If you’re new to using a slow cooker or have been using one for a while to cook simple recipes, you may be curious about whether or not a crock pot is a suitable device for deep frying. Would it actually work, and have people used a cock pot to deep fry foods before?
A crock pot cannot be used to deep fry. This is because a slow cooker can only reach a temperature of up to 280℉, whereas deep frying requires the oil to reach a temperature of 350-400℉. There are, however, some traditionally deep-fried foods that can be cooked in a crock pot.
Keep reading to find out why exactly you can’t deep fry in a crock pot, as well as some typically deep-fried recipes you can make in a slow cooker!
How Does a Crock Pot Work?
Slow cookers, which are commonly referred to as Crock Pots by the popular slow cooker brand, are popular because they revolutionalize cooking and the time you might spend in the kitchen.
Instead of slaving over a boiling pot of soup over the stove or sauteeing a bunch of vegetables in a skillet, you can just throw all your ingredients into the slow cooker, set it to the appropriate heat setting, and then go about the rest of your day. In a few hours, you get to come home to a freshly cooked meal and a tasty-smelling home.
Slow cookers stretch cooking times so you can spend less time in the kitchen, making it a convenient cooking tool for anyone. Slow cookers are comprised of a heating element that surrounds a stoneware pot with a lid.
The heating element is plugged into the wall and set to a particular temperature to thoroughly cook the food. For the food to reach its ideal temperature, it needs to simmer or boil in the slow cooker for four to six hours and can be left for up to 12 hours without posing the risk of a mess or danger to your home.
The reason it’s able to do this is that the slow cooker securely contains the food, and the lid is designed to allow for a slow escape of air that would otherwise build up in pressure and shatter the glass or cause the lid to fly off. Because of this, a crock pot is much safer to cook with than a pressure cooker, and it can be left alone much longer. It’s also able to cook food for such a long, unattended amount of time because it only cooks at low temperatures.
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Why Can’t a Crock Pot Be Used to Deep Fry?
A crock pot can cook food at any temperature between 170 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit, with the ideal cooking temperatures being 175 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the lower the temperature, the better and more thoroughly it’s going to cook, just for a longer period of time.
Because deep frying requires boiling oil at a very high heat of 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit, and a crock pot simply cannot reach those temperatures, deep frying directly in a crock pot is not possible. This is the case regardless of how long you keep the food inside the crock pot full of oil. Deep frying is a rapid process. It requires the oil to reach a rapid boil or a very high heat so that you can sink the food into the oil for just a few seconds.
Attempting to use your slow cooker as a deep fryer will not only make your food soggy, but the food will lose all of its flavor and be left with an oily taste. It’s best to just use traditional methods of deep frying.
There are, however, some recipes of foods that are typically made using traditional deep-frying methods that can be achieved with a crock pot, using little to zero cooking oil. Here are a couple of “fried” foods you can try using your crock pot:
Make French Fries in a Crock Pot
Much like you can make french fries in the oven, you can also make them using a crock pot. Of course, these are going to turn out more like potato wedges than traditional french fries, as it is easier to get a soft yet crispy consistency outside the deep fryer when the potatoes are cut into wedges rather than skinny french fries.
The first thing you’ll need to do to make french fries in a crock pot is cut the potatoes into the desired width, then line the bottom of the crock pot with them. Whether you peel the potatoes first is up to you, but always make sure all eyes and growths are cut off of the potatoes. Once you have them lining the bottom of the crock pot, pour in a bit of vegetable oil until the french fries are submerged in an inch of oil. Make sure that none of the fries are sticking to the bottom.
The oil is likely going to seep into the french fries because you’re leaving them in the oil for a much longer time than you would if you deep-fried them. This is why we recommend using vegetable oil, which will taste better and complement the potato much better than other cooking oils.
Next, set the crock pot to a medium temperature and let them sit in the crock pot for 40 minutes. Once you’ve reached the allotted time, fish out your french fries, place them on a lined baking sheet, and season them. If they have not turned out crispy enough, you can bake them in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until they turn golden brown and reach the desired consistency.
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Make Fried Chicken in a Crock Pot
While you won’t be able to deep fry your chicken in a crock pot, you can cook chicken to a texture and consistency that mimics fried chicken in your crock pot! You’ll need to prepare the chicken and cook the chicken ahead of time, but the crock pot will give it that crispy outer layer. The chicken will turn out much like air-fried chicken.
First, you’ll need to create a dry mixture of the following in a small mixing bowl, combining them with a whisk:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Large pinch of salt to taste
- Large pinch of pepper to taste
You’ll then want to pat the mixture onto 1 and a half pounds of mixed chicken pieces (thigh, breast, leg). Coat the pieces evenly with a layer of the mixture. Then, in a skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 4 tablespoons of butter and add the coated chicken. Cook the chicken on all sides until they are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lastly, you’ll then place the chicken into your crockpot and cook them, covered, for 4 to 6 hours total.
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Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.