7 Mistakes Everybody Makes When Deep Frying

Updated: May 19, 2024

When you're cooking up onion rings or breaded chicken, it helps to have some deep frying secrets!

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Deep frying medu vada in the pan. Medu Vada is a savoury snack from South India, very common street food in the India
Shutterstock/Rahul Dsilva

What’s better than golden doughnuts or crispy crinkle-cut fries? It’s all good stuff. But for anyone who hasn’t quite mastered deep frying, we’re here to help. You’ll need the right pan, our handy deep-frying guide and some insider knowledge.

Read on for seven common deep-frying mistakes and how to fix ’em!

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french fries
Shutterstock / K321

Mistake #1: Frying at too high a temperature

For a perfectly crispy piece of fried chicken, make sure your oil is between 325 and 390o F. Any higher, and your food will cook too quickly and get dry, or even worse, burn on the outside and be under-cooked inside. Next, try this delicious Japanese fried chicken.

Grab one of our best-ever fried chicken recipes, too!

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Frying donuts in oiled pans
Shutterstock/rittikorn poonwong

Mistake #2: Frying at too low a temperature

Be particular about your cooking oil–the temperature can’t be too low, either. It will result in soggy food that hasn’t been properly crisped. (No good!)

Invest in a clip-on thermometer like this when you’re frying at home so you can make sure your temperature is just right every time.

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Chicken frying in a pan
Shutterstock/Summer Photographer

Mistake #3: Using the wrong oil

Avoid oils like avocado and olive because these have a low smoke point (and are on the pricier side, too). Peanut and canola oils have high smoke points and neutral flavors, so they won’t accidentally flavor whatever you’re frying.

Here’s a good guide for what oils to use.

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cooking french fries with oil

Mistake #4: Frying too much at once

Like with strips of bacon, or just about anything else, you don’t want to crowd the pan. Everything needs room to move around and cook properly. You might be tempted to throw a lot in at once, but do a couple small batches instead so everything cooks evenly.

The perfect piece of crispy chicken is a lot easier than you might think, and we’d say this buttermilk recipe could rival KFC any day.

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Japanese fried Chicken;
Shutterstock / taa22

Mistake #5: Frying pieces that are too big

There’s a reason french fries work so well in the fryer—they’re the perfect size! Cutting your food in half can reduce your cooking speed by four. So not only does keeping your pieces on the smaller side make things cook faster, they also cook more thoroughly.

If your oil ends up splattering when you drop your pieces in, we’ve got a few tricks to clean the grease off your kitchen surfaces.

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Raw chicken fillet in flour;
Milka Re/Shutterstock

Mistake #6: Not blending the right batter

If your batter isn’t right, whatever is on the inside won’t come out right either. (And we’d hate for anything to go wrong with these deep-fried Oreos!) Add seasonings to your flour and whisk thoroughly so the mix is nice and airy.

The fresher your flour and seasonings, the better!

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Frying food in a pan with hot and boiling oil.
Shutterstock/Vinicius Bacarin

Mistake #7: Using leftover oil

Don’t plan to reuse the oil when you’re done frying—toss it instead. (Here’s how to do that.) Using leftover oil not only makes your food greasier and ruins the flavor, but also increases your risk of starting a grease fire. The breakdown of oil lowers the flash point, and makes it easier for the oil to flame up.