How to Deep Fry Successfully

by katerina on March 4, 2011

This is the third post in my Frying Friday series, about How To Deep Fry. For more information read the previous posts on what Tools you need to Deep Fry and How to Deep Fry Safely.

It is all great to have all the equipment and keep yourself safe, but there is no point unless you can replicate all that fabulous and bad for you food at home. Really, it is all about deep frying well. Do it wrong and you will end up with greasy undercooked food, or worse burnt, inedible food. Follow these tips to get it started right!

How to Deep Fry Successfully:

1. Choose the Right Temperature

Do your research on the food you are frying and pinpoint the right temperature for the oil to be at.  If the oil is too low, your food may not cook and can be soggy, if it is too high it will burn and be inedible.  Smaller foods cook quicker and therefore generally need higher temperatures. For example, if you are deep frying a whole turkey the temperature should be around 325F whereas if you are deep frying chicken wings, you need a temperature closer to 375F.

2. Maintain the Temperature

It is just as important to keep the temperature steady. When you add foods to the oil it will drop the oil temperature. I generally advise having the temperature a little higher than you want it when you add the food, that will help you to maintain that temperature while the food is cooking.  Continue to check the oil temperature often and adjust the heat source as necessary.

3. Don’t Crowd the Food

Don’t assume that you can fry two dozen chicken wings at once and have them crispy.  The temperature of the oil will drop too quickly and your items are likely to stick together.   Fry your food in batches.  This will involve some  playing around to figure out what a good batch size is.  This depends on how much oil you are using, how big your pot is, and what you are frying.   If you start with small batches you can always make them bigger.

4. Fry Thoroughly

Make sure you get all the liquid out of the coating and it is truly crispy when you remove from the oil. Nothing is worse than a really good batch of calamari or doughnuts which is crispy when it first comes out of the fryer and soggy twenty minutes later.  If you find this is your problem, you probably aren’t frying the items for long enough. If it is an item which needs to cook inside you can check by using a thermometer to check for temperature or a toothpick to check for tenderness. Still not sure? Aim for golden brown and do a small batch first, let it drain and then try it!

5. Drain Thoroughly

Once you have removed your food from the oil you may want to quickly toss it in a towel to dab off any excess oil. However do transfer it to a rack.  If you cool fried food on a flat surface you are likely to have one side of the food be quite soggy.

6. Be Prepared to Keep Food Warm

This is especially important if you are frying your food in batches.  Turn your oven on to a low temperature ~250F.  Place a cookie sheet with a drying rack on top in the oven. As your food comes out of the fryer you can quickly toss it in paper towels and let it drain right in the oven, on the rack while staying warm.

7. Season Quickly

If you want to add salt or pepper to your fried items do it while it is still quite warm. After the deep fried food is cooled the salt won’t want to adhere as well.

What tips do you have on deep frying?

Don’t forget to check out Part I and Part II in my Deep Frying series.

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