The best deep fryer has

  • Ample capacity. When buying a deep fryer, you need to know how many people you'll be serving and whether you'll have time to fry multiple batches of foods. If you like to make quick meals and you feed three to four family members, a 12-cup deep fryer will better suit your needs.
  • Higher power. Deep fryers with higher wattage have stronger heating elements. This helps heat the oil to the desired temperature more quickly, so you wait a shorter time for your deep-fried delights.
  • An adjustable temperature. While the ideal frying temperature for most foods is 375 degrees Fahrenheit, an adjustable temperature provides versatility for cooking different types of food.
  • A solid warranty. Several problems can occur with deep fryers, including malfunctioning heating elements and broken knobs, among others. Most deep fryers have a one-year warranty to cover defects resulting from manufacturing.

Know before you go

Where will you store your deep fryer? Some deep fryers have an attractive stainless steel finish that makes it suitable to leave out on a countertop. But if you're an infrequent fryer, you probably don't want an unused appliance taking up valuable counter space. Measure your available space and choose a deep fryer that will fit in it.

Do you enjoy different cooking methods? A few deep fryers have features that make them useful for multiple purposes. The T-fal ActiFry, for instance, can make risotto and a variety of other foods, while other fryers double as steamers or boilers. If you like to experiment, choose a deep fryer with a little versatility.

Will you reuse the oil? Whether you want to recycle or just save money, you'll probably want to use the same oil at least a few times. Opt for a deep fryer with built-in filtration or a drainage system that can be easily configured with your own filtration method, so you can store the oil for later use.

What's to come

Deep-frying is one cooking method that's often criticized for introducing added fats into many foods. However, they can be useful for families on special diets; those who eat gluten-free, for example, can't eat many of the pre-breaded foods available at restaurants. And home deep fryers aren't likely to fade into the background. More versatile and innovative options that improve the healthfulness of fried foods are expected to hit the market in the near future. Whether that means you use a healthier oil for cooking or bread your own chicken and fish -- or even use a deep fryer that requires no oil at all -- owners with specific needs and preferences have lots of alternatives.

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