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Frying food at home can be daunting. Oil needs to be temperature controlled, arms must be protected from splatter, and then there's the resting part, when sogginess can steal the thunder of your golden-brown chicken thigh. If you have a deep fryer and want to try your hand at some fried nibbles, certain accessories will aid in your success.
You don’t need everything when you first get into the frying game, so be sure to evaluate what you have and will be using your fryer for before purchasing too many tools. Do you need an injector if you just plan to fry doughnuts and tostones? Probably not, but you do need a spider and a rack/sheet pan set to get the crispiest end result.
Another consideration is ease of cleaning. Frying can be messy enough with oil filtering and counter splatters, so look for accessories that offer the most approachable cleaning solutions—perhaps those you can simply wipe down or throw in the dishwasher. And, for safety, consider what will keep you burn-free: Long handles, gloves that cover your forearms, and baskets that don’t get fiery hot are all important as you venture into deep frying.
From long-handled locking tongs to perforated poultry racks, these are the best deep fryer accessories.
Best Skimmer: Hiware 5.4-Inch Stainless Steel Skimmer
Double coil design
Long, ergonomic handle
To protect yourself while removing food from hot oil, get yourself a skimmer. The long 15.5-inch handle, and wide 5.4-inch round mesh spider allows enough space between your hand and fryer, while affording the most real estate to grab your fried delicacies. This Hiware model is made of food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, which is heat-resistant and durable.
The double-coil design promises a faster, larger grab of food at one time with little oil retention. The hanging hole at the end of the handle makes for easy storage, and it's dishwasher safe for convenient cleanup.
Size: 15.5 inches x 5.4 inches x 1.6 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Thermometer: CDN Digital Deep Fry Programmable Thermometer
Long probe with sleeve
Pre-programmed temperature settings
Slight learning curve
Condensation may affect display
Oil temperature is key when it comes to frying. Too hot and your food may cook too quickly outside, while staying raw inside. Too cold and it may absorb too much oil and become soggy. The CDN Digital has a large display that makes reading the temperature a breeze.
It has seven pre-programmed temperature settings, as well as one all-purpose setting. All you have to do is set it and wait for the alarm to let you know it's within 3 degrees of your desired temperature. It goes one step further with the dual-progress display, which tracks the set temperature as well as the current temperature. The range is generous at 40 to 450 degrees.
Beyond the functional design of the CDN Digital are the extras, like the adjustable, stainless steel clip and heat shield that protects the thermometer from hot liquids. The probe is long, has a protective sheath, and wipes clean with a damp cloth.
Display: Digital | Power: Battery-powered | Temperature Range: Up to 450 degrees
“The best way to know when your food is cooked through is always to use a probe thermometer, especially for proteins. Make sure you know the recommended cooking temperatures for proteins and take the food temperature in multiple locations. The internal temperature can vary wildly only an inch away, especially if you're frying anything with the bone still in.” — Todd Ferensak, Culinary Director at Citizen Chicken and Donuts
Best Gloves: Heatsistence Long Sleeve Grill Gloves
Length provides maximum protection
Easy to clean
Deep frying foods without risk of splatter burns is pretty attractive, and the Heatsistance Long Sleeve Neoprene Gloves are heat resistant up to an enviable 932 degrees. With 18 inches of oil-resistant, FDA-rated, food-grade neoprene, your forearms will be amply covered. They are stain resistant, non-slip, and wash easily with soap and water.
The gloves are double-layer cotton-lined for comfort and breathability. The flexible, loose fit allows good air circulation. These gloves are a versatile accessory, as well. You can add them to your grilling arsenal as the neoprene coating is resistant to melting, allowing you to easily handle hot pots, pans, grills, and even scorching hot meats. They also are great for brewing beer. And, the textured palm makes it easy to grip and handle smaller cooking tools like basting brushes or tongs.
Material: Neoprene | Size: 18 inches | Temperature Range: Heat resistant up to 936 degrees
Best Basket: Winco 9-Inch Round Wire Fry Basket
Sometimes you need more baskets than what's included with your deep fryer, and the Winco Round Wire Fry Basket offers the versatility of use beyond the traditional fryer. You can drop it in a cast iron or Dutch oven for a convenient stovetop application. The 9-inch size is ideal for making fries, shrimp tempura, or even straining pasta and is a great choice for small kitchens. where a countertop deep fryer isn't always an option.
Known for its durable, high-volume commercial kitchen products, Winco creates reliable kitchen accessories for the home cook, as well. The stainless steel, nickel-plated round fryer basket is stylish and has a loop handle for hanging storage.
Size: 9 inches | Material: Stainless steel, nickel-plated | Shape: Round
Depending on what you're frying, you may want to brine or soak your protein in a solution to help season your product and make sure it stays tender and juicy throughout the process, Ferensak says. If using a dry crust, season that mix. If using a batter, season that, too. Finally (and most importantly), when the food comes out of the fryer, season again immediately while it's still glistening. This ensures the seasoning will stick to the food and give you the best flavor possible, he adds.
Best Poultry Rack: Bayou Classic 0835 Complete Poultry Frying Rack
Comes with accessories
Metal is thin
Fried turkey has become a popular preparation for Thanksgiving celebrations as well as backyard picnics, and it's so good—crispy, crackly skin with a moist, juicy, and tender inside. The Bayou Classic Complete Poultry Frying Rack has everything you need to fry a whole 18-pound turkey or three chickens. This set fits any standard turkey fryer and includes the perforated aluminum rack, a large lift hook, a seasoning injector, a 12-inch probe thermometer, and a three-piece skewer set.
The rack is crafted from durable stainless steel and finished in aluminum that's resistant to rust, but still lightweight. The Barbour family has been crafting Bayou Classic outdoor cooking equipment for 30 years, so you know you're buying a reliable product for your next fried poultry endeavor.
Size: 9.5 x 13 inches | Material: Stainless steel, aluminum finish | Lift Hook Included: Yes
“Line a sheet tray with paper towels or napkins, and place a wire cooling rack on top of that. Place your food here to allow it to drain. The air flow under the food on the elevated tray allows for the oil to drip off the food and remain crispy, and then be collected in the paper towels. If we sat the food directly on the towels, the food would lose its crisp and absorb the oil back into it.” — Todd Ferensak, Culinary Director at Citizen Chicken & Donuts
Best Set: Nordic Ware Rimmed Half Sheet With Nonstick Grid
Tight grid design
Does not warp or bend
The secret to crispy fried chicken is not the frying—it's what you do with the chicken when it's finished. A reliable wire rack and baking sheet are the secret weapons of fried foods. The elevated wire rack allows your parsnip chips and buttermilk doughnuts the opportunity to rest, release extra grease, and get airflow to keep them from getting soggy.
The Nordic Ware Half Sheet Set is crafted from durable aluminum with a galvanized steel rim, which guarantees they will never rust or warp. The tight grid design of the rack ensures food will not slip through or continue steaming, and the air circulation halts cooking, so no mushy fritters. This set is versatile enough to use for baked goods, bacon, or even roasted veggies.
Oven Safe: Up to 400 degrees | Material: Aluminum | Dimensions: 12 x 17 inches
Best Tongs: OXO 12-Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
Convenient storage loop
Will scratch nonstick pans
Locking mechanism can be tricky
A good pair of tongs can be found in kitchens everywhere from commercial to cozy homes. The Oxo Good Grips Locking Tongs are constructed from brushed stainless steel with cushioned non-slip handles and thumb rests for comfortable grip. The locking tongs with a hanging loop store easily, and the scalloped edges allow a secure grasp on a myriad of food products from whole poultry to delicate stuffed squash blossoms.
These tongs are heat-resistant up to 600 degrees, making them ideal for high-heat deep fryers, and they can serve double duty as grill accessories, too. The tongs are thick, but balanced, and have a sturdy spring, which means less pressure exerted from you. The 12-inch length keeps you protected from splatter while still offering good mobility. They're dishwasher safe.
Size: 12 inches | Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
“If the bubbles around your food start to slow down or stop, take your food out. This means the water content of your food is running out," Ferensak says. "The less bubbles you see when frying, the more likely you are to have oil soaking into your food while it cooks. Those steam bubbles coming out of your food actually help protect your food from oil getting into it."
Best Grease Strainer: Sumerflos Grease Strainer and Container
Easy to clean
Curved spout for pouring
Edges around top sharp
Often overlooked in the deep fryer setup, a grease strainer and container are necessary for maximum filtering and reuse of oil. Constant refilling of oil can be costly (and messy), but with a strainer and container, you can easily clean oil of food debris, store, and recycle it on your next round of hand-cut fries. The Sumerflos Stainless Steel Grease Strainer and Container is made of food-grade, 18/8 stainless steel offering reliable grease filtration, as well as attractive storage. It is rust-resistant, high-heat-resistant, durable, and the ergonomic handle coupled with the curved spout makes for mess-free dispensing.
One of the best features of the Sumerflos system is the ease of cleaning. Everything is dishwasher safe, including the mesh filters. The wide, dust-proof lid keeps oil clean, and the anti-slip base prevents slippage when pouring oil into the container. The 1.3-quart capacity is the right size for most home deep fryers or even if you just have a little bacon grease left over after breakfast.
Dimensions: 6.8 x 6 x inches | Capacity: 1.2 liters | Material: Stainless steel
“You want an oil that has very little flavor of its own so that the food shines through. You also want to take into account the smoke point, as those oils will burn and potentially ignite if they get too hot. Pick something like vegetable oil, canola oil, soy oil, or peanut oil. All have relatively high smoke points and very little flavor to impart on the food you will be cooking in it." — Todd Ferensak, Culinary Director at Citizen Chicken and Donuts
What to Look for in Deep Fryer Accessories
Ease of Use and Cleaning
As with any kitchen tool you purchase, ease of cleaning is a priority. A deep fryer has its own cleaning requirements, so you don’t want to load up on accessories that require intricate cleaning, too. Look for dishwasher-safe tools when you can or items that wipe clean easily with a damp cloth or some soap. Don't buy an accessory that you think seems cool, but will never use because of a complicated setup or cleaning.
When looking at deep fryer accessories, it can be easy to start collecting more than you need. It's important to keep in mind what you're using your fryer for and what tools will facilitate preparing those items. There are some basics, like a thermometer and spider, that will make any meal easier, but you may not need a new rack/sheet pan set if you already have one for baking. Ultimately, look at what you already have and make sure you're not duplicating or buying a single-use accessory that may just clutter up your drawers.
With some items, you don’t have a choice about storage options, like the poultry fryer—the size and configuration is what it is. But, when possible, look for accessories that offer good storage options, like loops to hang, compact size, or, if all else fails, an attractive design, so it can sit on the counter. You don’t want to buy another piece that gets lost in the gadget drawer.
Can you use a plastic skimmer and tongs for deep frying?
It's not recommended to use plastic with deep frying, as the temperatures can be so high it may melt or warp the plastic, which can possibly release toxins into your food. Some silicone-coated items can be used, but check the manufacturer label for heat resistance.
Can you use a candy or barbecue thermometer for deep frying?
The simple answer is yes. Candy and barbecue thermometers are made to register higher heats, and deep frying requires oil to be in the 375-degree range.
How do you clean a deep fryer basket?
Make sure everything is shut off, unplugged, and cooled down before you start cleaning. Remove the fryer basket. From there, it's relatively easy as long as you maintain your baskets and don’t let grease build up.
Mix a solution of 9/10 vinegar and 1/10 water. Dip a cloth in the mixture and wipe down your basket fully. Most debris should come right off. Then, rinse and allow to dry. If stubborn grease remains, try filling a sink with warm, soapy water and add a capful of vinegar. Soak your baskets for 30 minutes, wipe down, and rinse.
Can you deep fry a turkey in a basket?
According to Butterball, yes—it's a great way to fry a turkey without having to be outside in the elements. Here are a few tips from the company:
For a bird 14 pounds or less, you can fry it whole. For more than that, separate the legs and thighs, and fry them separately from the breast. Do not stuff the turkey. It helps to submerge the basket in 375-degree oil for 30 seconds prior to cooking.
That said, a basket is generally rectangular in shape and turkeys are round. You don’t want to crowd your turkey, so be sure your basket size is conducive to the size of your turkey.
How do you dispose of fryer grease?
Do not put it down your drain. Oil and grease is liquid when it's hot, but cools to a more solid form that will clog your plumbing. As the grease collection grows, it will begin to stop up your sinks and toilets.
The correct way to dispose of grease if you're not recycling your oil for future use is to put it in the trash can. Do not do this when it's still hot. Let the oil or grease cool and solidify, and then transfer it to a container that can be disposed of. If the container isn't full, hang onto it for the next grease removal to cut down on garbage. Place the full container in a plastic bag to prevent any spills, and throw it away.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has an unnatural love for crispy on the outside, soft on the inside homemade corn fritters. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding the right tool for the right job. She loves her Hiware Spider for plucking those golden-brown fritters out with minimal oil residue and maximum crunch. Her work has appeared in many publications. including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.