What is a Deep Fryer?

Kathy Hawkins

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.

French fries cooked in a deep fryer.
French fries cooked in a deep fryer.

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.

Onion rings are cooked in a deep fryer.
Onion rings are cooked in a deep fryer.

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.

A deep fryer provides a relatively safe way to cook in hot oil.
A deep fryer provides a relatively safe way to cook in hot oil.

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.

Some chefs claim deep frying is the best way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey.
Some chefs claim deep frying is the best way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey.

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Discussion Comments


Can you brine a turkey that you are planning to deep-fry, or is it best to just apply a dry rub? I just got a deep fryer pot big enough to fry a small bird so I thought I would give it a try.


@ Babalaas- Deep frying a turkey is easy. You will need an outdoor deep fryer, an open outdoor area, a turkey, up to five gallons of oil, and a fire extinguisher.

The basics are as follows:

1) Marinate or season your completely thawed turkey, and let dry for one hour.

2) Fill your turkey fryer with oil (enough to cover your turkey with two inches of oil) and preheat to 325 degrees.

3) Place turkey in basket and drop into the basket and drop into oil.

4) Keep kids and pets away from turkey fryer for 3 minutes per pound of turkey.

5) Pull turkey from fryer, let sit five minutes, enjoy.


I am looking for deep fryer recipes. Does anyone know how to deep-fry a turkey?

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