How Often Should You Change Oil in a Deep Fryer?

How Often Should You Change Oil in a Deep Fryer?

When you have a fully functional deep fryer in the kitchen, you’re likely to use it quite frequently. From crispy french fries to deep-fried chicken wings, a deep fryer comes in handy for many tasty delights.

However, if there’s one ongoing confusion about deep fryers, it’s about changing their oil. If you cannot decide when and how to change a deep fryer’s oil, here’s your answer:

If you cook breaded items and crumbly foods in the deep fryer, change its oil every 2-3 uses. But these repetitions increase to 6-8 times when you make potato fries and other relatively odorless items as they don’t impact the oil much. We recommend you decide to replace/take out the deep fryer’s oil depending upon your cooking schedule; playing by the book is not mandatory.

But that’s not it – you need to know a few more things about your deep fryer’s oil if you wish to use it quite frequently.

Therefore, we have compiled this to-the-point guide to answer your deep fryer-related queries; read on to be a pro with your deep fryer!

How Often Should You Change Oil in a Deep Fryer?

How often you change a deep fryer’s oil depends on the type of oil you use and the ingredients you fry. Let’s say you only use the deep fryer to make french fries once or twice a week and use a good-quality oil in it.

Now, you can easily use this same oil 6-8 more times without experiencing any weird smell or taste in the fries because you aren’t adding anything to the oil.

Let’s now flip the table and say you fry fish, meat chops, and crumb-coated wings in the deep fryer. In such a situation, you should change the fryer’s oil after 2-3 uses and avoid frying different foods in the same oil.

If you don’t strain or replace the deep fryer’s oil, all your fried foods can have an odd, charred smell.

When no one else uses your deep fryer, you can easily manage to use the right kind of oil for different recipes.

For example, if you make potato fries and fish fillets in the deep fryer, you can designate separate oil containers for them and enjoy an unaltered taste and aroma.

How Many Times Can You Use Oil For Deep Frying?

You might have seen those restaurant/food truck deep fryers where they hardly seem to change the oil; that’s not how it works. Deep fryers are like your regular skillets and stovetop fryers where you have to change the oil when it’s time.

When you keep using the same deep fryer oil, it gets rancid and starts to impact your food’s taste and aroma.

Let’s say you fry fish fillets in a deep fryer and leave its oil as it is. The next time you fry any vegetable or poultry in that oil, it will come out with a pretty unpleasant smell.

Therefore, keeping the deep fryer clean and changing its oil at the right time is mandatory.

Here’s an easy to follow chart to help you with the deep fryer’s oil:

Types of Freid FoodsRepetitions in the Oil
Breaded Items and Absorbent Foods2-3 times
Fries, Sausages, etc.6-4 times
Relatively Odorless Vegetables6-8 times
Chicken Wings, Lean Meat Chops, and Other Poultry-Based Recipes3-4 times

Apart from the type of food you’re cooking, another factor that impacts your oil-changing routine is the quantity of food you fry.

When you cook huge batches of fish or poultry in the deep fryer, its oil gets rancid faster than when you occasionally make chicken wings in it.

That’s why we always recommend you change the deep fryer’s oil when you feel it’s gone bad, not when it hits a certain number of cooking repetitions.

How Long Can You Keep Oil In A Deep Fryer?

You can leave the oil in a deep fryer for 3-6 months without impacting its color or taste. However, only do this is if your kitchen is super clean and you’re sure that nothing harmful/dirty can go inside the deep fryer’s pot. Also, it’s better to take the oil out and store it in an air-tight container until the next time you need it.

When you leave the oil in a deep fryer for an extended period, it can accumulate some form of dirt or other air-borne debris, which you certainly won’t like in your food.

But if leaving the oil in the deep fryer is the only way you can store it, make sure it’s properly covered and doesn’t stay there for more than 6 (ideally 3) months. If you don’t use the deep fryer during all this time, strain the oil to another container and use it for regular cooking instead of wasting it.

How To Change Oil In A Deep Fat Fryer?

Once you decide that your deep fryer’s oil should be replaced, the next phase is to figure out how to do it? Do you take the entire deep fryer out to drain the oil, or is there an easier way to get rid of the rancid oil?

If you cannot find the right way to change the deep fryer’s oil, follow these easy steps and get done with it!

  • If you have to change the deep fryer’s oil right after cooking something in it, unplug it from the wall socket and let it cool down for two hours before touching it.
  • Once it’s safe to touch, take the deep frying basket out and set it aside.
  • Next, take the detachable oil pot out and place it on a stable surface before draining the oil.
  • Take an air-tight container or a plastic jug in which you’d like to store the oil and cover it with cheesecloth or a metal strainer.
  • Lift the deep fryer’s pot and drain the oil in the container covered with cheesecloth or mesh; it will stop burnt food particles from moving to the other container.
  • Don’t pour this oil till the end because that’s where the burnt debris resides, and you don’t want it.
  • Now, if this oil is good for future use, screw the container’s lid on and set it in a cool, dry place. But if you notice the oil emits a strange smell or color, throw the container in the trash can instead of draining it down the sink.
  • Complete this process by washing and drying the deep fryer’s basket and pot before re-assembling the unit.

These easy steps will help you easily change the deep fryer’s oil and decide its fate depending upon its condition.

How often should Restaurants change fryer oil?

Since a restaurant’s deep fryer is often heavily used, its oil should be changed at least twice a week. Using the same oil for several batches and types of food can damage the restaurant’s repo; so, timely replacing it is mandatory.

Most restaurants have separate deep fryers for crumbly and regular foods, so taste-swapping between different foods is rarely the case. However, using the same oil over and over again can impact even the simplest foods.

Pro Tip:

The oil used for frying fish and fatty meats in restaurants should be changed more frequently than that for fries and chips.

How To Tell If Frying Oil Is Bad To Reuse?

Deciding when to change the deep fryer’s oil requires some observation; you cannot put a number on it.

For instance, if you use a batch of deep fryer oil for making 2-3 servings of chicken wings, it doesn’t need to be replaced because there’d be hardly any smell. Contrarily, changing the deep fryer’s is mandatory after 2-3 rounds of fish frying in it.

Therefore, it’s better to be observant of the deep-fryer-oil-gone-rancid signs instead of guessing the correct time.

Here are some signs that’ll help you decide if a batch of oil needs to be binned or reused:

  • Does the oil Form any Foam When it’s Hot?

One of the earliest signs of deep fryer oil going rancid is white foam over it when it’s hot. If you notice white-ish bubbles on the deep fryer’s oil, it means it has already done enough rounds of cooking.

However, if this white foam is the only sign you see with the deep fryer’s oil, it’s good to go with a few more food batches before you toss it away.

  • Has the Oil’s Color Changed?

Fatty and crumbly foods leave some debris in the oil and make its color significantly darker than usual.

Since cooking in the dark/charred oil impacts your food’s look and taste, it’s better if you drain it out and start afresh. Dark-colored oil is rancid, and although it can still thoroughly fry the food, you won’t like the results.

Deep fryer’s oil can get dark even after a single round of cooking if you make something that easily charr when heated. So, don’t wait till the oil reaches a particular number of reps, and replace it as soon as its color gets dark.

  • Do you Notice Burning Smell When You Deep Fry?

Deep fryers operate at high temperatures and don’t take much time to prepare the food, so most cooks are careful of the frying duration. But if you observe a charring/burning smell despite being mindful of the time your food spends in the deep fryer, its oil can be the culprit.

Oils with a low smoke point, i.e., extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, and mustard oil, can burn pretty fast in the deep fryer and destroy your precious fries’ taste, so look out for a burning smell.

This burning smell can also signify accumulated food particulate at the bottom of your deep fryer. But whatever is the case, this charring smell indicates the oil is rancid and should be replaced.

Pro Tip:

Don’t drain rancid deep fryer oil down your sink because it can get thick and clog your kitchen drains.

Final Words

Deep fryers come in handy for preparing easy and tasty snacks without requiring much effort. You turn a deep fryer on, put the uncooked food inside its fryer, and wait a few minutes to achieve that golden-brown color on your fries or chicken wings – easy, right?

But one thing you have to be thoughtful about while using a deep fryer is its oil. If you leave some oil in the deep fryer for a longer time than you should, you’ll surely experience a weird smell and taste in your favorite snacks.

That’s why we have answered some basic yet essential questions home cooks have about deep fryers. Carefully observe and smell your deep fryer’s oil to know if it’s gone rancid or still good to go.

And once you plan on changing the deep fryer’s oil, follow the easy steps we have listed above, and you’re golden!

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