As state fairs have shown, there's nothing that can't be dipped in batter and deep fried to a fine, satisfying crisp. Sure, these foods probably have a well-earned spot on the general list of guilty culinary pleasures, but enjoying a nice plate of beer-battered fish and chips or crispy calamari now and again is something anyone can enjoy.  If you'd like to try your hand at deep-frying, here are a few helpful dos and don'ts to help you achieve golden, deep-fried glory!

Materials Needed: Deep-frying, candy, or large-dialed thermometer, a long spoon, slotted metal spoon, paper towels.

1) Choosing the Oil

Best frying oils: peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, vegetable shortening, and lard.

Don't use extra virgin olive oil or butter.  Different oils have different smoking points. Extra virgin olive oil and butter have very low smoking points, meaning that they will burn at lower temperatures. You will need to keep a consistently high temperature while deep-frying, so you need oils that can withstand the heat.

2) Heating the Oil Place your deep pan of oil on the stove at high heat.  Monitor the temperature closely with a candy or large-dial thermometer.  For deep-frying you want a temperature of 365 degrees F (185 C). Once the oil reaches 365 degrees F, turn the heat down low.  When the temperature falls, just turn the heat up slightly until it once again reaches 365 degrees F.

3) Testing the Oil Here are two ways to test the temperature of your oil.

  • Place a wooden chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil.  If the oil bubbles steadily and evenly, it's ready for frying.
  • Drop a 1-inch square of bread into the oil.  If it takes about 60 seconds to brown, the oil is about 365 degrees F.

4) Cooking Your Food

Avoid splashes by gently slipping your items into the oil with a long spoon. It will start bubbling immediately. Leave some space between the food. Overcrowding the pan will cause the temperature of the oil (which you should always be monitoring) to drop and leave you with greasy, improperly cooked food. Also, feel free to do a trial test by only frying one item at first until it's browned and then cutting it open to see if it's fully cooked.

5) Removing Food from Heat

Using a slotted metal spoon, remove your food from the pan and drain it on paper towels.

6) Seasoning and Eating

Season your food per the instructions of any Yummly recipe while it's still hot!  

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Japanese Style Deep Fried Chicken

Hush Puppy Fried Shrimp

Cauliflower Cheddar Fritters

English Fish and Chips with Yorkshire Beer Batter

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy

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Photo Credits: Scientific American, Mirror UK, meclas, Visual Photo, Wing Yip Store, Zupas, Angsarap