Is there anything more delicious than a fried delicacy? We don’t think. With a deep fryer for your home, you can easily prepare and enjoy fried food at any time – without having to visit a trade fair. “There are so many things you can cook in a fryer: chicken, fish, tempura, onion rings, fries. If you bread your choice of food properly, you can even fry ice cream or candy bars,” says celebrity chef Cordell Robinson. There’s also the option of deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving (this is the preferred method for ‘The Millers’ star JB Smoove), although it’s imperative that you do it in a fryer that’s designed for the purpose. When fried ice cream and turkey aren’t enough, deep fryers are also great for making frozen foods on the fly.
To find the best deep fryers on the market, our testers took 17 on a test run, cooking up homemade fries, frozen chicken tenders, french fries, and yes, even turkey. They ranked them on ease of setup, heat retention, size, added features, safety and ease of cleaning. The Breville Smart Fryer was deemed the best overall due to its clever safety measures and beginner-friendly features, but there are six others that have received our PEOPLE Tested seal of approval.
These are the seven best deep fryers PEOPLE has tested.
Things to consider before buying a deep fryer
To choose the right fryer for you, consider how much fried food you will be cooking at one time. “Knowing how many batches you want to fry can help you decide what size fryer to choose,” says Laurie Klein, head of the test kitchen at Hamilton Beach Brands. Remember that the listed oil capacity is higher than the food capacity because more oil is needed to completely surround and cover the food during frying. For example, a 12-cup fryer can fry up to 8 cups of food.
While some fryers offer temperature presets, one of the most important things to look for is an easy-to-read temperature gauge. Private chef Lexis Gonzalez says making sure you can easily see and keep track of your fryer’s temperature is essential. Our top pick, the Breville Smart Fryer has seven preset settings as well as an easy-to-read digital temperature display.
Eating fried food can be a fun, nostalgic experience, but wipe away the grease? Nobody enjoys this experience. “Nobody likes a high-maintenance appliance, so think about how easy it is to clean and maintain,” emphasizes Chef Cordell. Most of the fryers on our list have removable parts that are all dishwasher safe, and some have special features that capture and trap oil, making cleaning less of a headache.
frequently asked Questions
What is the difference between a deep fryer and an air fryer?
Deep fryers cook food by immersing and surrounding it in hot oil. “The hot oil allows moisture in the food to evaporate and cooks the food at the same time,” says Klein. On the other hand, air fryers technically don’t fry. According to Klein, air fryers typically have a heating mechanism and fan at the top of the cooking chamber, and the hot air circulates around the food to cook it. “The rapid air movement creates a convection effect to cook and brown the food by evaporating the moisture in the food,” she explains.
What can you cook in a fryer?
You can fry almost anything you can eat. Frozen foods are easy to fry, but you can also bread things like veggies, lobster tails, and even ice cream before throwing them in your fryer. “Frying can go as far as your imagination,” says Chef Cordell.
How do you clean a fryer?
First, discard all the oil. Chef Lexis suggests tossing it in a heavy plastic container once it’s completely cooled. “I mix Dawn dish soap and Ajax or baking soda to get all the dirt and grease out, then give it a good wash,” she says. (Check the instructions for your specific model, as many of them have a dishwasher-safe basket.) Next, wipe your fryer with a paper towel and make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away. Wipe down the base with hot, soapy water, but be careful not to completely submerge the heating element in water, which could cause damage, Klein notes.
As we tested
We tested 17 deep fryers in our lab to find the best for every home cook. To evaluate each fryer’s performance, our testers cooked homemade potato chips, frozen chicken breast fillets, frozen french fries, and turkey (when applicable) in each fryer. They paid close attention to how quickly the oil heated, how evenly the food cooked and of course how it tasted. They also rated each model in categories such as ease of setup, heat retention, size, additional features, safety, and overall value. They also considered the ease of cleaning and whether they would recommend (or buy for themselves) the fryer to family or friends.
What is tested on people?
To help you find the best products for your life, we created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their potency, durability, ease of use and more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But that’s not all: we also regularly review the categories in which we have awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval – because today’s best product may not be tomorrow’s best. By the way, companies can never Our purchase recommendation: Your products must be earned fairly.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust – every day, with every purchase.
Want more product recommendations? Check out all of our People Tested content.