Do Deep Fryers Smoke? (Why + How To Stop Them)

Image of french fries in a deep fryer

A deep fryer is a great appliance to keep in your kitchen for cooking deep-fried fast food. If you enjoy deep-fried food, this appliance is an excellent addition to your kitchen. But do deep fryers smoke?

Yes, deep fryers smoke when the cooking oil reaches its smoke point. They also smoke when the grease and moisture from the food escapes and mixes with the hot oil in the fryer. The oil temperatures in the deep fryer and the ventilation in the room can also contribute toward the deep fryer smoking.

While deep-fried food is convenient and tasty, keeping the deep fryer in tip-top condition means regular deep cleaning and maintenance. So let’s discuss this in more detail now.

When Do Deep Fryers Smoke?

A deep fryer smokes when the grease and moisture escape from the food being cooked. The heat generated by the cooking oil and fryer heats the food grease and moisture to create smoke.

A deep fryer heats the oil before you place any food into it. So if the temperature gets too hot, it will smoke even without any food inside it.

As a novice deep fryer, it’s easy to heat the oil to extremely high temperatures. However, as with many things in life, the more you use it, the easier it will become and the better quality food you will cook.

Most oils used for deep frying food have a high smoke point. Once that point is reached, the oil will smoke.

When the oil is pushed over the smoke point, it develops a number of harmful compounds. These can be bad for you if you often eat food cooked in burnt oil.

Smoking oil is bad. Not only will smoke linger in your room for a while, but it will also smell terrible. A grease fire can also start quickly if the boiling oil spills over the fryer onto the countertop.

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5 Common Reasons Why Deep Fryers Smoke

If your deep fryer is smoking, it’s probably because of user error rather than a problem with the appliance, unless it’s faulty.

If your deep fryer is producing heavy smoke, switch off the appliance and open as many doors and windows as you can so that the smoke can escape from your kitchen.

Be careful when leaning over the deep fryer, as hot oil can splash up.

If you have a range hood over your range, switch that on too. It will quickly vent smoke and odors out of your kitchen.

Given below are the most common reasons why a deep fryer creates smoke.

1. Use of incorrect oil.

Ensure that the oil you use has a high smoke point. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down, and smoke starts to form.

Generally, the more refined the oil is, the higher the smoke point. The smoke point only refers to fresh oils. When used oil is strained and reused, it loses its integrity.

Cooking food in a flash requires a high temperature to seal the food and minimize oil absorption, preventing soggy food.

For quick frying, always use oils with a neutral flavor to prevent the flavor from transferring to the food you are cooking.

The oil used to fry fish should only be reused for seafood to avoid transferring the fish taste to non-fishy foods. French fries will taste awful if cooked in fish oil but are wonderfully juicy and crispy when fried in neutral oils.

The best types of oil for deep frying with the highest smoke points are:

  • Almond oil,
  • Avocado oil,
  • Hazelnut oil,
  • Peanut oil,
  • Sesame oil, and
  • Vegetable/Sunflower oil.

Always make sure that old oil is filtered properly before reusing it to prevent your food from looking dirty and tasting burnt.

Old oil breaks down quickly and causes the quality and flavor of your fried food to have an unpleasant greasy taste.

2. Too much oil.

Heating too much oil in a deep fryer at any one time can cause it to smoke.

Keep your oil levels down and only use what you need to cover the food you are frying. Don’t fill the deep fryer with too much oil. Excess oil will burn and produce smoke.

3. Temperature is too high.

If the temperature of the oil is too high, it will start to burn and smoke. Invest in a thermometer to control the heat.

The correct cooking temperature for most oils should be between 350°F to 450°F (176°C to 232°C).

Check out the right temperature for the oil that you are using before you begin cooking.

The heat will affect how your food is cooked. If the temperature is too hot, the food will burn on the outside and remain undercooked inside. If the temperature is too cold, the food will not cook properly and be soggy.

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4. Poor ventilation.

Poor ventilation in your kitchen or the space where you are using your deep fryer can contribute to smoking.

If the room is enclosed and too hot, it will cause the oil to heat up quicker. This will result in the deep fryer smoking even before you have started cooking.

Before switching on your deep fryer, open the doors and windows or switch on the range hood in inclement weather.

A well-ventilated space will reduce the chances of overheating the oil too quickly and stop the smoke from forming.

5. Food is left unattended.

If you leave food in hot oil for too long, it will burn, produce smoke, and probably become inedible.

Light golden-brown is the perfect color for any deep-fried food. So keep an eye on anything you place into the fryer and take it out when it’s the right color for your taste.

How Do You Stop Deep Fryers From Smoking?

Oil smoke can contain unhealthy toxic fumes and free radicals. So you should always take steps to prevent oil from smoking.

Before using your deep fryer, check the manual for instructions. Know your temperatures and which oil to use.

Follow these simple steps to prevent smoke from a deep fryer:

  • Pick the correct oil. You should select an oil with a high heat point for frying.
  • Switch off your deep fryer when you are not using it. Machine parts can stay hot long after the appliance is switched off. This can cause the oil to keep warm and even overheat, causing smoke.
  • Clean out the oil when you are finished cooking. Always remove the oil to prevent contamination. If you reuse old oil, any particles left behind in the oil can burn and produce smoke when you use it again.
  • Filter the oil regularly. The oil can be filtered while it’s still warm to remove particles and can then be reused a few times safely.
  • Clean the deep fryer regularly. The machine and any accessories used must be thoroughly cleaned and dried after each use to prevent staining from the oil. Any water trapped in the deep fryer can cause foaming when the machine is switched on and ultimately lead to smoke.
  • Watch the food. Keep an eye on the food that you are frying to prevent it from burning.

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How To Operate A Deep Fryer Safety?

Operating a deep fryer containing boiling hot oil can be tricky.

Given below are some tips to stay safe while using a deep fryer:

  • Always use the deep fryer on a flat surface so that it doesn’t tip over.
  • Don’t allow children or pets near the fryer when in use or afterward while the machine is cooling down.
  • Don’t overfill the fryer.
  • Use potholders or oven mitts when operating the fryer.
  • Never, ever leave the fryer unattended.
  • If your deep fryer does catch fire, switch it off if it’s safe to do so.
  • Don’t throw water over the fryer as oil and water don’t mix and can cause more harm than good.
  • If the fryer is smoking or burning, don’t move it as it will be extremely hot.

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