I'm not a big fan of greasy food but I do occasionally fancy home made chips and I've yet to find an oven chip that comes anywhere close to the real thing. My parents stressed the importance to me of a deep fat fryer over a chip pan when I was a young teen, after my friend burned down her parents house whilst experimenting with the latter and made the front page of our local newspaper. My parents will be pleased to know that I have never owned a chip pan but I have always owned a deep fat fryer. The current model that I own is a very basic one that I picked from Argos for under £20 about two years ago.
Since my deep fat fryer is only used occasionally it normally lives hidden away at the bottom of a kitchen cupboard so I'm not too bothered that it's not the world's most attractive object, but then again I've seen ugly round white plastic models so at least mine is stainless steel, which makes it a little bit more classy. It's also rectangular in shape rather than round and looks fairly satisfactory to me.
I tend to go in fads with fried food and my deep fat fryer can spend weeks hidden away out of site and unused and then suddenly I'll remember it's there and use it and then it will be used frequently for the next few days until the novelty wears off. As I mentioned earlier it's mainly been used to fry chips, which I've perfected to a tee. I have done other easy things (fish fingers etc) in it but I've certainly not been very adventurous with it. According to the instruction booklet you can fry just about anything in it including a whole chicken (would need to be quite a small one).
The deep fat fryer operates on 1400 Watts of power and has a variable temperature range between 130-190 Degrees C. It's a not a particularly large fryer measuring 35cm high x 23cm wide x 21cm deep, but it's food capacity is 800g and it can hold 2.51 litres of oil so it's ideal for a couple or a single person but not really adequate for a family.
Using the fryer is very simple but there is slightly more to it than just plugging it it. Before turning it on you should check the oil level is sufficient and more importantly in my case, that the oil is still fresh. The oil in regularly used fryers is re-usable many times but when it's been stood for a few weeks I'm nervous about reheating it and I tend to end up having to replace it. Finally you should make sure that the temperature gauge, which is adjusted via a sliding lever on the front, is set to the correct temperature. Since mine is mainly used for chips I always leave mine on the maximum setting.
The plug length isn't particularly long so I have to position it quite close to a socket, which isn't ideal as my sockets are on the opposite wall to my kitchen window and it does produce a lot of steam and smell, so inevitably I end up having to put my extractor on and sometimes even open the door to let out all of the steam. Remember not to overfill the fryer with the oil as this expands when it is hot and will spill over if it is too full. One of the main features of a deep fat fryer is that it won't overheat and cause a fire like a traditional chip pan but common sense dictates that it still shouldn't be left unattended.
The deep fat fryer does seem to take quite a long time to heat up (approx 8-10 minutes) to reach maximum temperature but when it is up to temperature there is a red light that goes out so you know it's time to add your food. Once it is up to temperature you don't need to worry about burning yourself as the outside of the body has a special coating that keeps it cool. Care should however be exercised when you open the lid to remove your cooked food (or to check on it) as there will be a lot of hot steam released. The handle on the lid is quite long but unfortunately the handle on the basket inside isn't particularly long and mine is also a little bit wonky. A handy feature is that on the bottom of the appliance there are non slip feet that help it to grip onto the surface of the worktop so it doesn't slide around.
Cleaning the deep fat fryer is something that I never look forward to. The product claims to be "easy clean" but I doubt that anything that spends its life submerged in oil and grease will quickly wipe clean with a cloth. On the plus side the bowl is removable which does allow you to access the areas that would otherwise be hard to reach.
Overall I do think that this deep fat fryer is good value and for someone like me who doesn't use it very often it serves its purpose so I'd recommend it but its certainly not suitable for everyone.
As someone who has got quite into cooking over the past few years, I am constantly looking to expand the range of things I can cook. While takeaways are always there for the days when I'd sooner put my own head in the oven than put a roast in there, it saves money and gives me more freedom in what I eat to have as many "go to" meals as possible and, with a little forward planning and pre-prep, a quick dinner or lunch can take less than half an hour to cook.
Chips are one of those foods with which we have a complicated relationship. Although universally accepted as not being terribly healthy, they are versatile, easy to make and very affordable. And as long as you're bright enough with your portion control, they really aren't that much more calorific than a plate of basmati rice and actually less so than a portion of pasta. There's a reason that a good chippy does a lot of business even in a recession.
*Height x Width x Depth: 35x23x21 cm (making it easy to store away, and unobtrusive in the kitchen)
*Oil Capacity: 2.5l
*Food Capacity: 800g
*Power: 1400 Watts
*Stainless Steel Outer Cool Wall, Removable Bowl
*Cool Zone Technology to keep oil fresher for longer
*Cost: Usually retails for £17.99, but I got it in a sale for £14.99
Is It Up To The Job?
800g is a fairly pokey food capacity, if we're being honest. It might not be the ideal appliance for a large family. Luckily, It's just me and Mrs LeicesterPaul here, so there's enough in one go here for us both (and enough for one more person if we were to entertain). If you're living alone or just as a couple, or can bear doing more than one load, then the size isn't a major issue. If you're trying to feed a rugby team you'll probably want a larger model.
As for the quality of the frying, here I have to admit that my consuming quest of the last several months has been the perfect chip. Par-boiling for ten minutes beforehand, letting the unfried chips cool, then frying them in Beef Dripping at 140 until they're a light yellow colour (about eight minutes), draining them on kitchen roll while the oil heats to 180, whereupon I whip them back in for another two minutes is my technique. Using that technique this fryer consistently produces chips I'd be happy to shove under Harry Ramsden's nose and say "What do you think of that, then? Huh?" if it weren't for the fact he's been dead for fifty years.
Using this fryer I have also produced chicken goujons that have received extremely favourable reviews for just four minutes of cooking, as well as battered mushrooms and breaded prawns. Once I work up the courage to prepare fresh fish, I have no doubt that this fryer will be more than up to the job of making delicious fish and chips.
Is It Easy To Clean?
No, it's a deep fat fryer. It holds 2.5 litres of grease. That's never going to be even slightly easy to clean, especially if you hate touching grease. However, it is easy to take apart and the exterior is stainless steel. The component parts are not especially intricate and, once you've got them separated out, lots of hot water and washing up liquid, a good pair of Marigolds and some multi-purpose cloths will have it sorted out in less time than many other fryers I've worked with.
Overall, Was It Worth The Money?
Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. Even at full price it would be well worth it. There is nothing flashy about this deep fat fryer, but the only question you really need to ask is "Does it do what it is supposed to do, and do it well?". The answer here is yes. You can't go away and leave it to do the job itself, but leaving a hot chip pan unattended isn't really a good idea anyway. It's cheap and cheerful, but it really doesn't need to be anything else.
I bought this fryer a few months ago and have now given it away to my son, who asked for it.
We don't eat a huge amount of chips and I really wanted an Actifry but the huge cost put me off so I ended up buying this on a bit of an impulse when I was in Argos.
There's nothing wrong with the Argos Value range of goods. They are as reliable as any other make but cheaper.
One thing I liked about the fryer was the shape. Rectangular so much easier to store away than round things.
Stainless steel so looks nice and is easy to clean since you can actually remove the lid and bowl to give it a scrub.
Coolwall so safer to be near in the kitchen.
Cool zone to supposedly keep your oil fresher for longer though not sure what that means.
A good price for deep fried chips
Easy to clean and store
Having to cook with the lid off creates a HUGE amount of steam and therefore quite a lot of fat floating around the air in your kitchen.
Small basket so not big enough for a family - ok for 2 people.
The oil smells after a couple of uses and I don't like it.
I unfortunately used mine on the worktop by some wall units a few times without noticing the volume of steam created. It started to affect the cupboard doors and they started to go yellowy too.
Having to have the window right open in winter is not nice.
I decided that oven chips or no chips are preferable to using this fryer in my new kitchen so when I was asked what I was doing with it it went off to live elsewhere.
If you use a deep fat fryer on your stove top this will probably be ok for you. If you don't then you might be surprised how greasy you kitchen will get after a few uses.
I came to own this deep fat fryer three years ago, we had a plastic one prior that had seen better days and needed replacing. My husband likes his chips fryed, his Mum frys in lard (still does) - I draw the line at frying in oil so he seems happy with this compromise.
**Appearance of the Fryer**
It's a rectangular shaped fryer, this attracted me to it as my previous one was a round shape, and wasted cupboard space for storage. It's quite a small compact size, manufacture states 0.8kg food capacity and oil capacity 2.5L. It's silver with black trim, the silver body is a cool wall. Actual dimensions are H35, W23, D21cm.
**Using the Fryer**
Very straight forward to use, simply plug it into a socket. It has no on switch, just a dial to alter the temperature that the oil is heated to. There's a light on the appliance that indicates it's switched on, it turns green when the oil has reached the required temperature. It heats up within minutes which is a bonus. I always seem to be in a hurry to produce dinner!
When you are pouring in the oil, there's a minimum and maximum fill line that you can use to gauge the amount of oil added to the fryer.
It has a little basket inside to help fish out the fried items. There's a little ridge on the edge of the fryer that you can lock the basket into for the items to drain off into the fryer. Trouble with this is that the oil is obviously still hot, where it evaporates into the air, it then leaves a residue which is quite tough to clean in the surrounding kitchen area. I find the bottom side of cupboards particularly bad for collecting this. It does leak oil a little even with the lid on, you'd expect that though the filter, but it comes through other places too.
Chips come out quite tasty from the fryer, I've also tried battered items and scotch eggs, although this is pretty messy and the oil usually needs to be changed afterwards. Which is what I'd expect from any fryer.
As mentioned before, the fryer is quite small. It will comfortably fry chips for two if the oil is at maximum capacity, perhaps even three with smaller portions. I wouldn't recommend for a whole family though, otherwise you'd need to fry in two batches.
My only moan is that the handle can sometimes become unlocked from the fryer, very annoying when you want to pour the contents out. Obviously the basket is hot, so I have to use tongs or a fork to lock it back into place with the other hand. The same if you want to shake the contents about a bit while frying. Tricky operation when it's full of food! It is a value fryer however, so I am willing to accept that I didn't purchase the highest quality fryer in the world.
This fryer comes apart into pieces, the frying bucket will even go through the dishwasher. The rest can be washed in the kitchen sink with a bit of elbow grease. The silver part on the outside is quite hard to keep shiny, needs a good polish up. This part actually feels quite flimsy when it's all taken apart.
Most of it comes up clean easily, there are a few areas that are harder to clean- around the dial being one of them and the little lips around the lid. I've never used anything abrasive but the writing has now all faded. There's parts around where the filter is that tend to attract grease build up and are particularly tricky to clean off. The filter comes apart and can be washed too which is an added bonus.
When reassembling, it has a safety function on the part that contains the heating element, if it's not assembled correctly the button won't be pushed in and it therefore won't work. I find this quite reassuring.
**Availability and Costs**
This fryer is currently available in Argos for £17.99, it's also available on Ebay, you may get it for a little less on there but of course need to consider the postage.
If you want a cheaper fryer and are cooking for 2/3 of you it's pretty good. I'd recommend something larger otherwise. Also great if space is at a premium in your kitchen. Be prepared to clean however from that leaking evaporated oil from the lid and when the pan is draining! It's never let us down over it's faithful three year service, so I can certainly deem it reliable.
Ive had mine for about a year, and It is convienient and simple to use. Although, it can be very messy, as you have to leave the lid off to fry your chips, and I am forever cleaning the tiles behind it, as the grease evaporates and goes every where!!
It holds about 3 portions of chips at a push, and the basket is only small, so would not really suit a family of more than 3!
It is, however east to clean, as the control part slides off and you can throw the rest in the sink to wash, and with it being stainless steel, it isn't shy of a bit of scouring. Just don't scour over the words, as they will come off lol.
It heats up kinda quick, but I do not like the fact that it has no power off button, and you have to turn it off by the socket. I have seen it spark once or twice!!
I bought this about 5 months ago from Argos it's part of the Argos Value range and as such is only available from Argos. This was actually my second choice as I had previously ordered one from Amazon with some vouchers I had, but when it arrived I had been disappointed with the quality and sent it back without using it, in the mean time though I had got rid of my old deep fat fryer which was leaking anyway. This being at the start of winter in Northumberland I was missing my comfort food of chips, in summer I can go weeks with just salad, but in winter I need hot greasy chips. To make things worse it was January and money was tight, so we decided to go into town and compared the value range deep fat fryers in Asda and Argos, and this one looked smart as it is stainless steel.
This is quite a small deep fat fryer, and in the gap from our old fryer looks quite small, it's 23 cm by 21 cm and holds 2 and a half litres of oil. It is quite a smart looking deep fat fryer, and being stainless steel it doesn't look too cheap. On the front it has some small pictures of different food you can fry with cooking times.
Like all deep fat fryers it's quite easy to use, you switch it on let it heat up and put the chips or whatever you are frying in the basket, it takes about 10 minutes to fry chips, including heating up the oil. It has a cool wall body and a safety cut out so seems pretty safe to use, although we do keep an eye on it. It has different heat settings, although we tend to keep it on the hottest. There is a power light so that you can tell if it is switched on. I don't think it is any louder than our last deep fat fryer.
My experience using it
The basket as you would imagine is quite small and this probably wouldn't suit a family, but it cooks enough chips for 2 to 3 people, and on the plus side it stops us cooking too many chips. My only complaint about it is that when you are using it you have to leave the lid off and it doesn't have a filter, I hadn't realised this when I bought it and it does mean it's extremely messy.
The deep fat fryer itself is easy to clean as it comes apart and the main compartment and wire basket are dish washer safe, or a wipe with a wet cloth and some hot water will do the job.
I have found this a good little fryer, it is about the right size for us, and is easy to clean, as said my only complaint is the kitchen itself is now harder to keep clean, for that reason I am giving it only 3 stars.