For less than £20, Tesco Deep Fat Fryer seemed like a bargain buy when I bought it. It offered the same size, power and specifications of most of the fryers costing twice the price (and more besides), and I got it for a bargain price using doubled up Clubcard vouchers during a sale.
I'd not used a deep fat fryer since I was a child before I bought this, and I once again don't use one now! While I found that this worked fairly well, I quickly discovered that this method of cooking was not for me.
There's no real assembly required with this, you just get it out of the box, give it a quick clean to remove any factory residue, put the bits back together then fill it up with oil, plug it in and turn it on - job done. There are no controls as such, just a temperature knob and a light to tell you when it's on (plugged in) and when it's hot enough to cook with. It took about three or four minutes to get hot enough to cook with from being turned on each time, which I thought was pretty good.
To cook food in it, you just lift up the included basket, put your food in, then lower your food into the oil. Despite requiring three litres of oil to fill it up with, the basket doesn't hold all that much food at a time unfortunately, and definitely isn't big enough to cook a round of chips for a big family in one go. I liked that the basket could be balanced on the edge of the fryer when food was finished but I also felt a bit concerned about how thin and fickle the handle felt.
While cooking, you can't put the lid on this - that's only included for placing on the fryer when it's cooled down and not in use. This means that you get bits of fat spitting about the place while it's in use, as well as a strong smell filling the kitchen (and beyond). I didn't mind the smell while I was cooking, but I quickly found that the smell that lingered once everything had cooled down made me feel really quite ill. That was my main reason for getting rid of this in the end to be honest.
Cleaning this out is simple in theory, everything comes apart quite easily. However you do have to be careful to keep the power pack away from water for obvious reasons, and this means you need to balance it along with the attached grease-laden heat element onto a plate or something while you get the rest of it cleaned up. Cleaning out the rest of it is as easy as I imagine cleaning out any deep fat fryer would be though I can't say it was a pleasant job - that oil sure does like to cling onto what it can.
The whole deep fat frying thing just wasn't for me it quickly transpired. I can't fault the actual machine when it comes to price, efficiency and usability - it just turned out that I'm an oven girl at heart.
I needed a new deep fat fryer and after looking around decided on this Tesco own brand Pro one as I liked the price of only £18.
My previous ones had all been the round white type so thought I'd have a change. I was worried that the rectangular fryer might be too big, but when I got it home the shape fitted nicely into the corner. It stands at 27 cm high has a width of 39.7 and is 21.9 in depth. It looks really stylish in stainless steel and black plastic and comes apart for easy cleaning (really is quite easy to clean).
The basket is rectangular with a removable handle. It has multiple temperature control with 'light ready' light. I find it heats up alot quicker than my previous one and cooks faster. The fryer has cool wall feature but I don't know how effective it is as I haven't touched the sides when in use.
The 3l oil capacity is large and the 1kg food capacity is quite big, having four kids though I find that I have to cook chips in two shifts, but for other items there's plenty of room.
The only couple of disadvantages are lack of an on and off switch, you turn it on at the wall, and the fact that you use it with the lid off means I have to keep an eye on it while it's in use, and it steams up the kitchen. I find the shape of the basket a bit awkward to manoeuvre but apart from that I love it, it makes great chips.
We bought this around two years ago, when my other half really fancied some proper chips rather than oven. I sort of regret buying this, as it is now way too easy to make unbelievably unhealthy meals with it! There is nothing like fresh homemade fried chips, which are soo easy to make and soo yummy!
~ Availability & Cost ~
This is a Tesco own brand fryer therefore only available in store or online at Tesco Direct. We bought it for around £20, I can see it is currently available on Tesco Direct for £19.97 (reduced from £24.97). Delivery is £5.00 for small items (next day), however, if you have a Tesco store near you, you can click and collect for free. However, the collection is not available in all stores.
~ Product ~
The reason we picked this in opposition to the usual big white square fryers, is because of its looks and slim size. It is stainless steel all over apart from the handles and part at the top with the dial. It is classed as a "professional" fryer, but I'm not sure how they define professional, as this is a basic model, maybe because it looks like an industrial fryer with the stainless steel.
It is a no frills model (what do you really expect for the price), it comes with a removable fryer basket and a dial to choose the temperature, the heating filament is attached to the dial bit at the back & is removable for cleaning. There are two lights on the top - a red one to tell you the fryer is on and a green one to tell you that it has reached the specified temperature. That's about it!
The oil capacity is 3 litres and food capacity is 1 litre. This is not huge but does enough chips for a family, however, if you are looking to fry things like battered fish or chicken (not advisable as it is a bit too nice!) you will have to do it in a couple of goes. We did battered chicken thighs and you can fit two thighs max in the basket. If you are doing fish, you could fit two smaller pieces or one large.
The measurements are - 24cm * 41.5cm and height 26cm, however the handle to the basket sticks out and doesn't fold down, therefore if you don't remove the handle it is actually 56.5 cm long. The handle is removable, but we don't normally take it out as it is all sticky. We only remove it when we are cleaning & changing the oil.
The unit heats up in a reasonable length of time, its not quick and not slow. (I'll time it next time I use it and update this review). The temperatures range between 150-190 C, which is enough for a range of fried foods. However, we only really cook chips at 190.
When you are using the fryer, it says to cook with the lid off, therefore this is a bit of a safety issue if you have kids around. Make sure this is way out of reach of inquisitive hands, as if they grab at the handle the whole thing could tip over! The other types of fryers seem a little safer with the clip down lids.
Also, the sides are stainless steel and get very hot when in use. The only part of the fryer you can touch is the handle to the basket and the temperature dial.
The frying basket is a simple rectangular basket with a clipped in handle attached. It does have a rest so you can have the basket out of the oil when you are putting the food in, then lower it into the oil. There is no auto rotation/movement of the basket that you get with the more expensive models.
However, the most annoying thing on this fryer is that there is no on/off switch on the fryer & you have to turn it off at the wall. Unfortunately in our kitchen the plug sockets are in a ridiculous location behind the fridge/freezer, so every time I use this I have to lean around the fridge to turn it on and off. This may not be an issue with most peoples kitchens, however, I find it most annoying!
The internal tray which the oil goes in is removable for cleaning, however, there is no easy oil removal spout like I have seen on some more expensive fryers, you just have to tip it up (normally get DH to do that bit). It does clean quite easily once you have removed the oil, and there are not many nooks and crannies for bits to get stuck in. But as with any oil fryers its messy!
~ Would I recommend? ~
Well yes, it is a very simple fryer, but it does the job, looks quite good and is smaller than a lot of the fryers out there.
However, it does make it WAY to easy to make very bad food for you! If you have the willpower to avoid eating chips every day, then go for it! But if you don't think you have, I would say to avoid!
Short name: Tesco DFPSS11