A dirty fryer in your commercial kitchen can drastically change the taste of your food and damage the longevity of the equipment. Regular, proper cleaning of both the equipment and fryer oil will produce crisp and delicious food, help your oil last longer, improve efficiency, and protect the integrity of the fryer.
When it comes to cleaning your commercial fryer, there are three main areas of focus: oil filtration, exterior cleaning, and interior cleaning and boil-out.
Note that every piece of equipment will vary. This article contains general guidelines to cleaning a commercial fryer, but
operators should always refer to the owner’s manual to find specific instructions from the manufacturer.
Photo Credit: Vulcan Equipment
How To Clean Deep Fryer Oil
The frequency that deep fryer oil needs cleaned or changed will depend on many factors: what have you been frying? What quality is the oil? How clean is the fryer? While there is not one simple answer, it is important to filter your oil at least once a day.
Filtering Fryer Oil
Fryer oil can be filtered with a manual fryer filtration machine to save energy or with an electric fryer oil filtration system to save time. There are also some commercial deep fryers that have filtration systems built into the fryer to simplify the process. Each of these processes works by removing small bits of food debris from previous cooking. Have a small batch of oil that needs to be filtered? Here’s how to do it:
- Drape a cheesecloth over a chinois strainer
- Place the strainer over a funnel and storage container large enough to catch all the filtered oil
- Slowly pour the oil through the cheesecloth and strainer to catch small bits of food
- Ready to re-use!
How do you know when it is time to change the oil? The life of a batch of oil has reached its limit when it starts to smoke at lower temperatures than normal, the color is dark, thickens, or begins to smell poorly. Do not wait for all of these signs before you change your oil. For the safety of the cooking staff, keep your oil as fresh as possible.
Stainless steel is the most common material used for the exterior of commercial fryer due to its durability and the natural bacteria-resistance present in select grades of the metal.
On a daily basis, staff should wipe the exterior of the deep fryer with a soft cloth with mild detergent and wipe in the direction of the finish (either side to side or up and down – look for “streaks” in the finish). This will prevent grease build-up that can eventually degrade the metal.
If water and detergent are not enough to clean the exterior, use baking soda or a non-abrasive cleaner. Rinse the surface and dry immediately to prevent contamination.
Frequency: At least a few times a week, if not more
The interior of a commercial deep fryer will vary. Some models operate with an open pot style and others with a tube style. Because the construction of these styles is completely different, cleaning will also vary with each style. However, it is important to regularly boil-out each style of commercial deep fryers in order to protect the taste of your food, to help oil last longer, and to keep equipment in proper working order.
Boiling-out refers to the process of removing old oil then boiling water to thoroughly clean off grease and grime from the fry pot.
Graphics Credit: Pitco
Tube Style Fryer Cleaning – Boiling Out
- Drain the tank and flush out scraps and sediment with a small amount of warm shortening using a tank brush
- Use a low foaming cleaner/ degreaser to clean the fry tank
- Add commercial boil-out solution and allow the solution to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes
- Drain solution from the tank
- Close the drain valve and refill the tank with water
- Add 1 cup of vinegar to neutralize alkaline left by the cleaner
- Bring the solution to a simmer and allow to stand
- Drain the tank and rinse thoroughly with hot water to remove all traces of cleaner
- Dry the tank and close the drain valve
Open Pot Fryer Cleaning – Boiling Out
- Drain fat from fryer while the fat is warm, not hot
- Rinse to remove all loose residue and crumbs
- Fill with water, bring to a boil and add a fryer cleaner – boiling time will depend on the condition of the fryer
- Turn heat off, drain and rinse with water until clean
- Use a vinegar rinse to stir. Drain and rinse thoroughly with clean water
- Wipe kettle with a soft cloth and allow to dry completely
Keeping your commercial kitchen equipment clean and in working order doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing! Refer to our Restaurant Cleaning Checklist to stay on top of daily, weekly, and yearly cleaning. For more information about varying fryer types, check out Central’s complete commercial fryers buying guide.
Hope has been a Content Specialist since November 2015, where she brings to the table years of experience in the food service industry in a variety of roles. Throughout her time with Central, Hope has focused on learning all things possible about everything from cooking equipment to concession and specialty products in order to empower operators with education on commercial equipment and supplies. Hope is a wife, new mom, avid crafter, and food lover (french fries please!).