How to Deep Fry Foods 

 Originally Written: September 22, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

fryingPersonally, I think that deep frying foods has got a bad wrap over the last few years. In the effort to focus on healthy, “good for you” eating, it was overlooked that deep frying at home is quite different from deep frying in fast food outlets. For one thing – it is for certain that the content of foods being deep fried is very different – you know what you are using.

I have put together a basic guide and notes on deep frying for you and remember – as long as you don’t do things in excess, they will not hurt you!

How to Deep Fry Foods:

  • Foods fried in deep fat or oil should never end up being greasy. If they have been prepared and cooked properly, they will be as light and delicate as food cooked in the oven.
  • Fats best suited for deep frying are vegetable oils (such as corn oil, sunflower oil or cottonseed oil or hydrogenated vegetable shortenings.
  • Temperature for deep frying is most important. Most foods are fried at 375F – unless indicated otherwise in the recipe. It is best to use deep frying thermometer or an electric deep fryer. If you don’t have either one, the fat has reached desired temperature when a 1″cube of bread turns golden brown in one minute. Be sure the fat is heated to the right temperature before adding food. Too low a temperature will not cook food properly, allows fat to be absorbed and causes food to be soggy. Too high a temperature will cook the outside of the food before inside is completely cooked, causes fat to smoke and develop off flavours. This fat cannot be used again and must be discarded. Never allow temperatures to go over 390F or 400F.
  • Fill deep fryer with oil or shortening to about one third depth of pan. A certain amount of bubbling takes place when food is added. If fat comes too near the top of the pan, there is danger of it bubbling over and becoming ignited.
  • Cook only a few pieces at a time. Do not crowd or overload the fryer. A wire frying basket or tongs are useful for lifting food from the fat. If basket is used, dip it in the hot fat before adding food. This prevents the food from sticking. Drain cooked food on absorbent paper and keep warm in a slow oven (300F) until all pieces are cooked.

To Clarify Fat: heat fat slowly and add four or five slices of raw potato. Let the potato cook until it becomes brown. This will absorb leftover flavours. Remove the potato, strain the fat through several layers of cloth and refrigerate for future use.

How to bread foods:

Coating foods with crumbs prevents fat from being absorb by the food. Egg forms a protective coating through which fat cannot enter.

Beat an egg until yolk and white are well blended and add  1 tablespoon of water. Use fine dry bread crumbs for coating. Roll or dip foods in flour first to form a dry surface to which the egg will cling, then dip in the beaten egg and then in crumbs.

Fish or Chicken Batter:

1 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of milk

½ cup of water

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Add milk and water slowly and beat until batter is smooth. Use as directed in individual chicken or fish recipes.


French Fries:

8 potatoes

1 quart of vegetable oil

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2″ strips. Rinse in cold water; drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Fry few at a time, in deep fat that has been heated to 375F until golden brown – about 8 minutes.  Drain on absorbent paper. Sprinkle with salt before serving.


Onion Rings

2 medium size onions

½ cup of flour

½ cup of milk

1 egg

1 quart of vegetable oil

Peel onions. Cut in ¼ inch slices and separate into rings. Mix flour, milk and egg together. Dip onion rings into the mixture and fry in deep fat that has been heated to 275F. Takes about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with salt before serving if desired.


Corn Fritters

1-1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1-1/4 teaspoon of salt

Few grains of pepper

2 tablespoons of milk

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 egg yolks, well beaten

2 egg whites, beaten to stiff

1 cup of cream style corn

Mix first 7 ingredients together and beat until smooth. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Fold in corn. Use only 1 tablespoon of batter per fritter and drop into hot fat. Fry until golden brown and serve hot. These are delicious with maple syrup.

There is a vast selection of choices as far as what you can deep fry – one of my favourites are Apple Fritters – if you want to try them, check out:


Please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always very much appreciated!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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