What Temperatures should a deep fryer be?
Home deep fryers typically reach a max temperature of 375°F. While there are some commercial deep fryers that have capabilities of surpassing this amount, going much higher doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of how the food cooks and how smoke points operate.
When deciding what temperature you should use there are a few things you should keep in mind
1)Which foods are you deep frying? Different foods should be deep fried at different temperatures
2)Which oil are you using? Depending on your oil's smoke point, you may need to adjust your temperature
3)How much food are you trying to deep fry? Overfilling your deep fryer baskets may greatly reduce current temperatures
Frying Temperatures of different Foods
The recommended temperature of deep frying most foods is between 325 and 375°F. The way deep frying works is that when you place food into hot oil, the food usually reacts by creating an exterior barrier on the outside of the food. This prevents the oil from simply entering the food. The outside of the food will crisp and cook well, while the inside gets more of a boiled cooking treatment. This is good because if the oil did enter the food, it would be a pretty soggy experience. Anything below 325° F would great increase the odds of this happening. While anything above 375° F wouldn't cook the food quite right.
Because every food is different, you may need to look up individual temperatures and cooking times for each food you're deciding to make. That being said, we'll provide you a few of the most common food choices.
Temp in °F
As you can see here, most foods try and stay relatively high in their deep frying temperatures to ensure the food cooks well without becoming soggy.
What Temperatures can Oils Reach?
By now we know that deep fryers can reach temperatures up to 375° F, but it's important to know not all oils can withstand that heat. This is where the smoke point of an oil comes in. The smoke point of an oil is the point where the oil starts to break down and produce a bluish smoke. Broken down oil is not good for you as it'll release certain chemicals into the air and into your food.
Most oils have a smoke point of at least 400° F, so you may be safe without even knowing it. However, you should still know the smoke point of your oil. But things such as butter and a lot of unrefined oils will have smoke points closer to 300° F. Overall, as long as you're aware of your oil's smoke points, you're likely to be just fine.
How Food Effects Temperature
Sometimes the effect that food has on temperature can be understated. For example, lets say you set your deep fryer to 375°F. Once it's ready, you put in a very full basket of frozen french fries. Because you put in a lot of frozen food into the deep fryer at once, the temperature will surely drop at least 25° and may produce less than ideal results depending on how long it takes for the deep fryer to recover.
One tip many people use when deep frying is that they'll raise the initial temperature. So if they usually deep fry something at 360° F, they'll start the deep fryer up at 375°F. As the food gets put into the fryer and the temperature drops a bit, they'll lower the temperature back down to 360°F. Ideally when this happens, the temperature never fluctuates too much and stays around 360° throughout the cooking process.
Lastly, because we know the colder the food, the bigger increase of temperature drop, it's always smart to try and allow a lot of your fresh food to reach temperatures closer to room temp before you begin deep frying.
By now, hopefully you have a grasp of things to consider when choosing your temperature as you deep fry. It'll always be important knowing the limits of your oil, deep fryer, and the food you choose to deep fry. If you're aware, you should be able to make an educated decision to produce the crispiest and tastiest deep fried food possible.