Fryers are sized by oil capacity. Even though oil is a liquid, it is measured in pounds because it ships in bulk, so a 40-lb. fryer will hold that much oil. The amount of food a given fryer can actually cook in an hour is about 1.5 to 2 times the amount of oil it holds, depending on the size and density of the product. So, a 30 pound fryer will be able to cook between 45 – 50 pounds of product in an hour. Frozen foods take longer to cook, so estimate on the low end if you're going to mostly be cooking and retherming frozen products like French fries and cheese sticks.
Choosing the Right Type
These are full-size, high-volume pieces of equipment. With average oil capacities of 30 to 40 pounds, they will serve as your primary fryer used for cooking staples like French fries, chicken, and other high-demand sides and main courses. Local codes will probably require these to be installed underneath a ventilation hood to remove grease-laden vapors.
If you want to fry a few small batches of food each day, consider a countertop model. These are ideal for cooking up appetizers and snacks; they won't be able to keep up to cook high-demand dishes. The smallest of these can be stored away in space-limited kitchens when they're not in use.
Drop-in models are generally used for the same purposes as countertop models, but they can be built into the countertop for safety and convenience. These are a good solution for concession stands and pubs that need to fry a handful of dishes each day or restaurants that don't specialize in fried foods but want to keep french fries on the menu.
- Because cooking oil is lost gradually as it is absorbed by food and as it evaporates into the air, an automatic top-off feature is useful for keeping cooking oils at an ideal level. This will save some time on labor and keep your fryer safe from overheating.
- Basket lifts are a good option in busy kitchens. They will lift the fry baskets out of the oil automatically when the cooking time is up, freeing up labor time for other tasks.
- Similarly, programmable controls allow operators to select cooking cycles from a preprogrammed list of products. The fryer will recall cook times and temperatures from memory. This feature can reduce the risk of operator error and ensure that your menu items are cooked more consistently.
- Most fryers are required by building codes to be installed underneath a hood to vent away grease-laden vapors. Ventless models have built-in, self-contained hoods that don't have to be connected to the outside. They filter out unwanted substances and recirculate the air.
- Most commercial electric fryers feature elements that are submerged in the oil. To make cleaning out the frypot easy, many of these are swing-up elements that lift up and out of the frypot easily. This can speed up the process and allow for quicker, more thorough cleaning.
- Split pot units allow you to separate your cooking oil into two vats so you can cook two types of food at once without transferring flavor between them.
- The most important step you can take to save money and ensure a fresh-tasting product is to filter your fryer oil regularly. Doing so will slow down the inevitable process of it breaking down and keep your foods tasting fresh in the meantime. To simplify the process, choose a fryer with a built-in filter.
- Grill a burger to go with your fries with a built-in griddle.
- Most businesses that want to have plenty of french fries on hand and ready to serve will invest in a heat and dump station to keep them fresh and hot. A commercial fryer is available with a built-in dump station that can save room in your kitchen and reduce the number of utility connections needed compared to having separate units.