Deep fat fryer’s come in a range of sizes, these five-litre fryers are suitable for light commercial work in a kitchen and also small enough to keep at home. If you’re really pushed for space, a mini-fryer might be more suitable. In searching for the best deep fat fryers, we can’t help but include air friers too. Despite the name, these fryers still use some oil. All these fryers are perfect for french fries, chicken, beignets or as we found on a recent trip to Portugal; Bolas de Bacalao.
Buffalo Single Fryer 5 Litre – Our No. 1 Fryer
Buffalo make robust and practical commercial catering appliances. Although intended for the professional market, if you have the space available as a keen home chef we recommend their single rack, 5-litre deep-fat fryer above all the others listed here.
This recommendation comes down to the fact that the Buffalo fryer is a professional catering device, in a size small enough for many kitchens and homes. If you’re reading this as a professional, you will already likely be aware of this fryer, it was launched in 2001, and almost two decades later, it is still considered a benchmark fryer. Nothing flashy, just simple hot oil with a thermostat.
The only downside to this legacy fryer, and something found on the vast majority of deep-fat fryers anyway, is the mesh basket. Sure, it probably is the best way to allow oil to evenly cook the food. But, if you let things get a little too crispy, they are a pain to clean. Especially if you’re coming at it without a catering-grade dishwasher. That said the basket is small enough to fit in many household dishwashers. Otherwise, it’ll just need a good long soak.
- Stainless steel body is easy to dis-assemble and clean
- Adjustable thermostatic control
- Buffalo are a brand found and used in professional kitchens globally
- Control temperature from 40 Celcius to 190 Celcius
- Automatic thermal safety cut-off
- Old model, launched in 2001 (but if it ain’t broke…)
- Mesh basket can be difficult to clean
Cosori Air Fryer XL 5.5 Litre – The Healthier Option
The Cosori Air Fryer is a healthy alternative to the full-on submerged deep-fat fryer. Air fried foods contain around 85% less fat than the traditional method; whilst retaining a more-than-passing resemblance to the taste and texture.
If the Buffalo is commericial I think the Cosori is safely in the home. Despite being XL in size it is unlikely to have the capacity or speed to function in a professional environment. What the Cosori Air Fryer offers instead is a versatile kitchen gadget for the home. The Cosori is loaded with 11 pre-set cooking options for steak, poultry, seafood, frozen foods, vegetables, even breads and desserts. It is essentially an oven, rather than a fryer.
Cook times are faster than in regular ovens and give a crisper finish. The temperature range is between 77 Celcius and 205 Celcius, covering all kinds of dishes as listed in the paragraph above.
The square basket is thankfully free of the mesh found in deep-fat fryers and is dishwasher safe. Being square means the basket holds more food than a similarly proportioned circular basket. The Cosori also comes with a shake-timer-reminder so nothing goes awry in the process. Another neat feature is the keep-warm function. All this functionality is mediated through a touchscreen. Which is wipe-clean but, to be honest, can easily start to get gross and sticky.
Cosori have a two-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee. So if it isn’t for you, this new style of cooking, you can return it no questions asked.
- Versatile cooking options, you’re buying a mini-oven in all honesty
- Pre-set options for a variety of foods, and over 100 recipes in the provided booklet
- Long warranty and money-back period
- Dishwasher-safe basket
- Air fryers are all-rounders rather than specialists, it does a lot of things well but fried foods can come out drier than a traditional fry
- A black box in terms of cleaning, you can’t get in everywhere as it is sealed for safety
Klarstein Quickpro XXL 5L
Last but not by no means least is the Klarstein Quickpro, in the XXL size. Klarstein’s 5 litre is a substantial machine. It throws out 3000 watts of power and is suitable for cooking up to 1.5kg of food in one swoop. Although we’d recommend checking out the video below on making Michelin star quality chips (psst, the secret is multiple cooks).
Unlike the Buffalo, the Klarstain Quickpro comes with a range of basket sizes. This makes it easy to cook two different foods at once. Although be mindful that this is still a single-vat fryer, not a double.
The controls are physical rotary switches. One controlling a timer, of up to 30 minutes, and the other the temperature, up to a maximum of 190 Celcius. What isn’t great about the Klarstein is the position of these switches, unlike the Buffalo which has its switch the side, the Quickpro has them sort of directly over the hot oil. Not a total no-no but this could be better.
The Quickpro also comes with a lid, so you can store oil in the fryer in between uses. No need to throw oil away after every use, you can use one of the smaller mesh nets to catch burnt matter and strain away the detritus.
Cleaning the Klarstein Quickpro is easy, the body is made from stainless steel and the inner oil vat is plastic. Again, the basket is mesh based and will take some elbow grease to remove the other grease.
- Includes multiple baskets of different sizes for cooking
- Secure lid for storing oil until the next use
- Can handle 1.5kg of food in the basket at a time
- The placement of the controls are directly over the hot oil
- Oddly bulky design
Deep-fat or air-fried?
If the desire to cook perfect wings and chips at home is mounting, but your arteries are already struggling an air fryer could be the solution. While deep-fat fryers involve dunking food into litres of oil, air fryers work using hot air. Similar to a halogen fryer, but with a different heating element.
The circulation of hot air produces a crisp, if dry, cook. You can use a little bit of oil to re-create some of the fully deep fried effect, without drastically increasing the calorie count. For instance, an air-fried chip is thought to contain 80% less fat than one that has been deep-fried.
What you gain in health with an air fryer, you do tend to lose out when it comes to cooking time. The heat-transference from a bubbling vat of oil is far more rapid than that given by circulating air. Air fryers are smaller too, the physics of hot air means much smaller baskets are the norm.
While you can cook quickly in a deep-fat fryer, you can only fry things. For those with kitchen experience an air fryer is similar to, but vastly less powerful than, the ubiquitous Rational. It is possible to grill, bake, roast and fry using an air fryer.
When it comes to safety deep-fat fryers have a notorious reputation. Households with children may be reluctant to introduce such a dangerous piece of equipment into the home.
Never use water on chip pan fires, as this will cause a fireball – fireservice.co.uk
Chip pan fires are a folkloric meshugga in many kitchens around the world. Best left to the professionals. However- with proper care, attention and safety equipment a purpose-made deep-fat fryer is still a worthy investment. Just make sure you’re disposing of the cooking oil in an environmentally-friendly way.