If you can find some space on your worktop for a deep fat fryer but don’t fancy blowing the budget on a large pro-style model, the Russell Hobbs Digital Deep Fryer is for you. It’s neither too big, so filling it requires several litres of oil, nor too small, unable to fit in your favourite deep-fried delicacies. On the cleaning front, it’s only halfway to effortless, so elbow grease is still very much needed. Overall, though, it’s well worth taking home.
- Rise and fall basket
- Digital timer
- Family-sized capacity
- Not dishwasher-safe
- Timer doesn’t stop cooking
- Large worktop footprint
- Review Price: £59.99
- 3.3-litre capacity
- 1.2kg food capacity
- H25.6 x W26.5 x D39cm
What is the Russell Hobbs Digital Deep Fryer?
Treating the whole family to a regular fish and chip supper can be pricey, especially when all you really need is the Russell Hobbs Digital Deep Fryer. It’s ideal for whipping up everything from tempura battered veggies and crispy noodles to sweet fried treats, thanks to its large-capacity bowl, handy timer and a cleverly designed basket. Another feature that’s heavily in its favour is that it all splits apart after it’s cooled down for cleaning – allowing you to produce perfectly crisp frying results, mess- and fuss-free.
What you need to know
- Homemade chips test – The ends of each piece crisped up well, were soft inside, and the colour was uniformly golden throughout the batch
- Fish test – The batter turned golden brown in minutes, with thoroughly cooked fish inside. Plenty of room in the basket for fillets
- Doughnuts test – These required less than two minutes on each side for even colouring and a fluffy inside
Design and features
- So easy to use that it could turn you into a deep-frying convert
While everyday deep frying is no friend to your waistline, what’s great about the Russell Hobbs Digital Deep Fryer is that you could cook with it every day if you so desired. Offering a blend of smart design and guidance for preparing food, all the usual issues associated with deep fat frying – from grease splashes, cleaning difficulties, and the lingering smell of frying for days after – are significantly reduced.
Related: Best coffee machines
Getting the best from the fryer starts with the instructions, which set out a guide to coatings and batter, frying times and tips, as well as recommended oils to use fr best results.
However, it’s the design of the Russell Hobbs Digital that ensures the fryer is incredibly user-friendly. It’s been made so it disassembles into five main parts. The lid pulls out from the base, while the heating element that sits within the oil is attached to the slot-in control panel. The basket and oil pan both lift out from the base unit, which only needs a cursory wipe-over to remove any residue.
Odour filters in the lid prove effective at channelling out steam while frying chips – although, inevitably, opening and closing the lid to add and remove food meant oily smells escaped anyway. The basket has been thoughtfully designed, too. A long handle reduces the risk of burns – and it is hinged. This allows for gentle lowering of food into the oil, while the protruding part of the handle recesses into the control panel – a great safety feature that prevents it from being accidentally bumped while food is cooking.
- Cooks brilliantly, but you have to use the basket, which can be limiting
I found the slow lowering feature to be most useful when frying chips, helping to reduce any splashes. The other feature that came in handy for chips was the timer. Admittedly, it isn’t a timer that will stop cooking; it simply counts down minutes then seconds. It will beeps until it’s stopped, rather than ceasing automatically.
Nevertheless, it still helps prevent overcooking – a boon in a busy kitchen when losing track of how long food has been cooking can result in unappetising results. The controls are otherwise simple: there’s a temperature dial that spans 80-190ºC, and a pair of lights to show when the unit is heating and when it’s reached temperature.
The fryer isn’t without the odd flaw, though. Having an exposed heating element in the oil bowl means that food typically has to be cooked in the basket rather than floating freely. For example, fish batter seeped into the basket, so the fillet was difficult to remove once cooked. Frying another battered fillet loose risked leaving debris on the element, plus there were a few singe marks on the batter from contact with the element. The fish itself was well cooked and the batter turned golden brown in minutes.
Fortunately, doughnuts didn’t stick to the basket and were easy to retrieve after cooking.
- More straightforward than some, but could be improved
Being able to remove the bowl to decant oil made draining the Digital Deep Fryer far easier than a fixed-bowl model. However, since there aren’t any pouring notches, it’s still prone to spills.
Another issue is the amount of hand-washing required for a full clean – washing the element with the control panel still attached is tricky, while removing food debris from the bowl without scratching the surface required soaking. The batter wrapped around the basket also had to be soaked off.
On the plus side, the removable filters in the lid can be washed to refresh them, so there’s no need to buy replacements if they get a bit gunky.
Should I buy Russell Hobbs Digital Deep Fryer?
For those who are new to deep fat frying, this is the perfect model to try – it’s affordable, simple to use, and comes with sufficient guidance to help you get the best results. It’s also great for families, thanks to its safety features and generous capacity.
The only area that could use a tweak is maintenance. While it’s easier to clean than some, it lacks the dishwasher-safe parts of more expensive models, such as the Tefal OleoClean Pro – which is twice the price but comes with zero scrubbing.