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Best deep fat fryer 2021: Better your batter and crisp your chips from just £25

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Make crisp, fluffy chips and battered snacks galore with our pick of the finest fryers

Whether it’s triple-cooked chips, fried fish, crispy chicken or cinnamon-dusted churros, nothing does it better than a good deep fat fryer. As well as providing the irresistible crisping that comes from sizzling submersion, the best deep fat fryers beat a pan full of oil every time. Not only can you safely set and regulate the temperature rather than guess and end up with frazzled food, but you can bypass most of the spitting and splashing that comes from deep-frying on the hob. You also won’t have the worry of a chip pan fire to deal with.

While a deep fat fryer will require more oil than a pan, you can reuse that oil. In fact, with light use, it will last up to three weeks, although a weekly change is recommended if you’re frying more often. Below, you’ll find advice on buying your ideal fryer, plus our reviews of the best models on the market.

READ NEXT: The best frying pans to buy

How to choose the best deep fat fryer for you

What features should I look for in a deep fat fryer?

The basics of how a deep fat fryer works – as a heated bath of oil with a basket that’s dipped into it – don’t really vary from machine to machine. That said, additional features can make all the difference between perfectly crisp fries and soggy, oily chips.

All deep fat fryers should have a thermostat so that you can set the temperature you want to cook at (most range from 150˚C to 190°C), as well as a frying basket for submerging small items of food, such as chips and nuggets. Battered food, such as onion rings, and larger pieces can often be fried directly in the oil.

However, for more control over the results, a timer will come in handy, especially as food tends to cook faster than in an oven, with frozen fries and fish taking as little as seven or eight minutes. If you’re frying several different items at once, different compartments or baskets can also be useful, although this is something you’re more likely to find on professional models. A viewing window may also be useful to keep an eye on progress, although these can steam up quickly – and watch out for condensation that runs down into the oil when the lid is opened. Look also for models that make changing the oil quick and spill-free, and foldable baskets or removable handles for storage.

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Do they come in different sizes?

Deep fat fryers vary in size so check their capacity: it’s usually listed as how much oil they can accommodate, but note the volume of the frying basket. Compact models are ideal for small kitchens and occasional frying (1l to 1.5l models, with baskets up to around 500g), while larger appliances will suit family-sized feasts (up to around 3.5l of oil).

Are there any safety features to consider?

It’s also a good idea to look for safety features, such as cool-touch handles, insulated walls and power cut-out functions if they overheat. Be aware that deep fat fryers tend to leave behind cooking smells even if they have odour filters, while many have vented lids to release steam. It’s a good idea to run your kitchen extractor at the same time to minimise moisture and odour.

How much should I spend?

The good news is that most deep fat fryers are pretty affordable, with basic models costing as little as £25 and premium models around the £100 mark. Spend more and your fryer will usually be easier to clean or change the oil, with a greater array of features and more control over the results. Price tends not to affect capacity drastically, with even larger fryers costing less than £50 – great if you’re cooking family-sized batches of chips.

What kind of maintenance does a deep fat fryer need?

Deep fat fryers need to be cleaned regularly. On some models, though, this isn’t easy, so look for any features that will make cleaning speedy and simple. These might include detachable lids (if you have young children you may also want to look for lids that lock in place) or enamelled or stainless-steel bowls. While you’re at it, check for leak prevention if the fryer is tipped or moved – it’s a small safety feature that can avoid a lot of misery.

The best deep fat fryers to buy

1. Wilko Deep Fat Fryer Robust Stainless Steel 3l: A good budget deep fat fryer

Price: £25 | Buy now from Wilko

Planning on cooking battered food and sweet treats rather than piles of golden chips? This good-value 2,180W stainless-steel fryer is the one for you. While its enamel-coated oil tank has a generous 3l capacity and can be removed for easy cleaning, its frying basket with foldable cool-touch handle can only squeeze in a disappointing 800g, making it more suitable for solo households and couples. It’s also a little slow to heat up.

On the plus side, there’s an adjustable thermostat with indicator light, a two-year guarantee and it’s light enough to store in a cupboard. The reminder of average cooking times of different foods on the front is a thoughtful touch, while the boxy shape fits neatly at the back of a worktop.

Key specs – Oil capacity: 3l; Max food capacity: 800g; Features: Viewing window; Easy cleaning: removable enamelled oil tank; Size: 42 x 24 x 26cm (WDH)

Buy now from Wilko


2. Swan 2.5l Stainless Deep Fat Fryer: The best compact deep fat fryer

Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

Large appliances can be worktop hogs, so if space is limited, this compact 1800W model could be your ideal route to deep-fried deliciousness. It’s small but perfectly formed, with a thermostat dial that ranges from 0˚C to 190˚C (plus lower temperatures) and a detachable basket handle that makes storage simple. Cleaning can be more of an issue – the 1.5l pan is fixed, although it does have a non-stick coating to make life easier. The hinged lid is also not removable, but the frying basket can be popped in the dishwasher for a thorough clean.

In testing, it heated up to its maximum 190°C in just under eight minutes and was easy to open and close thanks to a small lip on the edge of the lid. Decanting the used oil was a bit messy, but otherwise, this is an easy-to-manage, trouble-free fryer.

Key specs – Oil capacity: 2.5l; Max food capacity: 800g; Features: Viewing window Easy cleaning: Non-stick pan; Size: 31 x 28.5 x 21cm (WDH)

3. Breville Easy Clean Digital Deep Fat Fryer: The best deep fat fryer for beginners

Price: £56 | Buy now from AO

If you’ve never cooked with a deep fat fryer, the thought of accidentally charring your food can be off-putting. Fortunately, the Easy Clean fryer is the perfect companion to creating crispy, crunchy dishes. As well as a digital timer with an audible alert, a temperature range from 130˚C to 190°C and a large viewing window to help you keep an eye on progress, it has a rise and fall basket mechanism, so oil drains away easily from food once it’s cooked. It’s also incredibly family-friendly, with a cool-touch body, 1kg frying capacity and locking lid to keep curious fingers away from hot oil.

Clean-up is simple, too, as its enamel bowl and lid with built-in filter are both removable, plus the bowl is dishwasher-safe. A final plus is the stainless-steel trim, which makes the gloss white exterior extra-stylish.

Key specs – Oil capacity: 2l; Max food capacity: 1kg; Features: Cord storage, safety locking lid, digital timer, viewing window, foldable handle; Easy cleaning: Removable dishwasher-safe enamel bowl, removable lid; Size: 26 x 37 x28cm (WDH)

Buy now from AO


4. Tefal Oleoclean Pro 3.5l with Digital Timer: The best-designed deep fat fryer

Price: £110 | Buy now from Argos

If you’ve ever had a deep fat fryer and remember how it meant using gallons of oil and was a chore to clean afterwards, the 2,300W Oleoclean Pro is the model that will change your mind. Not only does it filter used oil into a removable plastic box, so you can store it to be used again, the appliance dismantles so nearly all of it can be popped into the dishwasher to come out sparkling – the only cleaning you need to do is wipe the heating element.

It’ll cook at a temperature range of 150˚C to 190°C and has a timer that counts down in minutes for precisely fried food. In testing, it heated up quickly and fried beautifully browned soft doughnuts and crisp tempura veg. Homemade chips were easily overcooked, although this could easily be fixed by a reduction of cooking time.

Key specs – Oil capacity: 3.5l; Max food capacity: 1.2kg; Features: Digital timer, immersed heating element, viewing window, overheat function with reset; Easy cleaning: All parts dishwasher safe, except heating element; Size: 35 x 46 x 38cm (WDH)

Buy now from Argos


5. Russell Hobbs 24580 Digital Deep Fat Fryer: The best deep fat fryer for families

Price: £75 | Buy now from Argos

If you’ve several mouths to feed but don’t have space or budget for all-singing, all-dancing deep fat fryer, this Russell Hobbs model is an excellent choice. It’s something of a Goldilocks situation – not so big it’ll take up lots of worktop space, not too small with a 1.2kg food capacity. Neither is it too pricey or questionably cheap.

It’s also easy to use, has a timer so you don’t lose track of how long food has been frying, and is relatively easy to keep clean as it splits apart – only the element was a chore to clean. All of this makes it just right for families. We also liked that there was plenty of guidance for frying in the instructions.

In testing, it heated up quickly, fried fish and chips to a golden brown easily (although batter debris left the element gunky) and made perfect doughnuts. Decanting the oil after use was messy – no pouring lip on the removable bowl meant we spilled, so best to do this bit over a container or bin. That aside, it’s a good model to try as a first fryer.

Key specsOil capacity: 3.3l; Max food capacity: 1.2kg; Features: Viewing window, washable odour filters; Easy cleaning: Enamelled bowl; Size: 26.5 x 39 x 25.6cm (WDH)

6. Cookworks Twin Professional Fryer: The best dual-compartment deep fat fryer

Price: £50 | Buy now from Argos

When you’re cooking a meal with multiple deep-fried elements such as fish and chips, having a deep fat fryer with two compartments – like this Cookworks model – is a lifesaver. Not only does it mean you can cook both elements simultaneously, but it also ensures those flavours are kept separate, so you won’t have any fish flavoured chips or vice versa. It’s not just good for this British classic, though. Having a dual air fryer is also useful if you’re frying up a feast and want to cook lots of different snacks at once. Think everything from pakoras and bhajis to melty mozzarella sticks.

Even though you are losing some space due to the dual compartment element, the Cookworks Twin Professional Fryer still has an impressive 1.8kg food capacity and a 5l oil capacity in total, making it plenty big enough for most household deep-frying jobs. Other features include a safety cut-out, removable bowl, adjustable temperatures from 130 to 190 degrees celsius and a cool zone that keeps the oil fresher for longer. For the price, this fryer really gets the job done and is easy to clean too.

Key specsOil capacity: 5l; Max food capacity: 1.8kg; Features: Dual compartments, safety cut out, variable temperatures, cool zone; Easy cleaning: Removable bowl, removable lid; Size: 35.5 x 38 x 21cm (WDH)

Buy now from Argos