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Fried chicken’s popularity is evergreen: since its creation, it has remained a favorite of millions and a cornerstone of several wildly successful food franchises. Making this treat at home means you get to enjoy it whenever the craving hits, and it puts you in charge of the recipe. All you need is a deep fryer that will treat your wings and fried chicken right, and that’s where we come in. Shall we?
Reviewing the Best Deep Fryer for Chicken Wings & Fried Chicken
Spoiler alert: it doesn’t happen by accident. Here are a few key elements for a tasty and crunchy snack.
The Colonel may have his own private recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have yours! Recipes are a web search away, but here’s a quick summary:
- 3 are the main elements: a liquid (common choices include milk, beer and water), a flour (like corn, or all-purpose) and a leavening agent (such as baking powder, or beaten egg whites). How thick (or thin) your batter is will depend on how much liquid you add.
- Seasoning is important: you should feel free to create your own mix, but popular choices include salt, black pepper, garlic or onion powder, and paprika.
Frying is not the same as regular cooking: your oil must meet certain requirements, which we detail below.
- Smoke point. The temperature at which oil will turn rancid and start to smoke. This renders the oil unusable and alters your food’s flavor negatively. The higher the smoke point, the better.
- Flavor. Some oils have a strong taste which can be imbued into your food; we want to enjoy the chicken and our choice of seasoning, so an oil with a neutral flavor is more appropriate.
- Flavor transfer. This happens when taste from food previously fried stays in the oil and is then passed onto a newer batch, in this case, your chicken. Certain oils are more adept at preventing this, and those are the ones we want.
Peanut oil is a constant favorite for deep frying not only chicken, but just about anything, due to its easy availability, affordable price tag and neutral flavor. Another good alternative is coconut oil, which you might want to choose because of its higher concentration of healthy fats. Both of these oils have a pretty decent smoke point of about 450°F.
If you want to do it like they do in the South, you can opt to use either lard or vegetable shortening. Their smoke point is somewhat low (around 360°F), but they do get the job done, and lard in particular is praised for giving chicken a remarkably crunchy crust and improved flavor.
If the oil is too cool, your chicken will be greasy; if too hot, the crust will burn while the interior remains uncooked. Optimal temperature is 350-375°F (for wings, the latter is better), and it should never go under 325.
Expect to wait about 15 minutes before it’s ready. Do not be fooled by the crust: it may turn a tempting golden brown while the interior is still raw. Rather, measure the chicken’s internal temperature: you’ll know it’s done when it reaches 165°F. Wings cook faster since they are not so meaty, so remember to check them constantly.
More Useful Tips
- Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel before breading it: this will help give it an extra crunch.
- Remember when we said that if the oil is too cool, your chicken will come out greasy? The chicken itself can be a factor here: wait until it reaches room temperature before putting it in the fryer, so it won’t drop the oil’s temperature.
- Use tongs to manipulate the chicken, especially when pulling it out of the fryer. Don’t lower it too fast into the hot oil.
- Frying several small batches of chicken one after the other will take longer, but it will also net you better results than frying a big pile in one go.
- Do not set your chicken on paper towels after it is done, as it may create soggy areas; rather, put it on a wire rack, and let the excess oil drip away.
- Fresh off the fryer tastes better than out of the fridge (but we should always be mindful to not eat too much).
A Few Great Picks For You To Consider
You can’t turn the unit on or off (except by plugging and unplugging), nor is there any timer to set. However, you do get to control the temperature; you also have a way to verify if the unit is powered on and ready to cook, thanks to the red and green lights at the front. The lid features a window for you to check on your food’s progress, and it does not have to be opened for you to lift the basket.
The sides of the appliance are cool to the touch. Certain parts (lid, heating element and oil tank) can be removed for cleaning time.
- Basket can be lifted without opening the lid.
- Sides can be touched safely.
- Somewhat low capacity.
- Not a lot of functionality.
This one is peculiar in that there is no control panel or display, which means plugging and unplugging is the only way to turn the unit on and off. Per the manufacturer, the appliance takes 15 minutes to heat up properly, and the internal thermostat “keeps the oil at the optimum frying temperature”. Several users have reported positive experiences, which points to the internal temperature control working appropriately; however, you can always defer to your own thermometer if you’d rather play it safe.
A scoop is included, so you can handle your food more easily. The unit is also capable of securely storing your used oil for a future cooking round; just remember to strain it between uses. Interior is nonstick, which is particularly convenient since no part of this appliance is immersible or dishwasher safe.
- Dependable temperature control.
- Able to store oil for future use.
- Not very easy to clean.
If you’re a fan of going big, then this might be the one for you: able to hold 10 liters of oil, it can accommodate up to 5 lbs of wings, or even a 20lb turkey. If you’re wondering how you could possibly topple the whole thing to pour the oil out, there is no need to worry: a valve at the bottom makes draining quite easy.
It doesn’t have a timer, but it does allow to control the temperature through a dial at the front; red and green lights indicate power status, and ready status. Pot, lid, drain valve and basket are dishwasher safe.
- Designed to meet commercial standards.
- Great capacity.
- Magnetic cord can detach too easily.
Built in stainless steel, this one comes with a total of 3 compartments for frying: the main chamber can accommodate a load of chicken or donuts, and 2 additional baskets that are set side-by-side can take care of onion rings or french fries. You can pour a maximum of 4 liters of oil, which enables the appliance to fry up to 500g of food. Two dials control the unit: the one on the left allows you to set the timer, and features an additional position that turns the appliance on indefinitely —until you return it to the ‘off’ setting—; the dial on the right adjusts the temperature.
Cool-touch handles on the sides allow you to manipulate the whole thing more comfortably. Heating element, lid and oil tank are removable for cleaning, but only the baskets can be run through the dishwasher.
- Ample capacity.
- Able to fry different sorts of food at the same time.
- Must be almost entirely washed by hand.
Does it look like a pot? That’s because it is: you can make soup, steam vegetables, roast meat, cook pasta, and yes, also deep-fry; there’s even a line on the inside, to indicate optimal oil level. The basket can snap onto the pot’s rim, to keep your food steady in the hot oil. There is no timer function, but the unit does feature a temperature control unit, which is removable for cleaning. The interior is nonstick, which makes it somewhat incompatible with the dishwasher due to potential buildup.
- Capable of much more than just deep-frying.
- Fairly simple to clean.
- Some assembly required.
For Top Of The Line Chicken & Wings: Secura TSAF40DH
Truly the best deep fryer for chicken wings & fried chicken, the Secura provides value and quality in one package. It’s solid, it’s stylish and, of course, it’s reliable: among those who have used it, it has earned consistently high marks. Capacity is decent, and it goes above and beyond by enabling you to fry more than one food in a single round. Its 800-Watt potency ensures it can tackle any meal you can fit in it, and it allows you to set both the temperature and cooking time to your liking. It’s not hard to operate, either: two dials is all it takes. Cleaning time? Not a problem: nearly every part is removable, and you can let the dishwasher take care of the baskets. This is a pretty well-rounded piece of equipment that shall not let you down. Anybody hungry? It’s fried chicken time!