Who doesn't love fresh, hot french fries, onion rings, chicken tenders, and other fried goodies? Deep frying gives foods a crispy, crunchy exterior and a soft, tender interior by cooking them quickly in extremely hot oil.
Deep frying on your stovetop can be a serious hassle, making an electric deep fryer a good investment if you're a fan of fried foods. An electric deep fryer has a basket that makes it easy to insert and remove food from the hot oil and minimize oil splatter. Best of all, it takes all the guesswork out of reaching and maintaining the right oil temperature.
Check out our buying guide to choose the best electric deep fryer for your kitchen. Our top pick from T-fal is extremely easy to clean thanks to its detachable components and nonstick interior.
Considerations when choosing electric deep fryers
An electric deep fryer should be large enough to prepare fried foods for your family without requiring you to fry too many batches. Most fryers range from four to 17 cups in capacity. A four-cup fryer can usually prepare two small servings, while a six-cup model can typically prepare two large servings. A 12-cup deep fryer is usually large enough to make enough food for a family.
If you want to use your deep fryer for cooking a whole turkey or chicken, you need one with a 15-cup or larger capacity.
Deep frying can be fairly dangerous due to the hot oil, so it's important to choose an electric deep fryer with the proper safety features. Here's what to look for:
A cool-touch exterior, which prevents the deep fryer from getting hot on the outside so you don't accidentally get burned. Auto-shutoff, which means that the deep fryer automatically turns itself off if the oil becomes too hot, so you don't have to worry about it combusting. A breakaway or detachable cord, which prevents the whole fryer from tipping over and spilling hot oil across your kitchen if someone accidentally snags the cord.
While you can purchase a separate thermometer, a built-in thermostat makes it much easier to operate an electric deep fryer. It lets you set and maintain the right temperature for the oil without needing to check it constantly.
An electric deep fryer usually has a basket that allows you to lower your food in and remove your food from the hot oil. To make sure that the food isn't too greasy, some models have hooks on the side of the fryer to hang the basket on after pulling it out so the oil can fully drain off.
Most electric deep fryers have a single basket for food, which makes it difficult to make more than one type of fried food at a time. Some models have two or three baskets so you're able to cook french fries and chicken tenders at the same time without mixing the foods together.
Cleaning an electric deep fryer can be tough, so a model with a nonstick interior can be a lifesaver. You can wipe down the interior without having to scrub too much, risking damage to the fryer.
You can reuse the oil that you deep fry in to avoid waste, but oil goes rancid over time. To make sure you never fry in bad oil, opt for a model with an oil-change notification feature that lets you know that it's time for fresh oil.
Electric deep fryer prices
Electric deep fryers vary in price based on their capacity and special features. Small models range from $22 to $50, while mid-size options cost between $50 and $120. Large electric deep fryers that can accommodate a whole chicken or turkey run from $120 and $200.
Q. What foods can I prepare in an electric deep fryer?
A. You can deep fry a wide range of foods, but some of the most common options include french fries, onion rings, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, fried shrimp, fish filets, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, corn dogs, whole turkeys, and whole chickens.
Q. What oils should I use in an electric deep fryer?
A. You should use an oil with a high smoke point and neutral flavor. Peanut oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, and rice bran oil are all ideal options.
Electric deep fryers we recommend
Best of the best: T-fal Immersion Deep Fryer
Our take: Its outstanding performance and ease of use help this deep fryer stand out among its competitors.
What we like: Offers over 2.5 pounds of food capacity. Oil-filtration system makes it easy to reuse oil. Detachable dishwasher-safe components and nonstick interior make cleanup a breeze. Window in lid allows you to monitor food without splattering oil. Filter prevents odors from building up in your kitchen.
What we dislike: Fryer basket can be tough to clean because it isn't nonstick.
Best bang for your buck: Cuisinart Deep Fryer
Our take: Offers one of the largest cooking capacities on the market but still comes at a budget-friendly price point.
What we like: Provides a 2.3-pound food capacity. Maintains oil heat extremely well. Includes three baskets with cool-touch handles and a removable stainless steel oil container with pouring spout. Works well for a family.
What we dislike: Cord is somewhat short. Can be tough to strain oil for reuse.
Choice 3: Presto CoolDaddy Deep Fryer
Our take: An affordable, portable deep fryer that works well for couples and small families.
What we like: Features an adjustable thermostat for easy temperature control. Indicator light alerts you when oil is ready for deep frying. Cover locks to prevent spills. Boasts a charcoal filter to control odors. Frying pot is removable for easy cleanup.
What we dislike: Heating element isn't as powerful as some of the competition.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.