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How to Clean a Deep Fryer

Vonnie WilliamsAuthor

While air fryers seem to be all the rage, deep fryers aren’t going anywhere. They’re an essential part of most restaurant kitchens, creating the characteristic color, texture and flavor of customer favorites like fried chicken, doughnuts, and french fries.

To keep your deep fryer in great working condition for years to come, it’s critical to stick to a cleaning schedule and make sure that the oil is frequently changed.

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How often to change fryer oil

Depending on what you’re using the fryer for, the oil may need to be changed once a week or every few uses. Here are some of the telltale signs of old fryer oil:

  • Noticeably darker color

  • Rancid or off-putting smells

  • Fried foods coming out less crispy 

You’ll want to ensure that the oil is filtered daily to avoid food bits that can burn and alter the taste of the oil, which will affect other foods. 

How to dispose of fryer oil

Once the oil is cool and stored, there are two options. You can hire a service that will come to your restaurant and dispose of the oil, or you can install a grease disposal system in your restaurant. Whatever you do, don’t pour it down the drain—that can lead to costly blockages.

Changing fryer oil for allergies

As with any other restaurant equipment, fryers can be a source of cross-contamination for your customers. For example, if you cook shrimp and french fries in the same oil, it could pose a serious risk for customers with shellfish allergies. To avoid cross-contamination, use separate fryers designated for specific items or use color-coded baskets. 

How often to clean a deep fryer

Depending on how often it’s used, you’ll need to clean a fryer anywhere from once a month to every 3-6 months. Some questions to ask yourself in order to help create a cleaning schedule are:

  • Do you cook breaded or battered items in the fryer often? If so, you’ll need to have a more regular cleaning schedule, as bits of food debris can quickly accumulate.

  • What kind of oil is used in the fryer? Some oils, like soybean, are considered less stable than canola oil— you’ll likely be cleaning out the fryer (and disposing of oil) more often to keep fried items from getting greasy.

How to clean a deep fryer

Assemble your cleaning supplies

Have items like paper towels, slotted spoons, scrubbing brushes, spatulas, vinegar, and/or a commercial cleaning solution ready before cleaning.

Unplug the fryer and remove the bases

For safety reasons, you’ll want to unplug the fryer and let the oil cool down to room temperature before cleaning. This is the time you’ll want to remove the fryer baskets and put them in the sink.  

Dispose of used oil properly

Use a grease disposal system or pour it into a container to discard later. 

Remove food bits and debris

Now that the oil is removed, remove gunk and debris using a metal spatula or a slotted spoon. Wipe the sides of the fryer using wet paper towels or a cloth, then place the fryer into a sink filled with hot water, soap, and vinegar.

Scrub away

Using a scrubbing brush, clean the fryer, baskets, and other components, refilling the sink with clean water as needed. 

Rinse and let dry

Do a final rinse to ensure that no soap residue remains, and use a cloth to wipe the fryer dry. Ensure that all components are dry before refilling with new oil. 

Who is in charge of cleaning a deep fryer?

Fryer cleaning duties usually fall on the fry cook. For smaller establishments, you can rotate cleaning duties among staff—this way, each staff member is trained on how to properly clean the fryer and dispose of used oil properly.

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A deep fryer is considered an essential appliance for most restaurants, but they require consistent maintenance and care. With these tips, your deep fryer will continue to work optimally, ensuring that your customers enjoy quality food.

How to Improve Restaurant Operations

While the thought of reconfiguring or updating your operating procedures might seem daunting, start with one focus area at a time and go from there. Here are a few things to start with.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.