A deep fryer is a cooking appliance that provides a relatively safe way to submerge items of food in hot oil without the cook getting burned. Cooking with large amounts of oil can be very dangerous, as it tends to splatter and can cause serious burns. Oil is often heated to temperatures approaching 280° to 400°F (140° to 200°C). Rather than heat oil in a pot, it's much safer to use a fryer to cook such foods.
This appliance is made up of a large tank, into which the oil is poured, and a basket, which can be safely submerged into the oil after it has gotten hot enough. There are both commercial and home models. Commercial fryers are very common in fast food restaurants and are used to prepare French fries and other foods. A deep fryer is not one of the most common home cooking appliances, but it can be used to prepare fried foods at home.
When using a deep fryer, the oil can typically be reused multiple times, often as many as 10 or 15. Either corn oil or vegetable oil are good choices; olive oil is generally too expensive to use, since quite a lot of oil is needed. Cooks can even keep the oil in the tank, as long as it will be kept in a cool place and will be reused within several weeks.
There are many types of food that can be cooked in a fryer. Many people enjoy deep fried French fries, sweet potato fries, mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, onion rings, tater tots, and many other types of food. Some chefs claim that the best way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey is to deep fry it. In deep frying, though the food is submerged in oil, it does not typically become overly greasy. Instead, the oil only penetrates the food's surface, making it crispy, while steaming the inside. Foods cooked this way often have many calories, however, because the outside or breading retains a lot of the oil from cooking.
One of the most famous dishes made in a deep fryer is the deep-fried Twinkie™, an invention in which a snack cake is dipped in batter and deep fried, so that the inside melts and the outside is crispy. This food might be tasty, but extremely unhealthy. Still, this treat can now be found at many amusement parks and other places throughout the world, along with deep-fried cookies and candy bars.