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What is a pressure deep fryer?

A pressure deep fryer is a kitchen appliance used to quickly cook food by submerging it in hot oil at high pressure. Unlike traditional open deep fryers, pressure fryers are completely enclosed and operate at higher temperatures to speed up cooking times. The pressurized environment helps the hot oil penetrate food more quickly while keeping moisture in. This results in food that is crispy and browned on the outside while remaining tender and juicy on the inside.

How Does a Pressure Fryer Work?

A pressure fryer consists of a sturdy metal vat surrounded by an exterior metal jacket. The vat is sealed with a locking lid that clamps down tightly to pressurize the internal chamber. Heating elements in the jacket rapidly heat the oil inside the vat up to temperatures between 300-400°F. A regulator maintains the interior pressure between 10-15 psi (pounds per square inch) depending on the model.

When the lid is clamped down, the pressure forces the hot vaporized oil to penetrate the food rapidly from all sides. The food cooks very quickly as the heat travels inward. At the same time, the pressure keeps moisture sealed inside the food rather than boiling away like it would in an open fryer. The combination of high heat and pressure reduces cooking time by 35-50% compared to conventional frying.

Benefits of Pressure Fryers

Pressure fryers provide several advantages over open deep fryers:

  • Shortened cooking times – Food cooks up to twice as fast under pressure.
  • Juicier food – The pressurized environment keeps more moisture locked inside.
  • Oil savings – Foods cook faster, so less oil is absorbed resulting in oil savings.
  • Space savings – The enclosed system takes up less space than an open fryer.
  • Safety – The sealed lid prevents hot oil splatter burns.
  • Even cooking – Food cooks evenly with the hot oil surrounding it all sides.

The quicker cooking times, juicier results, and safety benefits make pressure fryers ideal for busy restaurants and commercial kitchens.

Common Features

Pressure fryers come in different sizes with various features and controls:

  • Fryer vat – Commercial sizes range from 5-60 liters to accommodate small or large batches.
  • Heating elements – Most have electric heating elements in the jacket around the vat, but some are gas-powered.
  • Temperature controls – Allow setting the oil temperature up to 400°F or higher.
  • Digital timers – Program cook times for accurate, consistent results batch after batch.
  • Safety valves – Release pressure safely if it builds too high.
  • Locking lid – The tight seal contains hot oil and pressure during cooking.
  • Viewing window – Lets you monitor frying without releasing pressure.
  • Oil filtration – Some models have built-in filtration to clean and reuse oil.

Higher-end commercial pressure fryers will have programmable settings, oil pumps, and automated controls. Smaller countertop models offer basic time/temperature functions at an affordable price point.

How to Use a Pressure Fryer

Using a pressure fryer involves a few simple steps:

  1. Fill fryer vat with oil – Peanut, vegetable, canola, or blended oils are common choices. Fill to the “oil level” line.
  2. Attach lid and lock – Close the lid tightly so it seals and locks into place.
  3. Set temperature/pressure – Program the computer or set knobs to around 350°F and 10-12 psi.
  4. Preheat oil – Let the oil preheat for 15 minutes or until it reaches set temperature.
  5. Add food – Gently lower food into the hot oil using a fryer basket.
  6. Set timer – Program cook time based on the specific food item, size, and amount.
  7. Cook – Frying takes just 50-70% of the normal time thanks to the pressure.
  8. Release pressure – Turn off heat and let pressure come down before removing lid.
  9. Remove food – Lift out the fryer basket and drain excess oil.

The enclosed environment traps hot vaporized oil around the food for quick, even frying. Just be sure to lock the lid securely before heating the oil to build pressure.

Tips for Pressure Frying

Here are some useful tips for pressure frying success:

  • Use fresh, high-quality oil – Breakdown releases off-flavors.
  • Batter lightly – Thick batters can prevent oil penetration.
  • Work in small batches – Overcrowding slows cooking.
  • Mix items – Don’t fry extremely delicate foods with heavy foods.
  • Adjust time for size – Additional time may be needed for large pieces.
  • Brine lean meats – Helps keep them juicy.
  • Preheat properly – Wait until the oil is fully heated before frying.
  • Turn food – Use tongs to turn food midway through frying.
  • Clean often – Replace or filter oil regularly to maximize quality.

With some practice, you’ll master the ideal times and temperatures for different foods. Pressure frying makes it quick and easy to achieve light, crispy breading with juicy, tender interiors.

Common Foods to Fry Under Pressure

Many foods turn out great when pressure fried. Here are some of the most popular items:

  • Chicken – Wings, tenders, nuggets, thighs, drumsticks
  • Seafood – Shrimp, fish fillets, calamari
  • Vegetables – Fries, okra, zucchini, green beans
  • Fruits – Apple chips
  • Meats – Pork chops, steak bites

The rapid cooking time helps meats and veggies retain their interior moisture. Battered and breaded items develop an ultra-crispy exterior without absorbing as much oil. Delicate seafood turns out tender, not rubbery.

Almost anything that can be fried in a traditional fryer can also be pressure fried for quicker cooking with juicier results. The enclosed environment really seals in flavor and provides consistent outcomes every time.

Pressure Fryer Safety Tips

Pressure fryers reach higher temperatures than open fryers, so proper safety steps should be followed:

  • Read appliance instructions – Understand operating procedures first.
  • Keep children away – Hot oil can cause severe burns.
  • Ensure the lid locks – Double check that it seals tightly.
  • No water in oil – Moisture causes splattering when it vaporizes.
  • Don’t overfill – Oil expands under heat and pressure.
  • Release pressure – Open the vent valve and let pressure descend fully before removing lid.
  • Handle lid carefully – Steam rushes out when opened after cooking.
  • Clean regularly – Change oil and clean debris to prevent fires.
  • Check for damage – Don’t use if any wires, seals or parts are damaged.

As long as proper precautions are taken, pressure fryers provide a safe method of rapidly frying foods under contained high heat. But be cautious of the risks of hot oil and pressurized steam.

Choosing a Pressure Fryer

Consider the following when selecting a pressure fryer for your needs:

  • Capacity – Size in quarts or liters to match desired batch sizes.
  • Electric vs. gas – Electric more common for indoor use, gas power is fast.
  • Temperature range – Up to 400°F allows crisping battered foods.
  • Interface – Manual knobs vs. digital controls.
  • Safety features – Lid interlock, pressure release valve.
  • Construction – Sturdy stainless steel resists corrosion.
  • Warranty – At least 1 year for commercial, more for home models.
  • Brand reputation – Read reviews and talk to others who use them.
  • Budget – Commercial-grade models run $1,500+, small ones just $100.

Researching your needs and comparing options helps select the right pressure fryer size and features for your cooking requirements.


Pressure fryers provide a fast, convenient method of deep frying foods under contained high heat. The pressurized hot oil quickly crisps the exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender. Tested safety mechanisms allow safe operation. With proper care and usage, pressure fryers can deliver quick, consistent results for restaurants, food trucks, caterers and more.