Deep fryer?


#1

Many moons ago - around 30 years or so - I bought a DeLonghi deep fryer. And it NEVER WORKED. The thermostat was wonky and it was about 30 degrees F off so even at the top setting, it would never get hot enough.

So much for paying a premium price in the hopes of getting a quality item.

I’ve been looking at deep fryers again and every time I think I’ve found one that might suit, turns out there are a scad of complaints about the thermostat being off by 30 or 40 degrees and getting no help from the manufacturer (return the item for warranty repair, get something back that STILL HAS THE SAME PROBLEM - if they’ll let you ship it back to them on your dime at all).

IS there a deep fryer out there that isn’t too big and can be plugged into a preferably 15A but no more than a 20A circuit, AND maintains even temp at the proper setting? Could be a commercial unit, if it meets the electrical requirements of being limited to use in a residential kitchen.


#2

Not really answering your question - LOL. But I donated my fryer. Thanks to former Chowhound Alan Barnes I now use a Dutch oven for frying. Safe distance from the top of the oil to the top of the pot. Just an fyi.


(Tom) #3

I don’t own one but have often thought about it. The 2 that I see often are the Waring & the Vollrath. Webrestaurant store has both. They seem to be light commercial units in the $250. - $300 range. The smaller ones (10 lb) are standard household current.


(Vanessa) #4

I have one that seems to be fairly accurate, but it is such a PIA to drain the oil and clean out the sludge, that I never never never use it and finally donated it. I would just suggest a basic thermometer and your dutch oven that Cath is also recommending. So much easier to strain the oil and wash up.


(Kaleo) #5

Hi, Pywacket:

If you’re familiar with my posts from “that other board”, you know I’m not a fan of induction. However, I’m going to–qualifiedly–recommend a PIC here. The reasons?

–Newer PICs are being fitted with ever-finer power gradations (Vollrath’s Mirage Pro comes with 100), so you can truly dial in the heat. But these are not budget MIC models.
–A 1500W or 1800W PIC will have plenty of power to heat a wide range of oil volumes, which will make for faster, more even batches.
–You will have a hard time catching yourself or your home on fire.
–It will clean up easily.
–You can use it for other things.

IMO, the only real advantages of the dedicated 110V fry appliances are: (a) better ones come with oil filtration (so you don’t have to toss your oil every time you cook, saving $$); and (b) many come with covers, which keep spatter and smell down. But as you’ve discovered, if the thermostat is crap, or the oil reservoir is small, these are small comforts because you’ll get crappy results and so won’t use the appliance.

A Vollrath Pro (110VAC/15Amp) is $500, but you probably already have the pot. So you would need a decent thermometer and a cheap basket on top of that and would be good to go.

The latest/greatest home fryer is the T-Fal FR8000, which LOOKS like a light commercial unit. But it only holds a max of 3.5L of oil, and–supposedly–2.6 lbs of food (I don’t believe the poundage). Contrast this with even a middling 8Q stockpot, which will easily and safely hold 5Q of oil. To get real light commercial features in a tabletop unit, bring >$1,500, easy.

There are two other options. (A) If you are handy, you can use a cheap electric coil hotplate fitted with a PID controller. (B) If you don’t mind small batches AND you like broasted foods, there are a few pressure cookers out there which are approved for pressure frying. I have an 8Q and like it a lot. See, http://www.pro-selections.com/uses-as-a-pressure-fryer/ An advantage of both (A) and (B) is that you can use the controller and PC for other things, and hence avoid the One Trick Pony aspect of countertop appliances.

Hope this helps.

Aloha,
Kaleo


#6

Just quoting a small part so I don’t clog up the whole thread, LOL!

I have no idea what a “PIC” is (or a “MIC” either) but I’m not in the market for an induction cooker. The only thing I would ever use it for would be the deep frying thing, and having one of those on the counter would only make my height-deficit both more obvious, and more dangerous - since the top of the pot would now be higher than I could see to look into it.

Also, induction cookers are too finicky for me. Only certain pans will work on them at all. My deep fry pan is aluminum, I am pretty sure - if so, it won’t work on induction at all.

And the thermostat in an induction unit only controls the heat output - you still have to stand there with a deep-fry thermometer (most of which are not all that accurate these days either, I went through at least 3 oven thermometers not long ago before I finally gave up). Or am I wrong about that - do they have a sturdy sensor that would measure the oil temp? That would be almost cool enough to make me reconsider, LOL!

Thanks for the idea - but I am most definitely in the market for a deep fryer with a decent thermostat, and not a countertop (or any other type) induction unit.

As for doing it in a cast iron dutch oven - I don’t own such a thing. The only dutch oven I own is totally unsuited to deep frying as it has a titanium/ceramic/Teflon non-stick surface limited to 500F.

And I would STILL have to stand over the pot with a (probably not very accurate) deep fry thermometer, hoping for the best and trying to avoid getting splatted. Plus, a dutch oven large enough to deep fry in would be too big for me to be dragging around even BEFORE you pour the oil in. I’m a weak, decrepit ol’ widder woman (OK, a GRASS-widder, but all the same, LOL!).

I’m with Kaleokahu - there is no way you are dumping 2.5lbs of food into that T-Fal fryer and not standing there waiting til the cows get home for it to get up to temp. That is an example of a smallish deep fryer that just won’t cut the mustard. I had actually looked at that recently and rejected it - partly because of the exaggerated capacity claim, but also because people have had trouble with bad thermostats on that.

Perhaps the hunt is doomed to remain fruitless - but I dream of a deep fryer that actually works, LOL!

OH, BTW - a 1500W cooker needs to be on a 20A circuit BY ITSELF. It will draw between 12.5A and 14A, depending on your power source (US power is delivered at anywhere between 105VA and 120VA, higher power supply means less current is required to produce that 1500W, a lower power supply means more current will be required). Safe load for a 20 A circuit is about … 16A I think? Possibly 15A. I forget if its 75% or 80% of max that building codes require.

If you know for a fact that you’re getting 120VA at the wall, you might could put it on a 15A circuit. An 1800W appliance shouldn’t ever be put on a 15A circuit at all, even one that has nothing else plugged into it…

I have ONE 15A circuit in the kitchen for all outlets AND the microwave. Might be 20A, but I think its 15A. I ALREADY can’t use any other appliances in the kitchen if the microwave is on. The only thing that ever gets plugged in in the kitchen is the toaster and the rice cooker. Neither of those draw enough current to interfere with the microwave - but my Vitamix and Ankarsrum can only be plugged in in the dining room, to protect them from bad stuff should anyone happen to turn the microwave on while I’m whizzing, whirring, stirring, or otherwise mooshing up ingredients, LOL! And this house is just 10 years old! Who builds a 3 bedroom house with only 100A service these days?

C’mon - this is the new millenium! We have cell phones, laptops, computers (there are 4 laptops and 3 desktop computers in this household, and a laser jet printer that makes the lights in the master bathroom flicker whenever it comes on because some genius wired ONE outlet in the hall - the one I actually need to use - into the bathroom circuit). We have e-readers, tablets, scanners, and who knows what all electronic gadgets and gewgaws these days.

And then there are all the kitchen appliances. Microwave, mixer, blender, rice cooker, food processor, breadmaker, proofer (which I use to incubate dosa/idli and yogurt, I don’t think I’ve EVER actually proofed bread in it, LOL!)

I need at least 3 separate circuits in my kitchen, and one of those dedicated to the microwave! Instead I have ONE circuit in the kitchen available for my appliances, including the microwave.

I have the sneaking suspicion that there is going to be a lot of rewiring in my future, whenever I finally am able to settle in one place and actually buy a home. shrug


(Kaleo) #7

OK, if you wish to be unrealistic in your parameters, that’s your affair. Kvetch all you like. Buy the cheap home units that perform poorly, and complain the obvious complaints.

You did say no more than 20A.

Would any of these stand lower than a hotplate? http://www.centralrestaurant.com/Countertop+Fryers-pl341.html

“PIC” is a portable induction cooker. “MIC” is made in China. “PID” is a proportionale-integral-derivative controller.

Aloha,
Kaleo

PS I live in a 1907 Craftsman with original knob and post wiring. Running an 1800W appliance works just fine for me–one at a time.


#8

My Japanese induction cooktop has exactly that function. There is a button for each burner to switch it to “tempura” mode. Simply press the button and set the desired temperature. The cooktop heats up the oil to the target temperature and holds it there. It really is quite convenient – and extremely safe.


#9

I am honestly clueless as to why you are so upset that you feel it necessary to “kvetch” back at me.

Yes, I did say no more than 20A - and then I explained why for people who don’t know why that matters. Is that what you were responding to?

Yes, I know there are many many cheap “home” deep fryers, and I don’t want to buy one. I want to buy something else that will actually work.

Or is it the fact that I don’t want an induction cooker that is bothering you? That isn’t what I asked for after all. There are real reasons why that doesn’t work for me. Ditto the idea of using a dutch oven.

What I want is a deep fryer with a working thermostat. Filtering (like the T-Fal, and that feature apparently DOES work) would be nice.

If that doesn’t exist, it surely should. So I guess I’ll have to stick to my “unrealistic” expectation of being able to find a residential-sized deep fryer that actually works properly. LOL!


#10

Can you share the model and make? That does sound pretty cool. Have you tested the accuracy?

Maintaining the oil temp while cooking is THE big reason I want an actual deep fryer. I have limited mobility, dexterity, and energy - so standing over a pot with a deep fry thermometer in one hand and trying to deal with everything else with the other isn’t very realistic for me. I know, they have clips that are supposed to let you suspend the thermometer from the pan and free your hands - but I have never been able to get those to work. They always end up dropping the thermometer into the oil anyway, LOL!

OH WAIT - is this a whole range type thing? Because I can’t do that, that would be major expense. I was thinking about a one-burner countertop model that would allow for monitoring the oil temp. If I don’t have to hang on to a thermometer, it makes having to stand on a stepstool to use it safe enough, but if there’s no way to automate that for me - then it won’t work for me and I’m back to the possibly unobtanium of a smaller deep fryer that will run on 15A to 20A. I won’t be able to keep it in the kitchen - the one circuit in there is already overloaded - but I can find a circuit somewhere else in the house to use. I may have to put it in the garage, actually. sad


(Tom) #11

Because of the high amp draw of hair dryers & modern kitchen appliances, breakers for bathrooms & kitchens are usually 20 amp by code and the amperage will be shown on the front of the breaker.

Like many other kitchen appliances, a deep fryer is really not very complicated. IE: An oil reservoir, a heating element & a thermostat. That’s really about it.

SIZE Matters. The cheap ones don’t have enough power to heat a large enough quantity of oil. Without enough oil, the temp of the oil drops too much when the cold food is put in it. Then the weak heating element struggles to get the temp back up. Its a never ending cycle of poor performance. NONE of them work well. Far better off with a big yard sale cast iron pot.

The Waring & the Vollrath are light commercial and are often used in food preparation where extreme portability and quick setup is a requirement. I believe the 10 lb ones are 15 Amps. The reason these work is because they have large heavy duty powerful heating elements with a lot of surface area. As a result they can hold/heat more oil. With more hot oil, the temp doesn’t tank when the cold food is put in. The math behind the science is simple. If the math isn’t there, the performance won’t be there. About $250 - $300 will get one to the door. IMHO, anything less is a waste of money.


#12

I don’t like “one trick ponies” like a deep fryer is. A CI DO can be had in the $30 and up range and will serve many purposes.


#13

Yes, it’s a built-in induction cooktop made by Mitsubishi (I live in Japan), but my portable Panasonic induction cook-pad has exactly the same feature, and so did the Zojirushi portable model I owned before that. BTW, I have used an infrared thermometer to double-check the oil temperature set by the cooktop, and it appears to be quite accurate.


(Caroline Freisen) #14

If you live anywhere near me, drop by and I’ll give you mine. I find it the most useless piece of counter top clutter ever invented by man! If you have a good hood vent, and I do, you have MUCH better control (and a lot less mess) using a sauce pan, a candy/oil thermometer, and a good spider than I ever had with any deep fryer! But the efficient hood vent is critical! Oh, and induction is great too!

As for small fryers such as Fry Daddy and knock offs, the idea is great on paper but the physics of it dictates that the smaller the container of hot oil, the greater the temperature drop when you add food. So unless you just want to cook one tempura shrimp at a time… … … Caveat emptor and all that jazz.


(Kaleo) #15

Hi, Pywacket:

I wasn’t upset. Just amused because you’ve been argumentative with folks who’ve offered workable alternatives to your unworkable one.

IMO, $500 will solve your problem. If you’re unprepared to spend that, I recommend eating deep-fried foods in restaurants.

Aloha,
Kaleo


(Caroline Freisen) #16

Glad to see you’re slowly coming around, Kaleo! I LOVE my Vollrath Pro, and it does an incredible job of maintaining the chosen temperature “on the nose” without faltering. The 100 presets are well worth the price.

Don’t tell anyone I’m admitting to this, but one night I forgot to turn off the saucepan of oil I had used for deep frying. There was about 2 inches of peanut oil in the pan set at 330F. When I got up the next morning, It was still a perfect 330F, not discolored, good flavor, and the glass top around the pan was still cool to the touch!

DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME! It’s stupid and dangerous! Like me, obviously! But it speaks to the quality and reliability of the appliance! '-)


(Kaleo) #17

Hi, Car:

I’m not really “coming around”, but this may be one of the few situations where I think a (good) PIC may be a great alternative for getting good, consistent results every time–alternative to a much more expensive, dedicated fryer.

I have a Vollrath Pro headed my way for a comparative review with my budget PIC. I promise to be open-minded…

Aloha,
Kaleo

PS: Your oversight with the oil was made far less dangerous by virtue of using a PIC. Still, to be even safer, the best hedge would be to use a Demeyer ControlInduc (or equivalent) pot that will go non-magnetic below the flash point of your oil.


(Caroline Freisen) #18

The BEST hedge would be to make sure I turned off the damn hob BEFORE going to bed! :+1:


(Chris D) #19

There is a new induction cooker coming out in the December 2015/January 2016 timeframe called the Paragon Induction Cooker, it’s main feature is a wireless temperature sensor that clips on to your pot with the probe end immersed in the liquid. The claim is that when using the probe the cooktop will automatically adjust power output to bring the temperature to within 1°f of your selected setpoint (up to 375°f).


#20

regrets, the laws of physics apply - even when the marketing department wordsmiths disavow all knowledge of their existence.

assuming a 110v (nominal) / 20 amp circuit - the lossless conversion of electric energy to heat energy, in BTU/hour, is roughly half what the “big burner” of the average gas cooktop/stove will deliver.

the cheapest plug in deep fryer should not have a problem reaching suitable temperatures. check the label wattage - 110v x 20 amps = 2200 watts (simplified…) - plugging a 1000 watt deep fryer into a 2200 watt capable circuit gets you exactly no where…

the bigger problem is recovery time. you plunk some stuff in the ‘up to temp’ oil, temp falls, takes heat energy to get the oil back up to temp. broad brush speaking, a biggish gas burner will make that temp recovery twice as fast as the maximum wattage electric you can plug in. Mother Nature declines to be fooled by marketeers…

which is why I use a pot on the gas cook top and a thermometer. once the oil is up to temp, all the rest is in the wrist - plunk stuff in, turn up the gas to max for 2-6 minutes for the temp to recover, dial it back for the deep fry duration. no deep fryer has the ability to maintain exactly the set temp as stuff goes in - the oil temp falls in all of them. the difference is how fast the oil temp recovers.