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The Gunk in Your Deep Fryer Is Getting in the Way of That Perfect Crispiness


Knowing how to clean a deep fryer is important if you love fried food. Sometimes that golden, crispy coating is the only thing that hits the spot, whether it’s fries, churros, crispy chicken, turkey, or corn dogs. But that crispy coating leaves grease and debris in your deep fryer. If you don’t clean your fryer properly or regularly enough, you risk contaminating your favorite fried foods and getting sick, and shortening the life span of your fryer.

Read on to find out how to clean a home deep fryer.

How to Clean a Deep Fryer at Home

Your solution for how to clean an electric deep fryer starts with unplugging your machine and wrapping the connecting wire with a piece of dry cloth to protect it from any debris and water that may spill during the cleaning process. If there is oil inside the fryer, let it cool down to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns; this process might take up to a couple of hours. Put on gloves (this is particularly important if you have sensitive skin), and use a spider strainer to remove large pieces of floating food debris.

You can clean a deep fryer without changing the oil, but you do need to remove the oil before you clean. (You can reuse it next time by pouring it back in after cleaning.) How to clean oil out of a deep fryer starts with straining the cooled oil into a food-safe container with a sealed lid. Store it in a cool place, and keep a note of how many times you’ve reused the oil; each time you use oil, it gets more and more destabilized until it decomposes. If your oil is looking cloudy, smells rancid, or has a layer of foam on top, it’s time to get rid of it. Degraded oil is also darker than fresh oil.

Throw away all food particles and crumbs caught in the strainer. Soak the wire basket with warm soapy water. Then, scrape out as much build-up as possible from the inside of the fryer pot, paying close attention to the corners. Use a dishrag to loosen oil in the corners if necessary. If food particles aren’t cleaned out properly, they can contaminate new oil, making it break down faster, and also interfere with the flavor of the fried food. Soak up all remaining traces of oil with a layer of paper towels. When they are soaked through with oil, remove them. Use fresh paper towels to repeatedly wipe and gently scrape any remaining oil crusting in the fryer.

Next, fill the fryer pot with water up to the maximum oil level marking. Add a few drops of liquid soap. Turn on the fryer to heat the water to boiling temperature. Then, unplug the fryer, and wait for the water to cool down. (This should take around 30 minutes.)

Drain out the water, and wipe the fryer pot clean. It might require a few rinses with warm water to get it completely clean. Wash with soap solution, then rinse with a vinegar-water solution to neutralize all remaining soap.

Wipe the outer walls of the fryer with soapy water to get rid of grease, using a soft cloth to avoid scratching the surface. Wipe with dry towels. If you have a thin crust on the outside surface of your fryer, use a branded degreaser. Avoid harsh, abrasive agents or brushes, which can permanently scratch the surface. Apply the degreaser all over the fryer, and leave it for about 10 minutes before removing it with paper towels and rinsing well.

Scrub the frying basket and wash under warm running water until clean. If you have dirty filters on the lid of your fryer, check your user’s manual to see if they are removable and whether you can clean them. Charcoal odor filters are not washable and should be replaced as soon as they become grimy and clogged. Wash foam filters in hot soapy water, and leave them to dry. If the filters are not removable, don’t immerse the lid in water. Instead, wipe with a damp cloth with a little detergent, then a plain damp cloth to remove all detergent and oil.

Finally, wipe clean all heating elements and the oil filter. If the oil filter is clogged, wash it separately with high-pressured water while taking care that the pressure isn’t harsh enough to damage the filter. Alternatively, wash the filter with a soft-bristled brush (such as a baby-bottle brush) and your soap solution.

Never put an electric fryer in the sink or dishwasher because immersion in water may lead to an electrical short and damage the fryer.

If you need to clean black soot out of a deep fat fryer, which is sometimes a problem for commercial deep fat fryers, you may encounter a problem with the burners. Consult your user’s manual, and contact the manufacturer for advice. You may have to adjust the airflow or the gas flow to solve the issue.

A commercial deep fat fryer can be powered by gas instead of electricity. If you want to know how to clean the burner units in a deep fat fryer, check your user’s manual, or contact the manufacturer to check whether cleaning of the burner units is recommended.

How to Clean a Deep Fryer with Vinegar

To get rid of really stubborn oil stains, check out how to clean a deep fryer with vinegar. Mix six ounces of white household vinegar with half a gallon of hot tap water, and use this to rinse the inside of the fryer. Pour out the vinegar solution, and rinse the interior again with clear, cool tap water. Dry the interior with cloth or paper towels. The vinegar solution should remove any remaining debris and neutralizes the lingering smell that often develops in deep fryers.

Another way to use vinegar to clean a deep fryer takes advantage of vinegar’s reaction with baking soda. Add a layer of baking soda on the inside of the fryer, making sure to cover the entire surface. Then, slowly pour white vinegar on top of the baking soda. Be careful not to pour too quickly, or you might wash all the baking soda off and have to start over. The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda makes it easier to remove the stains when you start to scrub. You might need to repeat the process a few times, depending on how stubborn the stains are.

How to Clean a Deep Fryer Pot

how to clean a deep fryer with vinegar

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

If you use a stove-top deep fryer pot (such as a Dutch oven or stainless steel stockpot) instead of an electric deep fryer, you might find the deep-frying odor is strong and lingers. The method for deciding how to clean a deep fryer pot depends on what your pot is made of.

If you have a Dutch oven, fill it with water, and bring it to a boil, then add a few heaped spoonfuls of baking soda. Heat the mixture to a simmer while you scrape burnt-on stains with a wooden spoon. Drain the pot, and wash it out with dish soap. Use an abrasive sponge to get rid of any stubborn marks.

The best answer to how to clean out a deep fryer pot made of stainless steel is to use vinegar, baking soda, and water. With your stainless steel stockpot on the stove top, add a thin layer of water. Then, add one cup of white vinegar, and bring the pan to a boil. Take it off the heat, then add two Tbsp. of baking soda. Empty the pot, and wipe it clean with a scouring pad. For really stubborn stains, add a couple of drops of water to a little baking soda to create a paste. Apply the paste to the stains, and leave them for several minutes before wiping clean and rinsing thoroughly. Repeat the process if necessary.

How to Clean a Deep Fryer Basket


(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Most deep fryers have removable parts that can go into the dishwasher for cleaning. Always check your user’s manual to find out which parts are dishwasher safe. Your deep fryer basket is probably the part that gets most affected by grease because it comes into close contact with the oil and the food. If your deep fryer basket isn’t dishwasher safe, start by using paper towels to remove as much oil residue as possible from the inside of the basket. When the paper towels are soaked with oil, replace them with fresh paper towels, and repeat until you’ve removed as much oil as you can.

A mix of dish-washing detergent and hot water is the best option for how to clean a deep fryer basket. Apply detergent to a wet sponge and scrub hard to remove oil residue. Then, rinse the deep fryer basket, in a deep sink if possible. Alternatively, use a bowl or a cup to put water in the deeper fryer basket. After rinsing, dry with towels. If you have grease spots and food particles stuck to the basket, use an old, soft toothbrush or a plastic or rubber pan scraper or spatula to get rid of them. Don’t use a metal utensil as it will scratch the surface of the basket.

Use the same method to resolve how to clean a deep fryer vat.

How to Clean a Deep Fryer Heating Element

If your deep fryer heating element is dirty, simply wipe it clean. Some deep fryers have two metal rods that can be wiped clean, but if your heating element has thin wires, check your user’s manual for directions. While some heating elements are removable for cleaning, others remain attached with a hinge. As well as knowing how to clean a deep fryer heating element, take care when handling it to avoid damage.

How to Clean Grease Off a Deep Fat Fryer

Another effective method for how to clean grease off a deep fat fryer (and one you might find if you search for “how to clean a deep fryer at-home remedy”) is by using baking soda. Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste. Apply the paste all over the inside of the fryer with a sponge, and leave it for a few minutes to work its magic! Scrub the interior with a clean sponge or cloth until all spots of grease are gone. Rinse thoroughly with water until it’s completely clean.

How often are you supposed to clean a deep fryer?

If you use your deep fryer frequently, change the oil and clean the fryer every few days to avoid a buildup of grease that can be a nightmare to remove. If you only need to know how to clean a deep fryer pot after cooking turkey every Thanksgiving, you can simply follow the instructions for how to clean a deep fat fryer the day after your annual feast (then put your fryer away until the next year).! No matter how often you use your deep fat fryer, it’s important to remember how to clean a deep fryer after frying because each time you use it, debris builds up.

Guidelines for how to clean a commercial deep fryer are different because commercial fryers are typically used on a daily basis. This means they require cleaning more often. It’s advisable to clean a commercial deep fryer on a daily basis to protect the health of customers.

In addition, to make your deep fat fryer last longer, avoid seasoning food with salt over the fryer. Add salt to your food once it has been taken out of the fryer. Hot oil and salt create free radicals, which result in impurities that break oil down quicker, leading to nasty flavors and smells.

Also, try to keep cooking temperature below 375 degrees Fahrenheit, because the higher the temperature, the faster the rate of oxidation, which breaks down oil faster.

Cleaning a deep fryer is not a quick task. It requires time, patience, and a healthy dose of elbow grease to get rid of stubborn oil stains, dried grease, and food particles. But it’s a job worth doing to ensure your churros and corn dogs taste great.

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