Last Call: How much deep-frying do you do at home?

close-up of falafel in pita
Photo: Photostock Israel (Getty Images)

Are you scared of deep-frying? That question isn’t meant to be goading or insulting. I will fully admit to being apprehensive when it comes to boiling oil at temperatures once specifically designed to scald our fellow human beings as punishment. I also value my ability to maintain a clean work surface and a stovetop that doesn’t look like a dog shook off all over it after playing in an industrial tub of lard. So I don’t deep-fry anything at home—I leave it to the experts.

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Even home cooks who love making salty, crispy foodstuffs might have switched to air fryers in the years since they’ve become an ascendant kitchen appliance. As we’ve said many times, an air fryer isn’t actually a fryer; it’s a tiny, high-powered convection oven that cooks food hot, hard, and fast. But often, it approximates fried foods decently enough that it cuts down on the inconvenience of oil splatter and drippy thermometers.

But I personally do not own an air fryer. And despite my fear of oil bubbling away on my stovetop, I know that without dabbling in frying, I’ll always hit a ceiling of what I can achieve in the kitchen. Without this skill, so many of my favorite foods will remain out of reach! So, how much deep frying do you do at home? Was it a struggle to learn how to do it, and most importantly, to grow comfortable with it?

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

DISCUSSION

received an electric kettle for birthday but already had one. exchanged for a deep fryer and a bag of fries from target.

it’s about 11' cubed, safety magnetic cord, and a flip lid. they’re greatfor two people.real fries at home, restaurant quality tortilla chips on demand. got some brocccoli or green beans that are getting a little dried and wrinkly in the fridge? make sure they’re really dry and flash fry them on the highest setting (mine says 375 and the thermometer confirms it) then dress with sesame oil or whatever. pretend you’re a teenager and deep fry pizza rolls. hot pockets, try all of those asian recipes you’ve always wanted to.

my favorite for any size gathering is chicken in tin foil. appetizer at exactly one place near me. this recipe is pretty much what i use. https://www.food.com/recipe/foil-wrapped-chicken-baked-or-fried-237059

the lid prevents *most* of the oil from floating around.

i had a really simple one when i was in uni, come home from the bar, plug it in and watch tv. when you smell oil, drop a handful of fries, watch a bit more but don’t sit down. when you smell potatoes, drain them and munch away.

if you forget about fries in the freezer, thaw on the counter to get the sublimated ice crystals off of the surface. that will stop the river of foaming oil.

i think of it like this, gifts are supposed to be things that you wouldn’t think to buy for yourself, so this 10 times a year thing goes great right next to my party raclette.

oh yeah, fondue.

p.s. the most stable place in your kitchen besides counters is the stove. put it on top. there’s also a vent (hopefully)