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If you crave perfect french fries, super-crisp fried chicken, or homemade doughnuts, you really do need a deep fryer. While you can always set up your own DIY fry station on your stovetop by adding oil to a saucepan or deep skillet and monitoring the temperature with a probe thermometer, a deep fryer makes the job easier, safer, and less messy.
Not only do deep fryers monitor and maintain the temperature, but they automatically shut off if the oil starts to reach dangerously high temperatures, and many also include extra features that make the job even easier. But deep fryers are not the most common appliance for a home cook to own and can be a big decision. While they're not as big or sturdy as a professional fryer, they still take up a lot of space, and the dirty oil needs to be regularly disposed of, ideally after each use. So, if you’re going to invest in your home kitchen and purchase a deep fryer, you want to make sure it’s an appliance you’ll use and maintain.
Here are the best deep fryers to satisfy all your fried-food cravings.
Best Overall: Cuisinart CDF-200P1 Deep Fryer
Heats up quickly
Easy to clean
Can only fry small batches
At one time, Cuisinart was most known for food processors, but since then it's branched out, making a wide variety of high-quality kitchen products. This deep fryer checks all the boxes for a deep fryer, including a removable 1800-watt immersion heating element that can heat the oil quickly and recover the temperature just as quickly after food is added. Because of its compact size, many reviewers are happy with how easy it is to store away, and how little oil it requires, because this means easier cleanup. However, they do note that this is not for cooking large batches of food for big gatherings or big families.
The temperature is adjustable from 175 to 375 degrees with a simple dial, and lights indicate that the cooker is on and when the temperature is reached. A second dial lets you set the cooking time up to 30 minutes.
The basket is made from stainless steel and has a handle that will stay cool while you’re cooking, so it will be easy to remove the basket, shake the food, or empty it when cooking is done. The removable lid has a small window so you can check the food as it fries. The cooking container has an enamel coating for easy cleaning and a pouring spout so you won’t make a mess when emptying the oil when cooking is done. Then, the basket, oil container, and lid are dishwasher safe, so cleaning is effortless.
Best for Easy Oil Handling: T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket
Heats up quickly
Frying basket can lift high and stay in place
Lid and oil container are removable
Actual frying space is not very deep
One of the least-liked tasks, when it comes to deep fryers, is handling the used oil. While it can be used several times if it’s strained well and stored properly, that process can be messy. This fryer practically does the work for you: Many reviewers gave the fryer points for how the oil strains and drains into an integrated container below the fryer, and that the container can be removed for easy clean-up and storage until the next use.
This fryer can hold up to 3 1/3 liters of oil, and it can cook over 2 1/2 pounds of food in one batch—though some customers note that the actual cooking space is not very deep, meaning they had to turn over most of the items they fried halfway through. The fryer basket can lift high and stay in place for draining excess oil from the just-fried food. The immersed heating element rapidly heats the oil, so it’s ready quickly and the temperature rebounds fast after food is added. When frying is done and the oil has drained, the removable parts are all dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Best Budget: Presto FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer
Doesn't need much oil
Quick to heat up
Easy to use and store
Lid is made of plastic
No splatter guard
This wallet-friendly deep fryer saves you money when you buy it, and it saves you money on oil costs since it’s designed to cook the food in just 4 cups of oil. Along with the lower cost comes less flexibility, since this has no temperature control, but it’s designed to maintain a proper frying temperature. Many customers love how easy it is to use: just turn it on, let it heat up, and start cooking. Another feature customers often highlight is how the oil container has a nonstick coating, so it’s easy to clean—even if you happen to burn something.
Since this doesn’t have a basket to contain the food, it includes a scoop for removing the food from the oil and allowing the oil to drain. If your oil is still usable, there’s a snap-on lid, so you can keep the oil right in the fryer to use the next day.
Best with Multiple Baskets: KRUPS KJ502D51 Deep Fryer
Quick to heat up
Four frying presets
Integrated odor filter
This handy fryer comes with three baskets. The large basket can be used on its own for big batches of food, or the two smaller baskets can be used at the same time to cook different foods separately. This holds a maximum of 4 1/2 liters of oil and can fry up to 2.6 pounds of food in a single batch. To make frying easy, it has four presets for popular fried foods: french fries, onion rings, doughnuts, and chicken. Those presets automatically set the proper temperature and cooking time, so there’s no need to double-check a recipe before cooking. It also has manual settings and a digital screen that make it easy to fry anything. Many reviewers say the fryer did well crisping up a wide variety of foods—from pork chops to jalapeño poppers to fish—without them coming out oily.
For safety, this KRUPS model has a breakaway cord, so the fryer won’t tip or fall if the cord is accidentally pulled. The heating element removes easily for cleaning, as does the frying bowl, and the baskets are top-rack dishwasher-safe. A large window on the top of the fryer makes it easy to safely monitor the food as it cooks, and an integrated odor filter helps reduce frying odors during cooking.
Best Extra-Large: Masterbuilt MB20012420 Electric Fryer Boiler Steamer
Easy to use and clean
Nice safety features
Can't fry multiple turkeys at once
The older version of this fryer included the Butterball brand, so you know it can handle turkey—and in this case, it can handle a bird up to at least 20 pounds. When turkey isn’t on the menu, of course, it can handle a neighborhood fish fry, chicken wings for football Sundays, and fresh french fries for a party. The lid is hinged and removable for easier cleaning, and the drain valve makes it simple to remove all of the oil when the cooking is done. The cooking basket is uniquely shaped to better accommodate larger poultry while the handle on the basket, along with the lifting hook, makes it safer to lift foods out of hot oil.
Not just for frying, this can also be used for boiling or steaming, so it’s great for cooking a large quantity of corn for a barbecue or for steaming seafood or vegetables any time. When it’s time for cleaning, the removable parts are dishwasher-safe. Reviewers note that while it can handle large turkeys, this device is not designed to handle multiple turkeys at once, even if they are both small.
Best Double Fryer: VIVOHOME Large Capacity Electric Deep Fryer
Good safety features
Heats up quickly
Uses a lot of power
If deep-frying is a passion, this deep fryer may be the answer. It’s built for commercial use, but affordable enough for home kitchens. It has two separate sections for deep-frying, each with its own heater and controls, so the fries can stay separate from the fish, and the donuts won’t taste like shrimp. Each tank holds a bit over 10 quarts and the rectangular baskets hold just over 6 quarts, so there’s plenty of room to cook for a crowd.
There are covers for the tanks and cool-touch handles on the baskets for safe frying. Since each side has its own power and its own power cord, it’s easy to use just one side for small jobs. Since each side draws significant power, they should be plugged in to separate circuits to avoid tripping breakers.
Best Outdoor: Bayou Classic 4-Gallon Bayou Fryer
Safe and efficient design
Oil stays clean
Holds heat well so uses less propane
Not for beginners
Not for the novice, propane fryers are usually much larger than their electric counterparts and pose more risks. However, if you're looking to deep-fry large slabs of meat—like a whole chicken—and have space outdoors, Bayou Classic is a trusted brand. This 4-gallon, stainless steel model is designed with efficiency and safety in mind. The V-bottom design keeps the base temperature cooler than the top frying temperature so you don't burn your batter. It also keeps the oil cleaner, and according to the manufacturer, you can reuse your oil for multiple fried meals.
It comes with two stainless steel baskets, which feature cool-touch handles, a temperature gauge, drain valve, 10 PSI preset regulator, and a stainless steel braided hose.
The Cuisinart 4-Quart Deep Fryer (view at Amazon) has everything you'd want in a deep fryer: It heats up quickly, is easy to clean and store away, and is well-built. Plus, it has a pouring spout for easy draining. If you're looking to fry multiple foods at once, go for the triple-basket KRUPS KJ502D51 Deep Fryer (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying a Deep Fryer
By Sara Tane
Probably the most important thing to consider is safety, especially if you’re a novice fryer. Bringing oil to such a high temperature can not only be dangerous for you, but it also poses a higher risk for a fire than any other cooking technique. Regardless of which deep fryer you purchase, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the instruction manual before using it. For the most part, electric deep fryers are generally safer than propane fryers because there is less risk of oil splattering.
Always look for models that offer safety features, such as automatic shutoff, a cool-touch exterior, a splatter guard, a lid, or a magnetic break-off cord (so that you never have to worry about the hot oil spilling out of the machine). Choose a model that comes with an in-depth instruction packet with clear safety and usage instructions.
Size and Capacity
The size of your deep fryer will determine how much food can be fried at once. If you're typically cooking for large gatherings (or maybe frying your turkey for the holidays), look for a larger fryer with a roomy oil chamber. If you're cooking something on the smaller side, like fish or sides for yourself or a small family, you can sacrifice depth and go with a more compact fryer. Just make sure your kitchen can afford the counter space, even if you only have the device out when you’re using it.
Another thing to consider is the size of the baskets. Smaller baskets can be nice if you’re frying different things at the same time; however, if you want to fry multiple foods at once in a large basket, you can simply remove something that’s done cooking by pulling it out with a pair of tongs.
Ideally, deep fryers should be able to reach 375 degrees, but certain foods and preparation methods call for oil anywhere from 275 to 400 degrees, so you should be able to either manually adjust the temperature or use pre-programmed settings. It’s important to look at models that come with a built-in thermometer or consider buying a thermometer separately.
Draining oil after the fryer cools down can be precarious. For this reason, some models offer safety features—a removable oil container, a scoop to remove food debris, or a pouring spout for dirty oil—that simplify the process. Many deep fryers also have a nonstick coating or the frying basket, lid, heating element, and other parts are removable. That way they can be hand-washed or placed in the dishwasher. If you are planning to re-use oil, find a model that includes a timely notification to tell you when to replace the oil.
Deep fryers run anywhere from $30 to $500. Your level of experience with deep-frying, budget, and how frequently you’ll use the appliance are factors to consider. The more budget-friendly options tend to struggle to maintain heat and might not be as durable. If you simply want an appliance to experiment with deep-frying, something on the cheaper end of the spectrum would be a great place to start. If you plan to deep-fry larger quantities of food on a more frequent basis, you’ll want a fryer that is reliable, sturdy, and maintains temperature.
Types of Deep Fryers
Propane deep fryers are definitely a tool for an experienced home cook that is familiar with deep-frying. Because they offer fewer safety features, it’s important to understand how the fryer works and practice extreme caution when using one. They are typically bigger than an electric model, making them ideal for large cuts of meat (they're the only deep fryer you’ll fit your holiday turkey in). That said, it is best to use equipment like this outside, where it is safer and there is more space.
This is the most common type of deep fryer in home kitchens. These models are typically on the smaller side and are not suitable for larger proteins. An electric fryer is ideal for someone new to deep-frying, as it's extremely safe (models are programmed with a slew of safety features to prevent any accidents) and fine to use indoors.
For a sturdy, electric deep fryer that is going to suit someone who is deep-frying frequently, a Cuisinart is a great brand. While it may cost a bit more, this appliance will get the job done and last a long time. If you’re brand new to deep-frying, you might want to try out a cheaper deep fryer or even just deep-fry on your stovetop before investing in a Cuisinart.
If you’re in the market for an outdoor propane fryer to cook large proteins, this brand is the way to go. Known for quality deep fryers that are sturdy and long-lasting, Bayou makes a variety of higher-end, large deep fryers. If you’ve never deep-fried before, this is probably not the best option for you.
If you’re a total deep-fryer novice, this is the brand for you. Not only is it budget-friendly, but its fryers don’t require as much oil as others. While it does not offer temperature options, that may not be a huge loss if you aren't used to having them.
Known for its electric models with nonstick enamel-coated containers, Hamilton Beach's deep fryers start at a reasonable price. With adjustable temperature control and splatter guards, this is a great option for a home cook who wants to experiment with deep-frying.
If you’re nervous about cleaning out oil, this line of fryers is known for its easy-cleaning design. The dirty oil filters into a container below the fryer, which can then be removed for easy cleanup. While it might cost a few extra bucks, this brand makes fryers that heat well and offer a wide variety of features.
When it’s time to clean out the dirty oil in your deep fryer, the most important thing is to make sure your machine is unplugged and the oil has completely cooled. Remove the frying basket and place it in hot, soapy water. Sometimes baskets and other containers in the deep fryer are dishwasher-safe, so consult your manual before washing. Remove all the used oil (via an oil pump, if you have one) and transfer it to a storage container. Dispose of it in the trash can. While the fryer is empty, scrape down the sides to loosen up food particles. Use a soapy sponge or rag to clean the inside and rinse with hot water. Dry with a towel and allow to completely air-dry before refilling with fresh oil.
While most deep fryers come with baskets, you might want to purchase additional ones to have more options. If you don’t want to pull all your food out of the fryer at once in a large basket, look for smaller baskets, which will allow you to cook multiple things at once.
Most fryers have a built-in thermometer that can adjust and maintain a temperature. It’s not a bad idea to keep a back-up thermometer on hand to make sure your machine is reading temperatures correctly. If your machine doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, buying a separate one is highly recommended.
Some fryers are not designed with cleaning in mind, so if that’s the case, you might need to look for an oil pump to carefully and safely drain dirty cooking oil. This will make the process of transferring oil to a storage container much easier.
If you opted for a propane burner, you’re going to need some propane to get it going. Sometimes the first tank is included, but after that, you’ll need to stay on top of keeping it stocked.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author and writer for The Spruce Eats. She knows her way around frying. In addition to our top picks for deep fryers, Donna's also written roundups on the best turkey fryers, Instant Pots, and toaster ovens.