryer is a thermostatically controlled appliance that heats oil up to the right temperature, letting you deep fry food.
A fryer reduces the risk of the oil catching fire by holding it at the selected temperature, rather than overheating it, which can easily happen with chip pans.
Types of fryer
These are generally small, box-shaped fryers about the size of a two-slice toaster and take about 1 litre of oil to fill up.
The maximum basket capacity is up to 350g of chips (depending on model) which is enough for one or two people.
These are much smaller and easier to store away than standard or large fryers.
These tend to be round or square boxes which take between 1.5 and 2.5 litres of oil to fill.
The maximum food capacity can be between 1kg and 1.3kg, so they are suitable for families. They are bigger in size than compact models so take up more countertop and storage space.
Large fryers are referred to as professional models, possibly because they resemble fryers found in local chip shops.
These rectangular appliances are made from stainless steel and can fry up to 1.5kg for food at a time. But you’ll need anywhere between 2 and 4 litres of oil to fill them up.
Being much larger in size, you’ll need more counter space to fit them on while cooking and, if they’re not going to be kept out, somewhere for storage when not in use.
Some fryers come with an oil filter, odour filter or both. They are generally found in the lid of the fryer and help absorb fat and odours.
However, oil filters will only go some way to reducing the oily vapour, and odour filters will only reduce odours, they won’t eliminate them completely.
Filters are either permanent or removable. The removable filters will need to be washed (in the sink) or changed regularly.
Filters can be bought from the fryer manufacturer or websites such as Amazon.co.uk and cost anywhere between 95p and £10.
A cool wall stops the outside of the fryer from getting too hot. You mainly find cool walls on standard fryers.
Not all larger professional fryers feature a cool wall. As they’re stainless steel and heat oil to 190°C, they’re likely to get very hot. As with all fryers, use them with care and attention.
Fryer cooking baskets
This is the removable metal basket where you put the food you want to fry. It’s lowered into, and lifted out of, the bowl of hot oil by the basket handle.
There will be a hook on the basket which fits onto the bowl to keep the basket out of the oil while it drains off the fried food.
Good fryers hold the basket away from the oil; bad fryers leave the basket sitting in some of the oil, letting it soak back into the food.
Fryer basket handle types
The type of handle on the cooking basket will depend on the type of the fryer.
Compact models often have small removable handles, making them easier to store. Many standard fryers have fixed handles which fold down so they're out of the way. On some, this mechanism also doubles as a rise-and-fall feature, allowing you to close the lid before lowering the basket of food into the oil.
Larger rectangular fryers come with a large detachable handle, which helps make cleaning easier.
Detachable fryer lids
A detachable lid is a handy feature, as it makes cleaning off the sticky oil residue much easier. It also makes removing the filter much simpler.
Fryer cord storage facilities
A cord storage facility will make the deep fat fryer much easier to store away once you’ve finished using it. Plus it can also keep cables tidy when you’re using the fryer and avoid them getting the way.