The most important component of a commercial countertop fryer is the frypot - the vat that holds the oil your food cooks in. There are three primary types, and each lends itself better to cooking different types of food. Understanding the type of food you want to cook will help you determine which type of equipment you need.
Choosing a Fryer by Food Type
Wet Battered Food
For heavily-battered food that floats freely on the oil, like wet-battered fish and tempura, choose a flat bottom model. The frypots in these are simple rectangles, heated from underneath. Lost batter will float to the top or fall to the bottom and must be cleaned out regularly, otherwise it will burn and give an unpleasant taste to your product.
For lightly-breaded frozen foods like cheese sticks and fries, open pot models are best. These feature sloped bottoms that create a “cold zone” where lost breading will collect so it doesn't get burned. The open design of this type of countertop commercial fryer lends itself well to producing food in high volumes, so these are the go-to equipment for French fries.
Higher-sediment, breaded foods like chicken do best in a tube-type countertop deep fryer. All of these operate on gas, and heat travels through tubes that run through the inside of the pot. Underneath the tubes is a large, sediment-collecting cold zone. The tubes enable these fryers to get back up to cooking temperatures quickly after cold foods are added, and they also keep sediment from the cold zone from flowing back into the hot zone and sticking to food and the sides of the pot.
For cooking concession snacks, select a commercial countertop fryer designed specifically for the snack your serving. Donut fryers are flat-bottomed units with special grids that are used to drop in and lift out the pastries. Corn dog fryers are equipped with clips that hold the snacks in place as they fry. Funnel cake fryers are another flat-bottom machine and are typically used with rings that are used to form the round cakes as the batter is poured onto the oil.
- Basket lifts will automatically lift baskets of food out of the fryer when cooking cycle has completed. This can help prevent the overcooking or burning of foods in busy kitchens where distractions are many.
- Solid shortening must be brought up to cooking temperatures gradually, otherwise you risk burning it. If you want to use that type to cook your foods, choose a commercial countertop deep fryer with a melt cycle.
- To simplify your operations and make them foolproof, pick a model with programmable controls so operators can select the items they are frying from the menu. The cook times and temperatures for each food are stored in digital memory in the unit and will be automatically set as that item is selected.
- Split pot fryers have two separate sections in a single footprint. That allows you to fry two types of food at the same time with no risk of flavor transfer between them.
- To save some cash on fuel costs over the life of your equipment, choose a high-efficiency model. These incorporate new technology that conserves energy compared to traditional units.
- Save money on oil costs with an oil conserving unit. These are designed to use less oil than traditional models.
- To make cleaning an electric countertop commercial fryer easier, choose one with a swing-up element. As the name implies, the burners, which sit in the oil, swing up and out of the frypot so you can clean it thoroughly.