The Safest Kitchen Tool For Scooping Food Out Of Hot Oil

Deep-fried food is great, but getting burned by scalding hot oil is most certainly not. Adding food to hot oil and scooping it back out are both likely to cause some splashing and dripping, making these steps quite perilous. Though lots of recipes for fried foods recommend using a slotted spoon to remove food from cooking oil, there's actually an even better tool for the job: a wire strainer with a long handle, often referred to as a spider skimmer.

The art of frying food is a tricky one to master, and it's one of the more risky activities you can undertake in your kitchen that doesn't involve a knife. Given the extremely high temperature of the oil and the way it can splatter unexpectedly, you want to keep as much distance as possible from your fryer while cooking, while still maintaining control and not struggling to move the food around. This is why a long-handled yet sturdy tool is best for preparing your favorite deep-fried snacks at home.

Tips and tricks for safely deep-frying your food

Using a wire strainer with a long handle allows you to stand an extra few inches away from bubbling oil, which must be kept at a very specific, very high temperature for ideal results. Many different oils — such as peanut, canola, or olive oil — can be used to fry food, and each has a different smoke point. This is the temperature past which an oil will start to smoke and burn, ruining your food and possibly setting off your smoke detector. In general, oil for deep-frying should be able to reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit before smoking. 

Luckily, a metal spider strainer can withstand this kind of heat without breaking down. Plus, not only does it let you work from a safe distance, but this tool is also better at draining oil from foods than a slotted spoon is. This ensures that your food won't end up soggy. There are also a few other tips to know for deep-frying safely.

Doughnuts, fries, fritters, and other sweet or savory treats from the deep-fryer are best eaten hot, but when cooking them at home, try to be patient. Rather than tossing food into the fryer by the handful and trying to cook many items at once, gently lower one piece at a time into the hot oil using your wire strainer. Carefully turn the food over with the strainer so that it cooks evenly, then remove each piece one by one as the food finishes cooking.

How to care for and clean your wire strainer

After adding a wire strainer to your collection of kitchen equipment, it's important to find a storage place where the basket won't be crushed or misshapen. A hanging shelf or rod with hooks can not only hang pots and pans, but it also makes for a great place to keep your strainer.

While the wire basket at the end of this tool is perfect for scooping food from the fryer, it can be challenging to clean once you're done cooking. The key is to clean it quickly after cooking so that food and grease don't have time to lodge into the crevices. Soak the strainer in warm, soapy water to wash away the cooking oil, then use a sponge or coarse brush to remove any bits of food. If you have a stainless steel strainer, you can place it in the dishwasher, but if you have one with a bamboo handle, you'll want to wash it by hand. Afterward, set the strainer on the counter to air-dry.