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Pros & Cons of the 3 Main Types of Commercial Fryers

Though it may seem daunting at first, choosing the best fryer for your food service establishment shouldn’t be that difficult. As long as you know the menu you are or will be serving, finding your way to the right commercial fryer will be a cinch.

With that in mind, here are the three most common commercial fryers and the food items each is best suited to cook.

Commercial Fryer No. 1: The Open-Pot Fryer

Frypot of Open Pot Fryer

The best fryer for foods like:

Pre-breaded foods that need to be rethermalized, from cheese sticks to poppers to the beloved French fry. Open fryers are best for preparing low-sediment foods that don’t shed a lot of breading.

How open-pot fryers work:

They’re called open pot fryers because the elements of the gas version are in the walls of the frypot, leaving that space mostly open. The bottom of this type of commercial deep fryer is V-shaped and unobstructed in gas models, while electric open fryer models have a ribbon-like heating element inside the pot. That element will typically swing up and out of the frypot for easy cleaning.

Electric Open Fryer Frypot

Since much of the frypot in this commercial fryer is clear, the open-pot fryer is perfect for fryer baskets. To reduce sediment, those should be shaken over a trash can after loading with food products to lose crumbs prior to bringing them into the cooking area. Open-pot fryers are also fairly easy to clean, again thanks to their open design. Heavier sediment will settle into the “cold zone,” the area below the heating elements, at the bottom of the V near the filtration drain. That area of an open-pot fryer should be cleaned regularly using a heat-resistant brush designed for that purpose.

Pros:

Open fryers are easy to clean; versatile and great for pre-breaded foods; typically the most value-priced floor model commercial fryers.

Cons:

An open fryer can have slow heat recovery; the frypot drain can become clogged if not cleaned regularly or when frying high-sediment foods; sediment zone in gas version is difficult to access for cleaning.



Commercial Fryer No. 2: The Tube-Style Fryer

Tube Type Fryer Frypot

The best fryer for foods like:

The tube-style fryer is the jack of all trades in the commercial fryer family, capable of handling almost anything battered or breaded. Tube fryers are great for hand-breaded chicken or fish, onion rings, and anything else likely to produce a lot of sediment.

How tube-style fryers work:

As with all commercial fryers, the name says it all. Each tube fryer has tubular heating elements in the frypot, with large sediment collection zones below them. That gives them the ability to handle foods that drop more, although it can be tough to completely clean a tube-style fryer because material can get stuck under the tubes. That’s an issue not only because it can impact the flavor of the food you’re preparing in your commercial fryer, but also because that sediment can promote the breakdown of the oil, shortening its useful life and leading to more expense from replacing it.

You won’t find an electric commercial fryer among the mix when it comes to tube fryers; your only option in this category is gas-fired.

Pros:

Tube-style fryers can handle both low- and high-sediment foods; large collection area keeps sediment away from cooking items.

Cons:

A tube type fryer can be more difficult to clean and the frypot drain in this type of commercial fryer can become clogged, requiring a rod to clear it; doesn’t work well with specialty items like those that start the list of foods that work well in our next commercial fryers.



Commercial Fryer No. 3: The Flat-Bottom Fryer

Flat Bottom Commercial Fryer

The best fryer for foods like:

Funnel cakes, tempura, tortilla chips, taco shells, doughnuts, and wet-battered items do great in these fryers, as do unusual things like fried butter, and candy bars. Basically, a flat fryer is likely the right commercial fryer for you if you plan to sell a lot of food at state fairs or if you intend to fry battered foods.

How flat-bottom fryers work:

You could likely guess, but the frypot on a flat fryer, which you might also see referred to as a funnel cake fryer thanks to its proliferation in that field, is a big square with a flat bottom. That means there is no sediment zone as there is on each commercial fryer detailed so far. While some of the remnants from the cooking process will float to the top and can be scooped out – some places have built reputations on those delicious little pieces – the rest will collect at the bottom. Foods that are right for a flat-bottom fryer may initially sink in the oil, but will float at the top by the time they’re ready.

Like the open-pot fryer, the flat fryer is available in gas and electric models. In gas-fired flat fryers, the gas is burnt below the frypot to provide the heat needed for cooking. An electric commercial fryer in this category will be similar to an open pot electric fryer in that it will typically have a ribbon-like element that snakes through the bottom of the frypot.

Pros:

Flat-bottom fryers are great for battered and specialty foods; don’t have heating elements in oil, which makes them easier to clean.

Cons:

Sediment can carbonize if not cleaned out, giving a burnt flavor to food; sediment is more exposed to food; oil takes longer to heat and recover heat between batches than in other types; flat fryers are typically more expensive than tube-style fryers; not suitable for fryer baskets.