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Is it OK to deep fry in a pot?

Deep frying is a popular cooking technique that involves submerging food in hot oil to quickly cook and crisp the exterior. While deep fryers are specially designed for this purpose, many home cooks wonder if it’s ok to use a regular pot instead.

Can You Deep Fry in a Pot?

Yes, it is possible to deep fry foods in a regular pot. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind when deep frying in a pot versus a countertop deep fryer:

  • Temperature control – Deep fryers often have built-in thermostats and heating elements to help maintain oil temperature. It can be more difficult to control temperature when using a pot on the stovetop.
  • Safety – Pots do not have the same safety features as electric deep fryers, like lids and baskets. Take extra precautions against splattering oil.
  • Size – Make sure the pot is large enough to allow several inches of clearance between the oil and the top of the pot.
  • Stability – Use a heavy, stable pot and avoid moving it once hot oil is inside. A deep fryer’s wider base offers more stability.

Tips for Deep Frying in a Pot

Follow these tips for safe, effective deep frying using a regular pot:

  • Use a large, heavy pot – A 5-6 quart pot with tall, straight sides works best.
  • Fill pot only halfway – Leave space for the oil to bubble up when food is added.
  • Use a thermometer – Monitor the temperature and adjust heat to maintain it at 350-375°F.
  • Fry in batches – Don’t overcrowd, which can lower the oil temperature.
  • Dry foods well – Moisture can cause splattering. Pat foods dry before frying.
  • Use tongs & slotted spoon – Avoid splatters by gently lowering and removing food.
  • Turn on exhaust fan – Help clear away steam and odors.
  • Cool and strain oil – After cooking, let oil cool completely before straining and storing.

Choosing an Oil for Deep Frying

The type of oil used for deep frying greatly impacts the final result. Ideal oils have a high smoke point and neutral flavor. Here are common choices:

Oil Smoke Point Flavor Profile
Refined peanut oil 450°F Neutral
Canola oil 400°F Mild, neutral
Vegetable oil 450°F Neutral
Corn oil 450°F Neutral

Oils with low smoke points like olive oil can burn quickly at high frying temperatures. Flavored oils like sesame oil can impart unwanted flavors.

Foods You Can Deep Fry in a Pot

Many foods are well-suited to being deep fried. The best choices hold their shape during cooking. Here are some delicious foods to try:

  • French fries – Slice potatoes into long strips, soak in cold water for 30 minutes, then fry at 325°F until golden.
  • Fried chicken – Season chicken pieces, coat in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, then fry at 350°F until cooked through.
  • Doughnuts – Roll out yeasted doughnut dough, cut into rounds, let rise, then fry at 375°F for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Vegetable fritters – Shred vegetables like zucchini, carrots or onions, mix with batter, then fry spoonfuls at 375°F.
  • Egg rolls – Fill egg roll wrappers with meat and veggie fillings, roll up, seal edges with water, then fry at 350°F until crispy.

Be sure to pat foods dry and fry in small batches to maintain oil temperature. Let oil return to temperature between batches.

Safety Tips for Deep Frying in a Pot

While convenient, deep frying with a pot does involve some risks. Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Use caution when moving the hot oil-filled pot. Enlist help if needed.
  • Ensure the pot is on a stable, level surface and the handle is turned away from the stove’s edge.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area to avoid accidental burns.
  • Never leave hot oil unattended. Have an oven mitt and lid nearby in case the oil ignites.
  • If oil begins smoking heavily, turn off heat. Carefully remove pot from heat using mitts.
  • Let oil cool fully before straining and storing. Hot oil can melt plastic containers.
  • Discard used oil if it smells burnt or rancid, appears dark, or stops bubbling when food is added.

Cleaning Up After Deep Frying

Clean up thoroughly after deep frying to remove oil residue and prevent rancidity:

  • Let oil cool completely before discarding or storing.
  • Pour or siphon cooled oil into an airtight container and store away from light and heat.
  • Place paper towels in the empty pot to soak up residual grease.
  • Scrub the pot well with hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry completely.
  • Wash dishes used for dried foods separately from other dishes to prevent oil transfer.
  • Clean countertops, backsplashes and floors to remove any oil drips or splatters.


Deep frying in a regular pot at home can produce delicious results with proper precautions. Choose an appropriate heavy pot, monitor oil temperature, fry in small batches, and follow safety measures. With some care taken, using a pot for deep frying can be an accessible alternative to purchasing a separate appliance.