How to Clean and Maintain Your Commercial Deep Fryer

Commercial deep fryers are vital for adding flavor and texture to fried foods as they cook in restaurants, cafeterias, concession stands, and food trucks. Commercial fryers help kitchens provide delicious fried appetizers, sides, entrees, and even desserts. However, if deep fryers are not cleaned on a regular basis, fried foods won’t have the same delicious crunch.

A clean fryer helps your oil to last longer. Build-up and debris on your fryer well walls will immediately affect new oil and degrade it faster than normal. Not only will cleaning your commercial fryer improve the quality of food you are providing, but it will also help you keep expenses low. With a clean fryer well, oil will heat up more quickly and heat foods more evenly, decreasing cooking time. Also, by staying up to date with cleaning routines, you can increase the lifespan of your commercial fryer saving you money in the long run.

How often should you clean your deep fryer?

Like any other piece of commercial cooking equipment, you should regularly clean your deep fryer. You should do a general wipe down daily of the exterior, this will make eventual deep cleanings easier. Daily wipe downs will help make weekly cleanings quicker and easier. Weekly cleanings consist of emptying out used oil and cleaning the fry pot and fry baskets with detergent and hot water, scrubbing if necessary. Depending on usage, you may need to address these deeper cleanings more often.

How often you do a full fryer boil out depends on various factors such as the level of operation, size of the fryer, the type of oil used and your oil management and oil filtration standards. Provided your oil is regularly filtered and stabilized, a boil out should be done after every few oil changes or at least once a month. For busier restaurants, you may need to do a boil out cleaning at least once weekly.

How often should you change your deep fryer’s oil?

Deep fryer oil should typically be changed after 6 – 8 uses for non-breaded vegetables and 2 – 4 uses for breaded items or fatty meats & fish. One “use” is considered when you fry up a basket of French fries. After each use, you should remove any leftover sediments, this will help extend oil life.

Users should strive for zero sediment. 

When removing the oil from your deep fryer you may want a fryer oil waste remover to make the job easier. If you are just cleaning and reusing the oil, use a commercial fryer filter to ensure all food particles are removed before storing the oil. After removing and straining your old oil, be sure to store it correctly to avoid potential contamination between uses. It is suggested to keep the filtered oil in a cool, dark place until the next use.

Here are a few signs to tell you need to change your fryer oil:

  • Foam on the surface of the oil when hot
  • A fishy smell when not frying fish products
  • The oil will be smokey
  • The color of the oil will be much darker than the original color
  • Foods are not cooking evenly, leaving a dark outside but still cold inside
  • The fryer will take longer to heat up

Read more about what you can do to extend your commercial fryers oil life!

How do you clean a deep fryer?

  1. Turn power off and unplug or shut off gas supply to your fryer. Then wait for the oil inside to cool down. You can use a fryer thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil to ensure its cool enough to work with.  
  2. Drain fryer oil. Using an oil waste remover will make this job easier, but if you do not have one then just pouring the oil into a plastic bucket will work too. Safely discard the oil where appropriate. If you are going to reuse the oil, you can pour the oil through a strainer or use a commercial fryer filter to clean the old oil and pump it back into your fryer for further use.
  3. Take out any removable parts, such as fryer baskets, joiner strips and fryer screens, and soak them in soap and hot water. A cleaning brush can help you break lose any leftover fried debris.
  4. Clean out any remaining debris. For tougher spots, scrub the inside of the fryer with a fryer rod or brush. Be sure to hit the bottom, sides, and corners inside your fryer. Rinse and scrub the interior well of the fryer with soap and hot water.
  5. Allow fryer to dry. Return baskets or racks and fill the well with new/cleaned oil.

How do you boil out a deep fryer?

Boiling out is a common method for cleaning commercial deep fryers. Perform this method of cleaning by simply filling your fryer well with water and a heavy duty, high alkaline detergent and bringing the mixture to a boil. Any stuck fat or debris that could compromise the quality of your next finished product will be effectively cooked away. Specific steps may vary depending on fryer model or manufacturer; however, every procedure will include the following:

  1. Power off. Allow oil to cool then remove fryer oil. Remove any fryer baskets or racks.
  2. Close the fryer’s drain plug.
  3. Fill fryer well with water. The amount of water may differ based on fryer model, but typically you will need to fill the well to the minimum oil level.
  4. While the water is still cold, throw in a boil-out fryer puck or an appropriate detergent.
  5. Power on your fryer and set the temperature that is recommended by your cleaning solution. Some commercial fryers may even have a “boil-out” mode installed for quick selection.  
  6. Depending on how dirty your fryer is, bring the water to a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. For dirtier fryers simmering longer is perfectly fine.
  7. Power off again. Allow the water to cool and then scrub the interior of the well to loosen up anything stuck on the sides or corners with a fryer rod or brush.
  8. Drain the water and allow the fryer to air dry before reinserting baskets and recycled or new oil.

General Fryer Cleaning Tips

Here are a few more general tips to think about for maintaining your commercial deep fryer.

  • Chrome and stainless-steel exterior surfaces can be quickly cleaned with damp cloths and non-abrasive cleaners. Non-abrasive cleaners are important to use so you don’t scratch the surface of your fryer.   
  • Be careful when scrubbing the interior of deep fryers. Certain elements such as electrical connections and temperature probes, can be easily damaged if exposed to water.
  • Use personal protective equipment when working around hot liquids, heating elements, and chemicals.
  • Scheduling daily, weekly, and monthly cleanings will save you money in the long run. It will also cut down on the number of man-hours required to clean a filthy fryer, as well as the risk of the equipment becoming a fire hazard in your facility.

General Fryer Servicing Tips

An annual professional examination by a food service technician is recommended. This is by far the most reliable method of detecting worn components so that they can be properly replaced. A professional inspection will give you clear information as to how your commercial fryer is operating. Normally a professional inspector will look at the following during an inspection:

  • Excessive oil build-up inside and out, front and rear of the machine.
  • Obstruction in the flue opening.
  • Verify burners and components are in good condition and functioning properly.
  • Ensure temperature and high-limit properties are properly functioning, connected, and tightened.
  • Verify all safety features are present and properly functioning.
  • Verify fry pot is in proper condition, free of leaks, and the insulation is in serviceable condition.
  • Verify wiring harnesses and connections are tight and in good condition.
  • Verify that the component box is in good condition and free from oil and debris build up.

Now that you know how and when to clean your commercial deep fryer, your kitchen can continually produce perfectly fried foods. Consistent maintenance and service will help keep down extra expenses for years to come.

As with other kitchen equipment, cleaning procedures may differ based on manufacturers. Always be sure to read over your owner’s manual for more specific cleaning procedures.