A deep fryer can be the centre of many commercial kitchens, especially those who offer meals such as chicken schnitzels, battered barramundi and even salt and pepper squid. Deep fryers have been praised for their consistent cooking results and minimal clean up required.
Picking the right deep fryer for your business doesn’t have to be a hassle with our Deep Fryer Buyer’s Guide.
What size Deep Fryer should I get?
First and foremost, the size of the deep fryer is one of the most important aspects of purchasing a deep fryer for your business. Purchasing a smaller deep fryer to save costs for example, could become a costlier venture needing to constantly fill it and cook food where as a larger unit would be able to cook more food per use. A smaller deep fryer can be overfilled, and then oils and other condensate can leak from the deep fryer.
Deep fryers should never be placed near a source of flame (i.e. a gas stove) and the deep fryer will need considerable space away from the unit as to not become a fire hazard in your commercial kitchen.
Types of Deep Fryers
When it comes to commercial deep fryers, there are a lot of options to choose from. When you are unsure what to choose from – start with what you know (that is, what features you need from the unit). For example, do you require a gas deep fryer or an electric deep fryer? What’s the difference? Let’s take a look:
The Open Pot Deep Fryer gets its name from its design – the open pot deep fryer has an open heated area. The gas open pot deep fryer heats from the outside in. The electric model has a strip or ribbon element that is submerged in the oil and essentially heats from the inside out.
Why choose an Open Pot Deep Fryer?
- Adaptable and can be used for most frying requirements
- Open Pot Deep Fryers are the easiest to clean
- “Cool zone” at the bottom of the pot ensures that sediment and crumbs don’t burn to quickly
- Good for all fried products
- Has a smaller sediment zone
A Tube Deep Fryer can do most of the cooking an Open Pot Deep Fryer can, except that cleaning and maintenance can be hindered by the fact that the heating element (tube) is permanently fixed to the bottom of the vat. A Tube Deep Fryer does contain a larger sediment zone but can be prone to have the sediment settle around the fixed tubing.
Why choose a Tube Deep Fryer?
- Good for a wide variety of frying
- Contains a large sediment zone
- Good for heavily battered items
- Often less costly than open pot fryers
Flat Bottom Deep Fryers are especially built for delicate foods that have the ability to float, such as tempura or even a taco shell. Flat Bottom Deep Fryers don’t contain a sediment zone, and as such shouldn’t be used for heavy-scale deep frying.
Why choose a Flat Bottom Deep Fryer?
- Specialty cooking
- Can use a batter trap to prevent long term damage to the bottom of the deep fryer
There are many features available for a deep fryer but there are several features which are generally seen as more important – single or multiple basket (capacity), temperature control, timers and of course, gas or electric.
Benchtop or freestanding?
Benchtop fryers are designed for smaller operations, or where there may be only one or two fried items on the menu. They can also be handy for caterers who may have a function offsite. Freestanding fryers would be found in the cooking line of most commercial kitchens. These are designed for heavier use where you have more menu items utilising fried products.
Gas or Electric?
Gas fryers tend to be the industry standard as most commercial kitchens have natural gas and the running costs on gas vs electric can be more economical. It is important to note however that an inefficient gas fryer will be far less economical than an efficient electric fryer. Gas models haven’t changed too much over the years however electric units, pushed by their usage in chains such as McDonalds, have been steadily improving in efficiency, reliability and cooking performance.
Before purchasing a fryer check whether you have sufficient gas or electricity, and then run some comparison’s on your own gas and power rates, as well as whether your local service agent is a licenced gas fitter or electrical contractor only – this can have an effect on the cost of your regular services as well as any emergency call outs.
Both gas and electric models can be fitted with inbuilt filtration systems. Essentially these systems pump the oil through a sediment tray and paper filtration which clean the oil and is ten returned into the frypot. These enable the user to clean the oil on a regular basis which results in longer oil life. In high volume establishments this can add up to huge savings in oil costs over the life of the fryer.
Deep Fryer Capacity
The deep fryer capacity will ultimately dictate the efficiency of your cooking – will the deep fryer be used by a single person or multiple persons? If the deep fryer will only be used by one person, single basket deep fryers (approximately 3 cups) are perfect for small batches of food such as chips or nuggets.
Larger deep fryers can hold a capacity of up to 8 cups. These units will most likely contain multiple baskets at this size or even separate “frying compartments”.
How many baskets?
Smaller deep frying units will only contain one basket – this is common among countertop deep fryers. This can make multitasking almost impossible. Some deep fryers will have the ability to cook several foods at different temperatures and multiple tanks will prevent flavours mingling between the foods.
A rotating basket system is a relatively new concept for deep frying. As opposed to a normal deep fryer, a rotating basket system dips the food in and out of the boiling-hot oil. Surprisingly, the food is still cooked flawlessly. The rotating basket system is praised for being low in grease absorption and also more energy efficient as the unit does not need to maintain the temperature of the oil as rigorously. It should be noted however, that a rotating basket deep fryer will reach temperature quicker than a standard deep fryer.
The flipping basket system is good for making treats (such as donuts) and desserts would benefit from a flipping basket system. The food is immersed in the cooking oil and requires the individual to manually move (flip) the items from one side to another. It is not recommended to fry other foods in the flipping basket system. These systems are known for cooking at a steady temperature and for using large quantities of cooking oil in the process.
Deep Fryer Safety
Deep Fryers are known for being able to heat anywhere up to 190°C which if it came into contact with a persons’ skin could cause serious burns. To avoid injury, some deep fryers come with lids to minimise splashing and feature locks to minimise splatter. Some deep fryer models also contain a “window” in the deep fryer lid so food can be monitored without needing to constantly lift the lid and check on the food.
As a safety precaution, deep fryers come with a “breakaway” cord. The breakaway cord is a magnetic attachment to the back of the unit that releases when enough movement is created.
Most models of deep fryers have a cool exterior – even in operation. This should be considered a standard feature and a must-have feature for employee safety.
Deep Fryer Timers
A digital timer on a deep fryer can help staff cook food for the correct amount of time and prevent under or overcooking of deep fried foods. Some deep fryers can come with an automated shutoff that will power down when the deep fryer is not being used.
Deep Fryer Temperature
Being able to control the temperature of your deep fryer is imperative. Simpler units have an on/off mechanism or perhaps a low/medium/high dial. These simplistic temperature control abilities are not very well suited to commercial cooking purposes. Particular foods contain the optimal cooking temperature and not being able to specify a particular temperature can lead to under or overcooked foods, the first of which could lead to customers falling ill.
High-end commercial deep fryers can often include picture icons of commonly cooked foods to assist the user in picking the right setting (temperature) for what they are about to cook. Dials are great for temperature control or even adjustable thermostat on a digital display can help cook food consistently for every fried meal.
Deep Fryer Terminology
Commonly used deep fryer terminology can include – Tank Capacity, Recovery Time and Sediment Zone.
Commercial deep fryers can often be described by their tank capacity as a means of determining the size of the overall unit. For example, a 20L capacity would imply that the deep fryer can hold 20L of cooking oil.
The recovery time is described as being the amount of time it takes for the cooking oil to return to the optimal cooking temperature after food has been immersed in it. If the temperature drops too far or does not recover quick enough, the food will end up absorbing too much fat and become limp and greasy.
The sediment zone is an important part of any deep fryer- the sediment zone is going to determine how often you will need to clean your deep fryer. While there are recommended cleaning schedules for all deep fryers, if your sediment zone is too small (or cooking the wrong foods in your deep fryer) it will fill up faster and you will need to clean it more often. The sediment zone is sometimes referred to as the “cold zone” as the cooking oil in this area is not as hot as the basket area.
Deep Fryer Cleaning
Fact: all deep fryers are going to require dedication to clean properly. However, some deep fryers are easier to clean than others.
Commercial deep fryers require daily, weekly and periodic maintenance to keep the unit running as expected.
All deep fryers have recommended cleaning instructions that should be followed to maintain the wellbeing of the deep fryer.
If you are unsure about any of the instructions, contact the deep fryers’ manufacturer – you don’t want to void warranty on the unit from using the wrong products or utensils to clean your unit.
Deep Fryer Recommendations
For small countertop solutions, suitable for takeaways or even cafés, Roband offers many products and entry level products such as:
- F15 – benchtop single pan fryer
- F25 – benchtop double pan fryer
For larger production kitchens Waldorf, Blue Seal Evolution, Cobra and Fastrfri (all distributed by Moffat Australia) all provide commercial deep fryer solutions depending on what you’re after.
Commercial deep fryer suggestions
- Blue Seal Evolution Series GT45 (gas) – 2 x full sized baskets (20L capacity)
- Blue Seal Evolution Series GT46 (gas) – 2 x full sized baskets (20L capacity) – split pan version for keeping products seperate
The Blue Seal Evolution Series is known for producing sleek deep fryers in a variety of widths starting from 400mm in single or twin pan configurations. Blue Seal’s Vee Ray technology allows for infrared burners that can produce a lower cost and most efficient heat recovery than other brands.
Waldorf and Waldorf Bold produce commercial deep fryers with a variety of features such as single or twin pan, gas or electric fittings and several widths including 400mm, 450mm and 600mm.
Cobra branded deep fryers are Open Pot designed and contain cool zones for increasing the life of the cooking oil and ultimately making them an easy-to-clean option for any kitchen.