Does your deep fat fryer spend most of its time sitting in your cupboard, only seeing the light of day for the occasional portion of chips or onion rings? If so, you’re missing out on a whole range of different foods and dishes that deep-frying can improve.
We all know that deep-frying really isn’t the healthiest of options, and some of you may also have safety concerns about using your deep fryer. We’ll share some of our top tips on how to use your deep fryer safely, how to make your deep-fried meals a little less unhealthy and share some of our top must-try deep-fried dishes.
What Can You Cook in a Deep Fat Fryer?
The answer is just about anything and everything. The Internet abounds with millions of crazy-sounding suggestions of things to deep fry, from deep-fried margaritas to deep-fried peanut butter. However, we’re going to take a look at some of the things you may want to try out cooking in your deep fryer.
From starters to snacks, street food to main courses and sweet-toothed desserts, here are our top deep fried suggestions to try out rather than just using your fryer for French fries.
Let’s start with the obvious: fried chicken. So many people have a deep fat fryer at home but completely forget about using it for chicken. As chicken is low in fat, it can often dry out when cooked on the stove or in the oven. Deep-fried chicken burgers, fried chicken wings, chicken tenders, nuggets—you name it, pretty much all dry chicken dishes taste better fried. Add spices and a crispy batter for extra crunch and flavour to your chicken wings.
If you eat pork, you should try it deep-fried. Spiced, breaded pork chops are an excellent way to spice up what is often quite a dry, bland cut of meat. Try it out the next time you pick up some pork. You can also deep fry pork nuggets, pork tenders or pork belly after boiling it for a delicious extra crispy, crunchy outer layer.
Are you looking for an extra easy starter? Crispy fried whitebait has to be one of the easiest dishes to cook. You can also serve up these tiny crunchy fried whole fish with a garlic dip to share with friends over an aperitif. Are you looking for a closer alternative to beer-battered fish such as cod? You could try deep-frying battered catfish and serving it with chips.
These classic Italian rice balls can be stuffed with a filling of your choice, typically cheese. The rice balls are coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried for a deliciously gooey yet crispy, crunchy outer texture. Serve with garlic, sour cream or tangy tomato dipping sauce, as a starter or on a sharing platter.
You can make croquettes with a wide variety of ingredients. If you use root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, you’ll need to cook them first.
Grate softer vegetables into your mashed potatoes mixture, stir in two eggs and mould the mixture into cylindrical shapes.
Dip the croquettes in breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown—a great way to convert leftover vegetables into a filling meal. Vegetable croquettes can also be served as a vegetarian recipe side dish or starter.
Crisp and gooey, deep-fried Camembert cheese is a popular classic that works really well in a deep fryer. Serve with a sweet sauce to help balance its savoury flavour and cut through the richness. This also makes a great vegetarian starter.
Another must-try deep-fried classic. Take a boiled egg, coat it in sausage meat, dip it in breadcrumbs, and then fry. Scotch eggs are a popular picnic food and are best served cold. Fry some up for the next time you have friends or family over for drinks, and serve with potato chips and some fried avocado.
If you are looking to use your deep fryer to recreate traditional chip shop favourites in your kitchen, you’ll want to try out making battered sausages. When you make your batter at home, you can experiment with adding extra seasoning or spices. Add beer to a mixture of cornflour and flour and whisk to form a smooth batter. Dust your sausages in plain flour, then dip them in the batter, shaking off the excess before deep-frying at 180°C for around eight to ten minutes. Alternatively, replace the sausages with hot dogs and fry them for a couple of minutes.
Onion bhajis are made to be deep-fried; oven-baked bhajis just don’t have the same taste and texture. They are also surprisingly easy and are very cheap to make. So the next time you get a craving for something spicy, go ahead and try out homemade crunchy onion bhajis; they’re the perfect snack. They are also a good vegan starter if you struggle with food inspiration.
Deep-fried jalapeno poppers make delicious nibbles to serve with drinks. Slice your jalapenos in half, removing the seeds. Fill with a cream cheese and cheddar mixture, then press the pepper halves together. Dip the stuffed peppers in milk, then breadcrumbs. Leave to dry, then deep fry for around three minutes. The contrasting flavours of the creamy cheese and the spicy hot jalapeno pepper go really well together. Try adding bacon to the mix for an extra flavour dimension.
Stuff courgette flowers with ricotta before dipping them in a light tempura batter and deep-frying. You can also use tempura batter for deep-fried vegetables and seafood, but deep-fried courgette flowers never fail to impress.
Make up a couple of jam sandwiches, dip them in egg wash and deep fry for a couple of minutes. You’ll get a sweet and savoury taste combination that seems to be a big hit with kids.
Fried Ice Cream
Fried ice cream is becoming popular. Take a scoop of frozen ice cream and roll it in a coating of your choice. This could be crushed cookies, cornflakes, nuts, or wafers, as long as it tastes good and is dry and broken into tiny pieces. Return your ball to the freezer for several hours. For the best results, remove your coated ice cream balls, dip them in egg, recoat a second time, and then refreeze. When you’re ready to fry, don’t remove your ice cream until your deep fryer oil is hot. Gently lower the ice cream into the hot oil and fry for around half a minute.
Apple fritters make delicious snacks or desserts. They are essentially a kind of apple flavoured doughnut or beignet. Simply add chopped apple to a batter mixture made of eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar and milk, then deep fry teaspoons of the mixture for two to three minutes. If you love that tasty deep-fried apple flavour, you could also try making deep-fried apple pies.
Ok, so deep-fried Mars bars get a lot of bad press and to be fair, they don’t sound that appealing. However, in the name of culinary exploration, if you have some batter prepared and happen to have a couple of Mars bars lurking in your cupboard, why not give it a try?
Deep Fat Fryer Safety Tips
Are you worried about safety when using your fryer? If you answer yes, that’s a good thing. Hot oil is extremely dangerous, and while deep fat fryers are much safer than using a pan of oil on your hob, you should still be vigilant. Here are our top tips for staying safe when using your deep fryer.
Always Respect Your Fryer’s Minimum and Maximum Fill Lines
Before using your deep fryer, make sure that you fill it with the right amount of oil.
If it’s a new fryer that you have never used before, you may want to err on the side of caution and fill it up halfway between the minimum and maximum fill lines for a first trial run.
If you inadvertently overfill your fryer with oil, it could boil over with hot oil. This could cause serious injuries and costly damage to your kitchen. So always play it safe and double-check your oil levels before switching on your fryer.
Never Leave Your Fryer Unattended When On
Ensure that you always keep a close eye on your deep fryer while it’s in use. Leaving the room for even just a couple of minutes is extremely dangerous. If there is a problem with your deep fryer, you need to be present to turn it off immediately and cover it with a lid.
Wait Several Hours Before Emptying Your Fryer Oil
When you’re done cooking with your fryer, you must leave it unplugged somewhere safe where it can cool down completely before you empty out the oil. If you will be using your deep fryer again shortly and the oil is clean, you can leave it temporarily inside your fryer. Otherwise, it’s best to remove and filter the oil before storing it in a sealed container.
Change Your Deep Fryer Oil Regularly
Make sure that you change to fresh oil after every eight or so uses. If you’ve not been keeping track of your deep fryer oil, common signs that your old oil needs changing now are:
- A noticeable burning smell when frying
- Darker oil colour
- More smoke is being produced than previously
- Foam on the oil’s surface
Healthier Deep Fat Frying
We all know that deep fat frying is not a healthy way to cook. However, if you enjoy the taste of deep-fried foods once in a while and are looking for ways to offset or reduce the negative effects of deep-frying, we’ve got some good ideas right here.
- Moderation – don’t regularly consume deep-fried food in large quantities. Instead, treat yourself to the occasional deep-fried dish or meal accompaniment.
- Balance – if you have a rich deep fried item, pair it with a salad or raw vegetables to reduce the total number of calories consumed.
- Use a heart-healthy frying oil for deep frying your food, such as safflower oil. Olive oil is another option, but only if you are cooking at low temperatures to its low smoke point.
- Heat your oil up to the required temperature before adding your food. Frying at high temperatures will stop your food from absorbing as much oil for fewer calories and crispier, tastier results.
Deep Frying Foods With Ease
When looking at what can you cook in a deep fat fryer, the choice is vast. Deep-fried food can be delicious, and there’s plenty more you can cook in your deep fryer than just French fries. Provided you don’t overindulge, your deep fryer can be a great way to experiment with different foods combining contrasting textures and flavours, from simple fried chicken to more elaborate snack ideas like deep-fried apple pies or mars bars.
Plus, most of our deep fat fryer recipes take just a few minutes to cook, making them ideal for quick nibbles and snacks. So, give your deep fat fryer a quick clean up and try out something new today or revisit an old classic.