how to deep-fry at home (safely)
Deep frying can be intimidating and quite scary, but the food is just so good. I couldn’t imagine not deep-frying a food every once-in-a-while. That’s why I taught myself how to properly deep-fry at home, safely. You don’t need to be afraid of deep-frying, you just need to understand the rules and safety precautions before you start. Understanding the risks and how to limit them is the best way to enjoy the process and result.
Choose The Right Deep-Frying Oil
You may be tempted to use the best oil you can find, but different oils are best for different things. You wouldn’t want to use an olive oil for deep frying, it has a very low smoke point and a very distinct flavour. Instead opt for something without a strong flavour and a high smoke point. You also want something low-cost as you will be using large amounts of it. We like to use vegetable oil, but you could also use peanut or grape seed oil.
Get The Right Equipment
Buying an actual deep-fryer is the best and safest option. However, not everyone has the money or kitchen space for another appliance. Instead opt for a large, deep, and heavy-bottomed pot. Dutch ovens work amazing for this, and are a great multi-use investment. You will want to invest in a deep-frying thermometer, knowing what your oil’s temperature is is not only important for cooking times but also for safety.
Follow The Deep-Frying Rules
There are a few things that you need to remember not to do. Frying at home, especially without an actual deep-fryer, can be very dangerous. Kitchen fires are oftenstarted because of grease. To limit the risk of fire, follow these four main rules.
- Don’t fill your oil more than halfway up your pot – Oil pops, especially if you have an airy batter. To avoid any of these pops being a danger you want your oil to be at least 4 inches from the top of the pot. This decreases your chance of a grease fire. Only put as much oil as you need.
- Don’t leave your oil unattended, EVER – Oil is unpredictable, especially when it’s heated to high temperatures. Watch your pot at all times in order to catch any hazards before they grow out of control.
- Don’t crowd your pot while deep-frying – Only put in as much as you can manage. Overfilling your oil with food can decrease your oil temperature and change cook times. You need to have enough room for your food to float around and be flipped.
- Don’t pour water on a grease fire – Water and oil do NOT mix. When you put water on a grease fire, the water immediately sinks to the bottom and pushes the flaming grease up causing a much bigger problem than you had. To extinguish a grease fire you can place a metal lid on top to cut off it’s oxygen, douse it in salt or baking soda, or drape it with a damp cloth. Just remember NEVER pour water on it.
Season, Season, Season
No one wants unseasoned dredge; it’s bland, it’s boring, it’s just silly. Be sure to add some seasoning to your flour, it adds extra flavour and takes anything your making up a notch. Try cinnamon or nutmeg for sweet dishes and garlic, smoked paprika, onion, or cumin for savoury dishes. Don’t forget the salt! Salt makes everything better, we promise.
Depending on what you’re deep-frying you need to make sure you have a good batter that is the right consistency. Nothing is worse than a thick, gloppy batter. You want something well mixed, but airy.
Temperature is Key
Oil temperature off by just 15F can drastically change your fried food taste and consistency. If the temperature is too low it can take on too much oil, if it’s too high the outside will cook before the centre does. It’s all about finding the right temperature and maintaining it. We mentioned this previously but, purchasing a frying thermometer is important. They don’t cost a lot of money and they will save you a lot of heartache.
Pro tip: Be on the lookout for smoking oil. When your oil starts to smoke it means it’s temperature is too high and you are at risk of a grease fire.
Reuse Oil and Clean Up
If your oil is clean enough to use again, do it! We reuse oil all the time. Make sure to let it cool completely then strain any large pieces if batter out of it and add it to a clear jar for use later. If you can’t use your oil again, you have to make sure to dispose of it properly. If you’re using oil that can harden, place it in the fridge or freezer (once cooled) to harden. When it hardens you can throw it int he garbage. If it doesn’t harden, pour in a non-recyclable container (that has a lid!) and seal it to throw in the garbage.
Eat Your Deliciously Fried Food
If you feel ready to deep-fry we suggest you give it a shot with one of our delicious fried recipes. Our personal favourite, that you hear us talk about all the time, Southern Fried Portobello Burger is absolutely delicious. Also people get mad at us if we don’t say that it’s not healthy. So here we go, our deep fried recipes aren’t healthy (but they are delicious) and we don’t recommend eating this stuff on a regular basis. Also we’re not nutritionists, like at all.