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If you crave perfect french fries, super-crisp fried chicken, or homemade doughnuts, you need a deep fryer. While you can always fry 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 and less messy.
Not only do deep fryers monitor and maintain temperature, but they also automatically shut off if the oil starts to reach dangerously high temperatures. Many include extra features that make the job even simpler, but deep fryers 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 disposed of 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 regularly 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 it's since branched out to include a wide variety of high-quality kitchen products. This deep fryer checks all the boxes, including a removable 1800-watt immersion heating element that can heat the oil quickly and recover the temperature after food is added. Because of its compact size, many reviewers are happy with how easy it is to store and how little oil it requires, which results in an easier cleanup. However, they note that this is not for cooking large batches of food for large gatherings or big families.
You can adjust the temperature from 175 to 375 degrees with a simple dial, and a second dial lets you set the cooking time up to 30 minutes. The lights indicate that the cooker is on and when the temperature is reached.
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 after cooking. 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. Then, the basket, oil container, and lid are dishwasher-safe, so cleaning is effortless.
Dimensions: 16.5 x 11 x 12.25 inches | Capacity: 4 quarts | Power: 1800 watts
Best for Easy Oil Handling: T-fal FR8000 EZ Clean 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, the process can be messy. But this fryer practically does the work for you. Many reviewers gave the fryer points for how the oil strains and drains into the removable container below the fryer, providing easy clean-up and storage.
This fryer can hold up to 3.5 liters of oil, and it can cook over 2.65 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 quickly, and the temperature rebounds fast after adding food. As a bonus, the removable parts are all dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Dimensions: 18.3 x 13.7 x 14.8 inches | Capacity: 3.7 quarts | Power: 1700 watts
Best Budget: Presto 05420 FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer
Doesn't need much oil
Quick to heat up
Easy to use and store
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. Although the Presto FryDaddy is low-cost, flexible, and doesn't have temperature control, it maintains a proper frying temperature. Many customers love how easy it is to use: Simply turn it on, let it heat up, and start cooking. Customers also highlight the nonstick coating on the oil container, noting that it’s easy to clean even if you happen to burn something.
Since this deep fryer doesn’t have a basket to contain the food, it includes a scoop for draining the oil and lifting and removing the food. 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.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.35 x 7.5 inches | Capacity: 1 quart | Power: 1200 watts
“When deep frying, I prefer to keep things relatively small and room temperature. Too big of an item or frozen foods can cause the exterior to get overly crispy while the interior is still left uncooked. Some of my favorite fryable ingredients include french fries, fried okra or zucchini, and thinly sliced and pounded breaded chicken.” — Michelle Keldgord, Baker and Cofounder of BakingHow
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 from 16 to 18 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 after cooking. The basket is uniquely shaped to accommodate large 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 simultaneously, even if they are both small.
Dimensions: 16.46 x 18.43 x 14.8 inches | Capacity: 10.57 quarts | Power: 1650 watts
“Look for safety features like automatic shut-off and break-off cords. Also, consider how easy cleanup is, such as a detachable drain. Lastly, find the capacity you need. I suggest working in small batches, but someone familiar with deep dryers might want a bigger model to fit more foods.”— Michelle Keldgord, Baker and Cofounder of BakingHow
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 it's 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 doughnuts won’t taste like shrimp. Each tank holds a bit more than 10 quarts and the two 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 power cord, it’s easy to use just one side for small jobs. Each side draws significant power and should be plugged into separate circuits to avoid tripping breakers.
Dimensions: 22.44 x 17.13 x 11.81 inches | Capacity: 20.72 quarts | Power: 5000 watts
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 regulator kit, and a stainless steel braided hose.
Dimensions: 11.5 x 11.5 x 38.5 inches | Capacity: 16 quarts | Power: Propane
“For deep frying success, keep your temperature consistent. If your oil isn’t hot enough, it’s not going to deep fry. Most recipes require at least 375 degrees, although 400 or 450 degrees is ideal. Things like overcrowding your basket or dropping frozen foods into the oil will cause the temperature to dip, so keep an eye on it.”— Michelle Keldgord, Baker and Cofounder of BakingHow
Best Compact: Oster Compact Deep Fryer
Heats up quickly
Perfect for households with 1 to 2 people
Difficult to clean
With just a 1.5 liter capacity, this little fryer won’t use up a lot of oil and is ideal for cooking in small quantities. It’s great for fries, fritters, and doughnuts. The lid has an integrated filter to reduce oil splatter and a large top window so food can be easily monitored while it cooks. The temperature control has temperatures listed as well as icons for fish, fries, and poultry, so there’s no need to guess what temperature is needed for those commonly fried foods.
Although the frying pot has a nonstick coating, some reviewers still mention cleanup can be a hassle—particularly because the batches are so small.
Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.2 x 8.5 inches | Capacity: 1.5 liters | Power: 900 watts
The Cuisinart 4-Quart Deep Fryer 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 for even easier cleanup, the T-fal FR8000 EZ Clean Deep Fryer With Basket is a surefire bet.
What to Look for in 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 convenient when 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. However, certain foods and preparation methods call for oil to be heated 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. This way, you can hand-wash or place the parts in the dishwasher. If you are planning to reuse the oil, find a model that includes a timely notification to tell you when to replace the oil.
Your level of experience with deep-frying, your budget, and how frequently you’ll use the deep fryer 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 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.
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 that 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 backup 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. However, after that, you’ll need to stay on top of keeping it stocked.
How do you use a deep fryer?
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before use. Beyond that, plug it in, and pour your oil to the maximum fill line. Once filled, turn it on, set the temperature, and wait for it to heat up. Be sure whatever you are cooking is dry, and add it to the basket. Lower the basket into the hot oil, being careful of splatters. Let your item cook, and when finished, raise the basket and remove the food.
What type of oil can you use in a deep fryer?
According to Keldgord of BakingHow, “The best oils to use for deep fryers are ones with a high smoke point (these can withstand temperatures of 400 to 450 degrees without smoking). My all-time favorite is vegetable oil because it works with any deep-fried item. If you don’t have strictly vegetable oil, peanut oil and corn oil also work.”
Can you keep oil in a deep fryer when not in use?
The best way to store your oil for maximum shelf life is outside the fryer in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark space. It is also important to filter any food debris from the oil before storing it. Any food particles in the oil will hasten spoiling. If oil is properly filtered and stored, it can last up to three months.
If you want to leave your oil in the fryer, how often it is used dictates how long it lasts. Most oil needs to be changed after 10 uses.
How do you dispose of deep fryer oil?
Do not pour it down the drain. Not only is this bad for your pipes, but some areas have ordinances against it. You have a couple of options to properly dispose of oil: It can be poured into a sealable bag and thrown in the trash, or some places have organizations that recycle cooking oil.
Are there certain ingredients that don't deep fry well?
If you visit a state fair, you will realize anything can be deep fried, including lettuce. Texas State Fair food competitions brought the wonder of crispy fried lettuce balls with fresh cobb salad ingredients inside. The caveat with deep frying is to avoid foods with water on them, as it causes oil to pop, but if you have leftover cake batter, ice cream nearing freezer burn, or even some carrots lingering in your crisper, go for it.
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.
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 safety when frying those golden-brown fritters out with minimal oil residue and maximum crunch. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appétit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.