Pros: Fairly large capacity, easy to use control panel, safety features
Cons: Cleanup is difficult, broke after 9 months
Last September, my husband and I purchased a GE deep fryer. We chose this model because it seemed to offer all the features we needed for the lowest price ($50).
The fryer has a 9 cup capacity but who has time to sit around and measure out all that oil? Fortunately, there are marks on the inside of the fryer that show the minimum and maximum amounts of oil needed to safely operate the machine. I have cooked food with the oil at both the "min" and "max" settings and have not noticed much of a difference with the end results.
There is also a rather innovative temperature gauge. Printed right on the control panel are pictures of various types of food that one might fry: vegetables, fish, steak, chicken and French fries. Printed below this are actual temperatures (300 degrees, 320, etc) in case there is something that you want to make that doesn't have a picture like deep fried Twinkies. If I was making deep fryers, there would definitely be a deep fried Twinkies picture.
The deep fryer is not that small of an appliance, but it isn't a leviathan like my bread maker which is gathering dust. Also, since it is wasteful and expensive to change the oil every single time you use the fryer, you can't just pick it up and store it that can get messy.
I have found that using the deep fryer is a much safer way to make fried foods. I have tried to make fried chicken by pan frying, but this can be rather dangerous. This deep fryer has a door that closes and latches so you are never exposed to hot oil. The unit even features "cool touch" so while you should never touch the outside of the deep fryer while it is operation, you will not get burned. Instead of being part of the unit, the electrical cord attaches itself by a magnetic strip in the back. My husband and I found it a little frustrating to get the cord to stay attached but we are glad for this additional safety feature.
How to Use
I have found this deep fryer very easy to use. The manual is very helpful in teaching me how to use the fryer and in no time, I was frying like a pro! I found the frying basket to be just a little too small to cook all of the food I was making and I found myself having to do two batches.
We mostly stick to boneless buffalo wings and French fries. We did have one disastrous encounter with country fried steak gone bad but I'd like to forget about that. The sky is really the limit as to what you can fry up- onion rings, jalapeno poppers, cheese sticks, fried Twinkies, etc, but I would advise against frying anything without a recipe or specific instructions for frying.
You should change the oil regularly. You can tell that it is time to change the oil by looking at the color of the fried food, not the oil.
Cleanup, Cleanup, Everybody Everywhere
This is what makes this fryer a pain. The frying bucket does not detach from the machine, so cleaning is a lot more difficult than it probably needs to be. As I mentioned before, one of my favorite things to make is boneless buffalo wings but this tends to result in a layer of La Brea tar pits sludge at the bottom of the bucket. In order to clean it, we would have to grab the bulky machine around its middle and use the sink sprayer to loosen the sludge. This gets very messy and wet fast.
Goodbye, Old Friend
One day, I went to make some buffalo chicken. Our friend was over that night to watch Amazing Race with us. We had ordered a pizza but we were going to supplement this with chicken. I prepared the chicken and turned on the machine and waited for it to hear up. Nothing happened. We waited and waited and waited. Still nothing. I changed the oil. Still nothing. Apparently, my bulky little friend decided to stop cooking for me.
I actually considered purchasing another GE deep fryer, despite the trouble. Instead, we purchased a Phillips, which was only $10 more (on sale) and featured a larger capacity, removable bucket and amazingly, it was less bulkier than the GE. I will be writing a full review of that machine soon.
While I enjoyed using this product, the difficult cleanup and the fact that it broke after about 8-9 months of use is a bit too much for me.
I cannot recommend this product.