Dieticians and health nuts can hector us all they want, but let’s face it: Americans aren’t giving up fried food any time soon. There’s just something too innately satisfying about sinking your teeth into a piece of flaky fried chicken or a handful of crisp French fries. If you try to make any of these at home in a regular skillet, though, you’ll learn soon enough that pan-fried food might be tasty but it’s not quite the same thing. For true deep-fried pleasure, you need some way to fully immerse the food in oil.
Thankfully, preparing and enjoying your favorite fried foods right in your own kitchen isn’t as steep of a challenge as some might think. Enter the home deep fryer: These handy appliances are basically smaller, self-contained versions of the large standing deep fryers you’ll find in restaurants and fast-food joints, but simply scaled down to about the size of a food processor – small enough to fit right on your counter and stow away in a cupboard.
A deep fryer is a pretty straightforward device made to heat up a large quantity of oil in which you will immerse your ingredients. Given this simplicity, there are really only a few big considerations when shopping for one: safety, oil/food capacity, ease of use (including cleaning), and of course, frying quality. There is a surprising number of these cookers on the market, but we’ve picked through the herd to bring you the best deep fryers available on Amazon right now that will have you whipping up some home-fried goodness in no time.
Best Overall: T-Fal EZ Clean Deep Fryer
If you want a solid, well-built, nicely sized home deep fryer that’s simple to use while still offering some handy modern features, then the T-Fal is a tough act to beat. This electric deep fryer features a 3.5-liter oil capacity and room enough for more than 2.5 pounds of food, which is a great all-around size for most homes. The aptly named EZ Clean deep fryer also has a neat filtration system which cleans your used oil, greatly reducing waste.
The EZ Clean’s immersed 1,700-watt heating element is kept safely away from your hands, while a sturdy steel lid keeps hot oil splatters off of the counter (and, more importantly, off of your hands). The basket, lid, and oil containers are all dishwasher safe for simple clean-up as well. This simple, powerful, and safe deep fryer rings in at just $95.
Also Great: Hamilton Beach Triple-Basket Deep Fryer
Hamilton Beach has been many peoples’ go-to brand for budget-friendly, no-nonsense kitchen appliances for decades, and its triple-basket deep fryer is a well-made and well-priced alternative to the T-Fal EZ Clean. It’s a bit larger, too, with a 4.5-liter oil capacity, and it comes with three baskets instead of just one: A large single-compartment basket for frying bigger items, plus two side-by-side baskets for cooking up smaller finger foods like nuggets and fries.
It lacks the oil filtration system of the EZ Clean, but at just $70, the Hamilton Beach triple-basket deep fryer is a little easier on the wallet. If you want something a bit more compact (and even cheaper still), then Hamilton Beach also makes a two-liter deep fryer that would be great in places where counter space is limited.
Best Value: Presto GranPappy Deep Fryer
The Presto GranPappy is, in a word, an old-school fry pot that you simply plug into an outlet instead of placing on a burner. Don’t expect to find any advanced temperature settings or safety features here: You simply fill this bucket-style deep fryer up with oil (it holds six cups, or 1.5 quarts), fire it up, wait 15 minutes or so, add your ingredients, and scoop out the crispy fried results with the included spoon – no frying basket included or required.
The Presto GranPappy is simple and it works, and its snap-on lid means you can re-use the cooking oil until you feel it’s time to dump it and pour in some new oil. This no-frills deep fryer is an unbeatable value for the money, coming in at a super-cheap $35. There’s also the $23 Presto FryDaddy, although we found that to be almost too diminutive for most uses (but it’s another cheap option if you really want something smaller).
Best Large Deep Fryer: MasterBuilt Butterball
When you hear “fried food,” you might immediately think “chicken,” and while most of our picks are fine for frying up separate wings, legs, and thighs, you’ll need something a bit larger for handling a whole bird. If turkey is on the menu (or if you’re just frying up lots of food for parties or a large family), then the MasterBuilt Butterball has you covered: Its extra-large basket can fry an entire chicken or turkey weighing up to 20 pounds and easily tackles as much as five pounds’ worth of wings.
The Butterball deep fryer can be filled with water for boiling things, and you even can clip the fryer basket above the water line for steaming veggies. There’s also a handy oil drain valve for emptying the thing out when you’re finished so you can avoid making messes by having to dump it. This plus-sized deep fryer is a solid value, setting you back less than $100.
Best Stovetop Deep Fryer: Bayou Classic Aluminum Fry Pot
When it comes to home deep frying, it doesn’t get much more traditional (or much simpler) than a metal fry pot. The name “Bayou Classic” invokes images of shrimp gumbo and other Cajun foods, and you can certainly fry up seafood and pretty much anything else in this deep fryer which can be used right on your stovetop or over a similar heat source.
The Bayou Classic stovetop deep fryer utilizes a perforated food basket which is immersed into the 10-quart aluminum pot (note you’ll only be filling it up about a third of the way) which is filled with cooking oil and placed on a burner. The cool-touch handle lets you quickly and safely remove the basket once your food is done. At $27, the Bayou Classic aluminum fry pot might be the best value to be found for a home deep fryer of this size.
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