It's Fried Chicken Fortnight: two weeks of hot crunchy chicken talk, recipes & chef tips. Get all the stories about this super important holiday that we made up right here.
We've been celebrating fried chicken in all of its crunchy, delicious forms over the past two weeks. But as our second week comes to a close, we've been thinking: Why does it have to be a short love affair? We should celebrate fried chicken freely, at any and all points throughout the year.
Which we will, now that we've put five different at-home deep fryers to the test. We dropped a few buttermilk-brined chicken legs into each to cook up our results. Here's what we liked and what we didn't:
DeLonghi Premium Fry ($130): Our favorite fryer of the bunch. Though it takes a few minutes longer to heat up than some of the other machines, it maintains its heat throughout frying, and it's easy to adjust the temperature with a digital button. The clincher: It's easy to clean, too.
T-Fal Ultimate EZ Clean Deep Fryer ($93): This fryer took up the most space on our countertop, yet when we filled it to the "maximum" oil level, it was still very shallow—we could barely submerge a single chicken thigh. Still, it gets high marks for its swiftness in heating and ease in cleaning.
Breville Deep Fryer ($150): We like the just-right size of this machine, and it's deep enough to fry with ease. But we don't love the quirky temperature setting mechanism, which requires you to select a preset category (i.e. chicken, fish, etc.) before you can adjust the temperature. Should you want to tweak the temperature further, you have to start all over again.
DeLonghi Roto-Fry ($100): As its name implies, this machine has a rotating fry chamber set on an angle, so the chicken is alternately submerged and exposed to air as it cooks. It creates an even fry, but it takes a while to get there. The fry basket can turn limp with a click of a button, potentially resulting in a bad burn, and its shape makes it difficult to clean.
Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer ($50): This was the smallest fryer of the bunch, and we imagine it's more useful for things like tempura than honking chicken legs. There's no on/off switch, so it starts getting hot the moment you plug it in, regardless of whether or not there's oil inside. Be prepared.
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