YOU don’t need an expensive deep fat fryer to make the perfect fish and chips at home.
We explain what to look for when choosing the best deep fat fryer for you, including the all important safety features and round up some affordable options.
What is a deep fat fryer?
Your basic deep fat fryer comes in two parts: the basin that holds and heats up the oil and a wire basket for the food that you can lift and lower into the oil.
It’s an upgrade from your basic pan on the hob set up because the basin keeps the oil hot at a constant temperature, so you’re never overheating it, and most models will let you know when it’s time to fry.
What's the difference between an air fryer and a deep fat fryer?
When you’re cooking food in a deep fat fryer, the food is entirely submerged in hot oil, which heats up the water in the food to cook it.
If the oil is at the right temperature, the food cooks very quickly without soaking up much of the oil.
An air fryer is more like a convection oven in a small box – it uses hot air to cook the food. By adding a light coating of oil to your food, an air fryer can make your food extra crispy.
You can find our guide to air fryers here.
While you can make food that’s lower in fat in an air fryer, you can’t cook things coated in a wet batter like fried fish so an air fryer doesn’t completely replace a deep fat fryer.
Which is the best deep fat fryer?
The best deep fat fryer will vary according to your preferences and needs but we’ve rounded up some of the most popular models around below:
1. Cookworks 1.5l deep fat fryer
- Cookworks 1.5l deep fat fryer, £15.99 from Argos – buy here
This compact deep fat fryer is ideal for smaller kitchens and if you’re cooking for one or two people.
It has a 1.5l oil capacity and a 0.4l food capacity, and can heat the oil up to 190C.
The lid features a viewing window so you can check whether your food is ready during cooking.
2. VonShef 2.5l deep fat fryer
- VonShef 2.5l deep fat fryer, £39.99 from VonHaus – buy here
This deep fat fryer from VonShef is a generous 2.5l with a wide opening so you can easily cook bigger pieces of food.
The lid has a viewing panel so you can check the progress of your food and it’s fitted with an odour filter so the fryer smell doesn’t escape into your home.
It can reach temperatures of 190C and the control panel has indicator lights to show you when you’re ready to cook.
3. Swan SD6040 deep fat fryer
- Swan SD6040 deep fat fryer, £29.99 from Very – buy here
This 3l deep fat fryer is spacious enough to cook up to 1kg of food all in one go, making it a great option for families.
The oil can be heated up to 190C and there’s a totally removable lid that makes cooking bigger items much easier.
To make clean up easier, the fryer bowl is dishwasher safe as well.
4. Tefal Easy Pro deep fat fryer FR333040
- Tefal Easy Pro deep fat fryer FR333040, £47 from AO.com – buy here
Another larger capacity fryer, this 3l machine will let you cook up to 1.2kg of food at the same time.
The machine heats up quickly and has an overheating detector to make sure your oil never gets too hot.
The bowl, lid and frying basket are all dishwasher safe as well.
5. Russell Hobbs 19771 Professional deep fat fryer
- Russell Hobbs 19771 Professional deep fat fryer, £42.99 from Argos – buy here
This Russell Hobbs option has a 3l oil capacity and can cook 1kg of food in one go.
The lid is completely removable, although it doesn’t have a window like some of the other options.
The removable parts are dishwasher safe, making clean up much easier.
6. Tower T17002 3l deep fat fryer
- Tower T17002 3l deep fat fryer, £49.99 from Robert Dyas – buy here
Tower’s 3l deep fat fryer has a great family-friendly capacity but it looks stylish enough for the home.
The lid features a viewing window and a filter so you can reduce the amount of cooking odour escaping into your home.
And the machine can be taken apart to make clean up easier.
7. TEFAL FF220040 mini fryer
- TEFAL FF220040 mini fryer, £39.99 from Currys – buy here
This compact fryer is great for smaller homes and can be easily stored in a cupboard.
It has a 1l oil capacity but the rectangular fryer bowl means it can cook up to 0.6kg of food in one go.
The non-stick bowl and dishwasher safe parts will reduce your cleaning time.
8. Breville Easy Clean digital fryer
- Breville Easy Clean digital fryer, £52 from Very – buy here
This well-designed machine has an oil capacity of 2l and a food capacity of 1kg, meaning you don’t have to use as much oil as some of the other large capacity fryers.
The viewing window will let you check the progress of your food and there’s an odour filter fitted.
Even better, there’s a digital timer included to help you get perfect results every time.
9. Judge Electricals deep fat fryer
- Judge Electricals deep fat fryer, £38.99 from Wayfair – buy here
This mid-sized deep fat fryer from Judge Electricals has an oil capacity of 2.25l, making it ideal for couples or smaller families.
The lid, with a viewing window and odour filter, is completely removable for cleaning.
The fry basket also comes with a handle that folds down, meaning it’s really compact for storage.
Where to buy deep fat fryers
Deep fat fryers are widely available online.
Argos, Currys, Lakeland and AO.com all have a decent selection for the home and Nisbets has bigger commercial-sized fryers.
How much do deep fat fryers cost?
Depending on size and function, the cost of deep fat fryers can vary enormously. But you can buy a decent sized one for home use for around £50 to £100.
How to use a deep fat fryer
First, read the instructions for your deep fat fryer – every model is slightly different so you should follow the safety processes for your machine.
Make sure all of your ingredients are prepared before you start cooking, including patting dry anything that might be wet, like meat.
Any chopping and marinating can be done ahead of time but if you’re dipping things in batter, wait until your oil is ready.
The oil you use should be one with a high smoking point; vegetable or sunflower oil is ideal but definitely don’t use olive oil.
Pour the oil into the cooking chamber while the machine is off before turning it on and allowing it to heat up.
If your machine has a temperature indicator, this will show you when you’re ready to cook.
If not, you can test it with a bit of bread – if it turns golden in about 60 seconds, it’s a good temperature to cook. But if it happens in just a few seconds, your oil is way too hot and you’ll need to turn down the temperature and wait for the oil to cool down.
Depending on what you’re cooking, you can load the food into the fryer basket to lower it into the hot oil. For battered stuff, you’ll need to do it gently by hand using tongs and lower the food away from you rather than towards you to reduce splashing.
Never overfill or overheat your fryer – it can be dangerous and your food won’t be cooked properly.
To be extra safe, make sure you’re wearing a long sleeved top in a natural fabric to protect your arms from splash back and have a lid handy in case you need to cover the oil. And also make sure you know where the fire blanket is if you need to douse a fire.
For most foods, once the exterior is golden, it should be ready. You can lift it out of the fryer using the fryer basket and cut a little open to check.
Can I cook sausages in a deep fat fryer?
Yes, and fans swear by it.
But make sure you start the temperature low, or batter it, as otherwise the sausage can burst from the skin.
How to cook chips in a deep fat fryer
If you’re making chips from scratch, wash, peel (if you want to) and cut your potatoes into the desired size.
Presoak them in cold water for around 30 minutes before you fry them to draw out the starch and excess sugar.
Before you fry them, make sure you pat dry any moisture from the outside.
For shop bought chips, you can just cook from frozen.
To fry your chips, add them to the fryer basket once the oil is ready and lower it into the hot liquid.
Don’t fill more than a quarter of the basket as this will lower the oil temperature too much.
Each batch should take aro on the outside and check one to make sure it’s cooked through.
How to clean a deep fat fryer
Before you start, always check whether there are any special cleaning instructions for your fryer.
Make sure your fryer has fully cooled and is switched off and unplugged when you clean it.
The oil from the fryer needs to be completely drained into a separate container – it can be strained and reused if it hasn’t gone rancid or changed colour, otherwise it’ll need to be disposed of safely (in your bin in a sealed container like a plastic bottle).
Soak the fryer basket in your sink with some washing up liquid for at least half an hour and then scrub off any grease and stuck on bits with a soft brush.
Rinse it off and allow it to air dry.
For the fryer bowl, first wipe off any excess oil with some paper towel and scrape off any stuck on bits of food.
Then fill the bowl with hot water and a little bit of washing up liquid up to the oil line, allow the water to cool before you scrub out any greasy bits. Rinse out the washing up liquid with warm water and allow it to air dry.
For anything that’s not budging after soaking, use a baking soda paste to scrub it off and then rinse clean.
Follow the same process for the lid if your machine has one, making sure to remove the filter first.
As for the machine itself, just give it a wipe down with a damp cloth.
If there’s any grease on the exposed elements, put a couple of drops of washing up liquid on a damp cloth and wipe off the grease with it. Follow with another wipe down with a damp, soap-free cloth to remove any soap residue.
Once all of the bits are dry, you can reassemble it.
If you don’t use your deep fat fryer very much, you’ll need to clean it every time you use it. If you use it daily or a couple of times a week, you’ll need to clean it around two or three times a week.
Now that you've read our guide to deep fat fryers, check our some of our reviews for air fryers, including the Proscenic T21.
We also reviewed Ninja's Air Fryer Max.
And for serious cooks, we've rounded up the best multi-cookers.
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