Fried chicken and fish are two of the most popular dishes to make for the family. You can never go wrong with these classics. Or, can you? Actually, yes. Many people complain about their chicken and fish batter sticking to the deep fryer basket. The most common reason for this happening is that the oil in the deep fryer is not hot enough. However, it can also be due to many other reasons.
Read on to find out why your chicken and fish batter sticks to the deep fryer basket and how you can avoid it in the future and get a perfectly flavorful and crunchy fried fish or chicken.
What Happens When Batter Sticks to the Fryer Basket?
When you put coated chicken or fish into a deep fryer basket, the batter sometimes sticks to the fryer basket and gets fried. When you try to get it out, the batter tears off of the chicken or fish and leaves the meat uncoated. You will also notice that bits of chicken or fish are sticking to the sides of the net basket.
This results in an incredible mess. Not only does it ruin the final appearance of your dish, but it also leaves the delicious coating stuck to the basket. As a result, the fried chicken or fish would lose some of its flavor as its coating is stuck to the frying basket.
Moreover, the oil in the deep fryer will have small batter scraps floating in it. The oil will become darker and greasy, leaving a bad smell in whatever you cook in it.
Reasons Why Batter is Sticking to the Deep Fryer Basket
1. Oil Is Not Hot Enough
One of the main reasons why the batter sticks to the deep fryer basket is because the oil in the deep fryer is not hot enough. The temperature of the oil plays a significant role when deep frying. If you put the food in and the oil is not preheated or is not hot enough, the batter on the chicken and fish will start sticking to the basket.
Make sure that the fryer is working properly and not randomly shutting off at any point, which causes the oil not to reach a high enough temperature for frying.
2. Overcrowded Fryer Basket
Another reason why the batter sticks to the basket is that it is too crowded with food. Your food needs space when deep frying. If you put in too many pieces at once, the batter will come off and stick to the fryer basket and the food will be unevenly cooked.
3. Excessive Batter in the Food
If you get too excited and coat the chicken or fish excessively with batter, it will stick to the basket. Heavily battering your food increases its overall weight and causes it to sink to the bottom of the fryer and stick to it, creating a huge mess.
4. Not Moving the Food in the Fryer Basket
Another reason why the batter sticks to the deep fryer basket is that you forget to move it around after putting it in. When the fish or chicken is not moved and flipped properly, it sticks to the fryer basket. The pieces may also stick together. You will need to move the pieces after every few minutes to ensure that they do not stick to the basket or to each other.
5. Not Preheating the Fryer
Many people dump the battered fish or chicken into the fryer basket as soon as they put the deep fryer on and let the basket sit above the oil while it’s heating up. This is a grave mistake. The right order of operations when deep-frying food should be to let the fryer preheat, lower the empty fryer basket into the fryer and then add the food to the hot oil in the fryer.
At What Temperature Do You Fry Fish in a Deep Fryer?
When using a deep fryer for fish, the temperature of the oil should be about 350F to 360F. If it is any lower than that, the batter of the fish will stick to the basket. So make sure the oil in the deep fryer has reached at least 350F before you put the fish in it.
This way, the fish will start cooking as soon as you put it into the deep fryer. Its batter won’t stick to the fryer basket, and you will have perfectly golden-fried fish.
How Long Do You Cook Fish in a Deep Fryer?
It usually takes anywhere between 5 to 8 minutes to cook fish in a deep fryer. You should give at least 5 minutes for each side of the fish to fry at 350F to 360F. Make sure that the deep fryer temperature for fish is preheated to 350F. Only then should you put the fish pieces into the fryer and give 3-4 minutes to each side. Flip the pieces as soon as they turn medium golden brown.
How to Stop Food Sticking to the Deep Fat Fryer Basket
1. Make Sure the Oil Is Hot Enough
If the oil is still cold when you put the battered food into it, the batter will stick to the fryer basket, and it will not be able to coat the food pieces as they sink down into the fryer. The food will turn out too greasy as well. It is important to preheat the oil and make sure it is at the right temperature.
Make sure the oil has reached at least 350F before you start putting food into it. This way, you can avoid a huge mess and enjoy perfectly battered and flavorful chicken or fish without ruining its appearance.
2. Do Not Crowd the Basket
Even if your oil is perfectly heated before you put food into it, the batter may still get stuck to the fryer basket. The reason? You have put too many pieces into the basket! If you are crowding the fryer basket with too many pieces, they will stick together and to the sides of the fryer.
The correct way is to lower one piece at a time and make sure it does not end up on top of another piece. Make sure each piece has ample space to fry and is not touching anything. If you are preparing a huge meal, you can fry food in batches.
3. Do Not Overcoat the Food
If you are doing every other thing right and you overcoat your food with batter, it will stick to the fryer basket and tear off. This is especially very likely to happen if the fryer basket is small. Overcoating your food with batter results in it sticking to any surface it touches.
Make sure you are using just enough batter to coat each piece, and there are no lumps in the batter that could get tangled with the basket. After all, you want to retain the authentic taste of the chicken or fish rather than feeding your guests an overly battered dish.
4. Move the Food Around
Just like grilling steaks on a grill, you should move and flip the food around in the deep fryer. Whenever you are frying chicken or fish in a deep fryer, make sure to check on it and move it around after every few minutes. This way, the batter will not stick to the basket, and the food pieces will not clump together. You can also lift the basket and shake the food pieces to move them around.
5. Prepare the Fryer
Most people load up their deep fryers as soon as they are done coating the food. However, before you lower the food impulsively, make sure the fryer is ready to handle it. The right order of deep-frying is to lower the empty fryer basket into the heating oil first so that it gets accustomed to the temperature.
Once the basket is in the oil and the oil is hot enough, start adding food pieces into the oil. If you are not using the fryer basket and simply lowering the food pieces with tongs, make sure each piece gets coated with oil first before you drop it completely into the fryer.
Can You Use a Deep Fryer Without the Basket?
Yes, you absolutely can! In fact, the deep fryer basket is only there to remove the food all together once it is fried. Many people use deep fry baskets to put food into the fryer. Instead, they should lower the food into the fryer using their hand or tongs. This way, the batter will not stick to the frying net. They can safely fry food in a deep fryer without the basket and only use it to remove the food.
How Do You Use a Deep Fryer Basket?
The correct way to use a deep fryer basket is to lower it empty into the heating oil in the fryer. Once it gets preheated, start adding food pieces into it one by one and let it sit at the bottom of the fryer. You don’t use the fryer basket at all when frying food and only use it to remove the food once it is cooked.