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Is This Deep Fryer Right for You?

Fine Cooking Issue 71
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Photo: Scott Phillips
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I’ve often thought I’d like to own a deep fryer—I love hush puppies and fried chicken, but I’m not crazy about the mess and smells I get from deep-frying in a pot on the stove. So I decided to try out one of the higher-end deep fryers on the market. The DeLonghi Roto electric fryer was surprisingly easy to use, and it’s loaded with smart features, but I discovered that it’s not the answer to all my deep-frying dreams.

Features

Safety: The fryer is encased in a sleek plastic housing that stays cool. The power cord is magnetized so that if something catches on it, the cord instantly falls out of the outlet (to avoid pulling on the pot of hot oil). The lid remains shut while lowering and raising the frying basket to prevent splatters.

Convenience: A handy oil drainage system features a neatly hidden rubber hose. A filtering system cuts down on odors. A nonstick interior means food doesn’t stick. The frying basket is dishwasher safe. The lid has a window. The oil heats up very quickly, in about 10 minutes.

Extras: DeLonghi makes several fryers (one model is half the price of this one yet includes the same convenience and safety features) but the Roto fryer has some nice extras. A rotating tilted basket bathes the food as it spins, so the fryer needs much less oil. There are five temperature settings between 300°F and 370°F; great for cooking french fries in two stages (do an initial fry at lower temperature and finish at a higher temperature).

How it performs

This deep fryer operates on one controlling feature: you put food in the basket, shut the lid, and lower the basket. I had good results with anything sturdy, but wet batters stuck and cooked onto the basket. Here’s what I tested and how they fared.

Disappointing results:
onion rings
tempura
hush puppies

Great results:
french fries
fried chicken
fried shrimp
egg rolls
panko-crusted chicken strips
potato croquettes

The bottom line

If you fry lots of french fries, fried chicken, or any breaded or wrapped food, invest in the Roto fryer. But if fritters and other battered food are on your menu, stick with a saucepan and a deep-frying thermometer.

DeLonghi D895UX Cool-Touch Roto Electric Fryer
$129 at Amazon.com

Oils for deep frying

The best oils for deep frying have a neutral flavor and a smoke point higher than the temperature at which you’ll be deep-frying (which is usually 375°F). Good choices include peanut oil, safflower oil, and corn oil, all of which have smoke points above 400°F.

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