If you’ve found yourself here, chances are that you like fried food. This means you already know that fried food isn’t exactly good for you but, like anything else unhealthy it can be enjoyed in moderation. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
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Today we’re going to look at the best pots that you can use for deep frying. Unlike expensive dedicated machines that can be used to deep fry food, a pot can be used for a variety of other foodstuffs too. A deep fryer pot can be used to make fried chicken, French fries, onion rings, and for deep frying food of any type.
You can also use a pot for boiling, steaming, you name it, without deep frying anything. This means you get more use out of the pot than just deep-frying, so it’s a better purchase.
We get into quite some detail below but, if you’re in a hurry, the best pots for deep frying are cast iron or metal pots and woks. Deep frying pan or pots can be as simple as a fry pan, sauté pan, or any non stick frying pan.
They should be deep if you need extra capacity or to fully submerge the food into the oil. That isn’t everything you should account for but, by getting one of the above, you’re off to a good start.
Below, you’ll find that we’ve gone into more detail on the construction and safe use of deep-frying pots. These will help you decide which pot type you want and stop you from burning yourself once you do have it.
We’ve gone further than that, too, as we’ve also gathered and linked examples to show exactly what products work best. In those recommendations, you’ll find two cast iron pots, two metal pots, and two woks.
The Best Pots For Deep Frying
Before we get into specifics, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when looking for a deep frying pot.
- Your pot should be able to completely submerge what you put into it.
- Aim for around 5 to 6 inches to hold approximately 3 to 4 inches of oil.
- Look for thick walls that hold and distribute heat.
- Get a pot with a pouring spout to make transferring its contents easier.
Cast Iron Pots
Cast iron is considered the best for cooking with a pot. Why is this?
Well, it’s all in how the heat is distributed across the pot. This is especially important in deep frying, where you won’t cook individual products for that long and so you need to make sure items cook all the way through.
Along with this quick and even heating, cast iron pots work best when they have a lid on them. By trapping heat inside, the space inside the pot is heated evenly so that whatever is inside can cook properly.
This requirement for a lid is why we’ve recommended Dutch ovens or products that come with other lids that should be used when cooking.
What’s more, cast iron is easy to season compared to others. In fact, semi-regular deep frying can actually help the pot in the long run by keeping it seasoned. The drawback here is that it must be cleaned of all oil afterward so that the iron in the pot doesn’t degrade.
OUR TOP PICK
First, we have a typical cast iron pot with robust construction and a striking visual design that puts it head and shoulders above the other pots we looked at.
It’s easy to see why the Lodge 6 Quart Red Enamel Dutch Oven Pot is an incredibly popular model online with upwards of 20,000 ratings, averaging 5 stars.
It doesn’t just look pretty though; this cast iron Dutch oven is non-porous thanks to its porcelain enamel covering. This means there’s no tempering or seasoning required, making this product much easier to maintain when compared to other Dutch ovens and deep pots.
Along with the even heat distribution guaranteed by its cast iron construction, this pot should be able to fry anything and everything that fits into it.
Along with helping the heat distribution, the lid also helps to stop oil from splashing up and onto any sensitive parts of your body, like the arm or the face.
As a final note, this product in particular is great for induction stovetops and guarantees that even spread of heat no matter what surface it’s being used with.
- Versatile Dutch oven – This 6-quart Dutch oven heats food evenly and can be used for all different kinds of food.
- Secure handles – Loop handles and a stainless steel lid handle ensure no spills occur.
- Striking enamel finish – This shiny finish makes this pot stand out. It’s available in multiple colors.
The next pot is another Dutch oven from Lodge. This is a smaller model at 5 quarts, though there is a 7-quart product available for those who want a larger capacity.
Lodge as a company is based in the USA and makes sure all their products are made to be environmentally friendly. This goes for the above Lodge Dutch oven too!
As for this product, the fact it’s made from cast iron means that this pot only gets better with time, as long as you don’t do anything to damage it. This is because the pot becomes more seasoned as you cook in it.
Fortunately for you, this pot arrives pre-seasoned with 100% vegetable oil, with no artificial ingredients or chemicals.
If cast iron is out of the question or you’re just not a fan, you can go with metal instead.
Metal is great at distributing heat too and has fewer maintenance issues than cast iron while being just as or more durable. They’re also relatively expensive, making them perfect for budget frying setups.
The first pot made from alternative metal we have is a classic stainless steel saucepot from Cook N Home. Arriving with a glass lid, this pot has the largest quart capacity here.
You can get smaller versions if you want but if you need capacity, this is your best option. That capacity is made up of polished stainless steel that’s known for its durability and strength.
One thing that stainless steel isn’t as great at when compared to cast iron is heat distribution. To help with that, there’s an aluminum core inside the pot.
It also makes this a great pot for induction stovetops. The lid that comes with this product is made from tempered glass that not only protects your hands but allows you to check your frying food without moving the lid at all.
- Large 20-quart capacity – The largest capacity pot we’ve reviewed, with smaller variants available.
- Aluminum core – The encapsulated aluminum core at the bottom helps distribute heat evenly, especially on induction stovetops.
- Tempered glass lid – This lid keeps you safe and allows you to check on your food without lifting the lid.
Here’s a pan set that’s great for cost-effectiveness while being made of a non-standard cooking metal.
These are some deep dish pans intended for multi-purpose use, one of which can be deep frying. They work via a stainless steel induction plate for fast, edge-to-edge heat distribution.
Copper itself is great for heat distribution anyway but it can be harder to acquire, and so more expensive to buy. That’s why we’d advise getting a set to maximize use and cost-effectiveness.
Each pan here is coated with Copper Chef’s safe Cerami-Tech non-stick coating too, so no chemicals to worry about there.
- Multi-use pan set – This is a set of pans that can be used for deep frying.
- Stainless steel induction plate – This plate ensures quick and all-encompassing heat distribution.
- Cerami-Tech coating – Safe and chemical-free non-stick coating so that nothing sticks.
The deep and curved bowl of a wok makes it ideal for deep-frying. The curved sides make it much easier to scoop food out of it while minimizing oil use since it gathers at the bottom of the wok.
Try to avoid woks that have been treated with non-stick coatings since they might actually have chemicals that bleed into food when it’s cooked.
This is a heavy wok where a hunk of carbon steel has been hammered into a deep bowl by Chinese professionals who knew what they were doing and is the choice of many Chinese chefs.
Carbon steel is pretty strong but heavy too. Woks like this will also need seasoning and won’t work with flat electric or induction surfaces.
As for the handle, it’s made with a steel core that’s tipped with a non-slip wooden handle. It’s even hygroscopic so it should ignore moisture.
- Hand-hammered Chinese wok – A sturdy carbon steel wok fashioned by Chinese professionals.
- Steel helper handle – Wood and steel handle ensures a tight, protective grip when stir-frying in moist environments.
Another carbon steel wok, this one has a flatter bottom that’s ideal for even heat distribution and allows it to work with flat electric or induction surfaces. It also comes with instructions for proper seasoning.
This wok comes with some helpful extras too, mainly a lid and a bamboo spatula that matches its heat-resistant bamboo handle. There’s even a recipe booklet to help inspire you!
- Flat-bottomed wok – A flat bottom helps heat distribution and makes it compatible with induction cooking.
- Comes with lid and bamboo spatula – Arrives with a heat-resistant bamboo handle, a lid, and a recipe booklet.
Other Tools for Deep Frying Success
Here’s a look at the accompanying options that’s available to you. Deep frying is simple enough with a high-quality pot but there’s always more you can do to improve your cooking results.
First, you need to look into a thermometer. You’re going to have a bad time trying to place a room temperature thermometer inside boiling oil. That’s a lot of heat, so you want a robust thermometer capable of handling such intense heat without topping out.
You can get specific thermometers that have been made for deep frying and other high-heat cooking methods, otherwise, you can get away with a candy thermometer. A thermometer with a clip is great for securing it to the pot during frying.
Can’t get your hands on a thermometer for some reason? Don’t worry, there are some household tricks you can use. If you have a chopstick, place it into the oil. If the oil bubbles, you’re ready to place the food in. If it bubbles too much, you may want to turn it down a notch.
Otherwise, you can drop a popcorn kernel into the oil. It should pop at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or 176 degrees Celsius.
Second, a skimmer basket is going to help you when placing food in and taking food out of your hot new pot. A spider achieves the same task, so grab one of those if that’s easier for you. Whichever you go with, make sure that they’re made of durable stainless steel.
If you’ve seen these before, they’re essentially a mix between a strainer and a ladle that fishes your food out of the pot when it’s done without risking your hands.
How To Be Safe
As we’ve mentioned a few times now, when you’re cooking with oil there’s always the chance that you’ll get burned somehow. You won’t if you take the proper precautions, of course, so let’s talk about what those are.
Once you have a pot and maybe some of the accessories above, you need to get cooking. Everybody knows deep frying is actually quite simple and fast, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.
When lowering the food into the oil and taking it out, there’s the chance that you’ll catch droplets of burning oil on your arms. What can we do about that?
First, don’t overload the pot. That should go without saying but, in a 5 or 6-inch pot, you’ll want 3 to 4 inches of oil inside. Carry that ratio forwards if your pot happens to be bigger and make sure you don’t go over it, or you risk the oil bubbling over and causing a risk to you and your workstation.
Also, if you have thicker foods, they’ll need to have more time in the oil before they’re done. Throwing a thick piece of meat into some boiling oil is a recipe for disaster so you need to lower the oil temperature. That way, you can keep it inside longer and ensure it cooks through without burning the outside.
Next, if you’re making more than one batch, don’t start batch #2 unless you can get the temperature back to where it was when you started batch #1. Don’t just throw in more food when the oil is still recovering from the first helping. Instead, get the oil back to where it was and use a thermometer if necessary.
Similarly, leave your oil alone once you’re done. Wait until it’s cold and then store it. Cooling is easy, just leave your frying setup alone for a while at room temperature.
Here are some additional tips to make sure you’re as safe as possible when working with hot oil. First, to reiterate, never overflow your pot capacity when adding oil. Remember that the oil will splash, bubble, and spit, and you should account for that when filling up the pot.
At the other end of the frying process, you would be safer by setting up a finishing station when you’re working at a stovetop.
Chances are, you have some spare space nearby where you can set up a baking sheet, paper towel, or a wire rack that can receive the food you’ve been frying. This drains the spare oil from the cooked food without allowing the food to get soggy.
If you’re working at an oven or a BBQ, where you have a more open cooking area, you’ll first want to make sure that the pot is compatible.
Not all pots are compatible with ovens or BBQ setups. If you have a cast-iron Dutch oven then don’t worry, as most of those pots are compatible.
Getting your oil hot enough is going to be your main concern if frying with an oven or a grill. Set whichever one you’re using to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or 204 degrees Celsius, and make sure you’re keeping an eye on the temperature.
Of course, this is easy to do with a purpose-made thermometer but you can use a clean stick or another object to gauge when the oil is hot enough for frying.
Once the oil is ready and you add food materials, be careful when you check on how that food is cooking. Don’t move the pot or the food inside around too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve covered a lot of information in this piece. To finish off, let’s take a look at some FAQs that are related to deep-frying but didn’t warrant a place in the rest of today’s article.
Take a look and see if your question has been answered below!
What is the best oil for deep frying?
This is a common one when first-time deep fryers are looking for advice. Working with such large quantities of oil tends to make people consider what oil they’re using, more so than when you drizzle some oil onto a pan in the mornings.
You can use many savory oils to cook with, including deep-frying, but it’s generally agreed that peanut or canola oil is some of the best.
They both have a high smoke point, so they can withstand higher temperatures for food frying, and they each have their own flavor that can then bleed into the food that’s being prepared.
Otherwise, reach for any refined oils for all your deep frying needs, and don’t worry too much about it. In fact, buy a few and try them all if you really want to find the best, tastiest oil that you want to work with.
You can try common choices like sunflower and palm oil to the zany and distinct-tasting options like coconut and sesame oil.
What shouldn’t you cook in a cast iron pot?
We’ve talked a lot about how great cast iron pots are for deep frying. They are great, of course, but it’s natural to want to know their downsides. They don’t have many, hence why we recommend them.
Acidic foods will degrade the interior of your pot over a prolonged period. A good rule to follow is that red sauces stay out of cast iron pots. Yes, this also means tomato sauce. Red sauces tend to be acidic.
You should also stay away from strong tastes. Cast iron pots will keep a slight taste residue from previous meals cooked in them. This means that the pot can taint the taste of future meals, especially if the pot has been tainted by the taste of garlic or fish.
Cast iron pots get better with time but, when you have a new one, food sticking to the pot may be a problem. Stay away from eggs or fish until you’ve cooked several meals with your pots and ensured that they have been properly seasoned.
What is the difference between shallow frying and deep frying?
Yes, there is an obvious answer here, but there are some other implications that can be drawn from the differences between these pots.
First, shallow and deep-frying aren’t just about the depth of oil being used, they also change the quantity of the oil that’s being used.
That makes sense when you think about it this way; shallow frying is where food is partially submerged into the oil and then flipped to ensure both sides cook while deep frying demands that the full thing gets drowned in a small sea of oil.