Deep Frying Tips for Delicious Results Every Time
Deep frying is routinely scrutinized for not exactly being the healthiest cooking method available, but let’s face facts – it is the best! There is nothing quite like taking that first bite into a perfectly fried piece of chicken or the delightful crunch of a well-seasoned French fry. Deep frying just makes food taste better, and that goes for just about everything, from hot dogs and meatballs to candy bars and grasshoppers.
But, if your deep frying exploits have thus far proven ineffective, as in greasy, soggy chicken or limp and wet fries, then here are a few important tips to help you on your way to becoming a “fry daddy.”
What Type of Oil is Best?
When you want to deep fry, the oil you choose to use is one of your most important choices. Not all cooking oils are created equal! Choose one that has a high “smoke point.” This type of oil will not break down in the high heat as quickly as oils that have a low smoke point. Excellent choices include peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower or safflower oil.
What Type of Frying Pan Should I Use?
Traditionally, the deeper the pan, the better your results will be. Cast iron skillet pans work exceptionally well. Always remember to add the oil before heating the pan and leave about two inches of headroom between the oil and the rim of the pan. This is necessary to allow you room for the food and so the bubbles that result from the frying can stay within the pan.
How Do I Know When the Oil is Hot Enough?
Ideally, the oil should be between 350 and 375 degrees. You should always begin heating your oil on the medium setting first and gradually build up to frying temperature. If you have a frying thermometer, you can use it to keep tabs on the temperature. If you don’t have a deep fat frying thermometer, you can always take a 1” cube of white bread and drop it into the oil. If it turns brown in 60 seconds, the oil is ready to go.
Essential Deep Frying Tips
- Never add wet food to the frying oil. It should wither be patted dry or coated in flour or breadcrumbs. Even still, once coated, it is recommended to allow the food to sit for about 20 minutes on a wire rack before inserting it into the oil.
- Don’t try to rush things along by adding too much food to the pan. Overcrowding the pan is one of the most common ways for deep frying to end in disastrous results. The more food you insert into the oil, the lower the temperature of the oil goes, meaning longer cooking times and greasy food.
- When the food is cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon or a “spider.” This allows for any excess oil to drip away from the food. Set it on a clean paper towel. You can keep already fried food warm by storing it in the oven at 200 degrees while you cook the remaining pieces.
- If you have the deep frying thermometer, use it to check the oil temperature throughout the cooking process to ensure the temperature remains within the ideal range. Adjust it when necessary.
- Keep water away from the stove when deep frying. Even a drop of water into the pan can cause the oil to react violently!
- If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, get one and learn how to use it before you deep fry!
- If you accidentally start a grease fire and you don’t have a fire extinguisher, pour some baking soda on the area. Just be careful that you don’t spread the fire rather than put it out!
- While some people may insist that it is ok to re-use cooking oil, it is not recommended. The oil has started to break down through the first use, and as such, it will not be as effective the second time. Allow it to cool completely and discard it safely.
- Call your local recycling center to find out if they accept food-grade oils. If they do, you can take your leftover cooking oil there and they will put it to all kinds of beneficial use.