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If you’ve ever longed for a deep fryer but you’re intimidated by the idea of dealing with the used oil, T-fal has the deep fryer for you.
The T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean Fryer’s unique oil management system filters and stores the cooking oil, so you never have to deal with the messy process of filtering the oil yourself and then transferring it to a separate container.
Beyond that great convenience feature, the T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean Fryer is a solid performer for families who want restaurant-style fried food, without restaurant-style prices.
We saw a number of comments from owners who say they bought it for occasional frying, and it works so well they find themselves using it much more frequently than they had planned to.
Here’s what’s to come in this review:
T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean Fryer Review
Read on to find out if this deep fryer can put the zing in your chicken wing.
Out of the Box
Out of the box, this deep fryer requires nothing more than unboxing and clicking the handle into place. T-fal does recommend that you thoroughly wash the fryer before using, though.
All removable parts except the power cord are dishwasher safe, and the rest can be wiped down with a damp cloth. The removable parts include the lid, frying basket, bowl, and oil box. Keep in mind that this is a bigger unit and the cooking bowl might not fit in smaller dishwashers.
One nice bonus: all of the packaging is recyclable carboard.
The T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean Fryer has a generous capacity of 3.5 liters for oil, and 2.65 pounds for food. That translates roughly to about a dozen normal-sized wings or two large potatoes, cut for fries, according to those who use their fryer regularly.
Most people say that this is a perfect size for about 4 people with healthy appetites, or five to six smaller portions. In addition, at 18.3-by-13.7-by-14.8 inches, this deep fryer has a longer, narrower footprint than most, which makes it a great fit for longer foods, like fish fillets. The Ultimate EZ Clean weighs 12.4 pounds. It’s made in China, primarily of stainless steel, with a few plastic parts.
The 3.5-liter oil ratio to 2.65-pound food ratio is important for the best frying performance. There needs to be enough space for the food to float in the oil, without obstruction. That’s the key to achieving a uniformly crisp exterior without burning, while the interior of the food is cooked through.
How to Use
Getting the Fryer ready to cook is nearly as simple as its assembly.
Just set the control button to “fry” and fill the oil bowl to between the minimum and maximum fill lines. Be careful not to go over the maximum fill, because that can cause the oil to splatter.
In fact, we saw a few comments that filling this fryer to its maximum capacity can result in some splatter after you add the food, and that it’s best to keep it just below that recommended fill level. If you experience splatter issues, we recommend you try slightly reducing the amount of oil.
The owner’s manual includes a helpful cooking chart with suggested temperatures for different foods, as well as suggested cooking times. However, it’s very basic, and includes guidelines for only a few foods, so there will be a learning curve if you want to cook something that’s not in the chart.
It’s a good idea to use the chart as a basic guideline, but then some trial and error will be needed to achieve the perfect doneness based upon your personal preferences. Also, noodling around Foodal and elsewhere on the internet is a great way to find tasty deep fried recipes and suggestion!
While the oil is heating, which takes about 10 to 12 minutes, fill the fry basket with whatever it is you plan to cook. The indicator light will go off when it’s hot.
Again, there’s a maximum fill line for the food to help ensure even cooking. I’ll reemphasize that it’s important not to overfill, because food needs to be able to move around in the fry basket so each piece is completely coated in the oil.
If it’s packed too full, this can result in mushy, greasy food or extended cooking times. If you need larger servings, it’s better to cook in batches and keep your cooked food warm in the oven.
In addition to following the instructions in the owner’s manual for cooking times (and using your own experience and good sense), there is a viewing window in the top so you can peek at your food as it bubbles along.
The basket has a two-position design; lower it for cooking, then move it to the higher position to drain the food. Once the food has drained, carefully remove the basket and pour the food into the serving dish.
The recovery time is the amount of time it takes for a deep fryer to return to temperature between batches of food. While T-fal does not have specific guidelines for how long this takes, owners say that it takes just a minute or two when frying lighter foods, like shrimp or fries, and no more than five minutes when frying heavier foods like wings or nuggets.
You can cook thawed or frozen foods in the T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean Fryer. But keep in mind: the colder the food, the longer it will take to reach the optimal temperature, and return to that temperature between batches.
You’ll experience the best results with food that is at room temperature before cooking.
Cleaning and Maintenance
This is the area in which this fryer really excels.
When you’re done frying, just set the control knob to the oil filtration setting. Once it’s cool enough, the oil in the frying bowl will automatically start passing through a filter to the oil pan below. You can store it there, or remove the pan, cover it with the included lid, and store it on a shelf in a cool, dry place.
When you’re ready to cook again, just pour the oil back into the cooking bowl. Add some fresh oil to reach the proper fill level and you’re good to go.
The cooking fat that you have saved can be reused a number of times. How often will you need to replace it? This depends upon how frequently you use your appliance, and the types of food you fry.
Uncoated foods like chicken wings will leave behind fewer particles than foods coated in flour or cornmeal. T-fal recommends 10 uses as the maximum for reusing oil. From the comments we read by owners who use their fryer frequently for a variety of foods, six to eight uses seems to be the sweet spot.
One caveat: while you can use solid fats like lard in this cooker, T-fal does not recommend it.
If this is your preferred method, you can’t melt your solid cooking fat of choice in the bowl of the Ultimate EZ Clean. Rather, this has to be done on the stovetop and then added to the fryer or the safety cut-off will activate.
If that happens, push the reset button on the back of the unit to get it working again.
Also, if you use fat that is solid at room temperature for cooking, the unit will still filter it, but it will be harder to re-add to the bowl than liquid fats – you’ll have to scrape the solids that you’ve saved into a pot on the stove and re-melt before using.
Again, like all the other removable parts, the oil pan is dishwasher safe. When it’s time to change out the oil, just discard the old stuff and toss the pan in the dishwasher.
Construction and Accessories
The T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean Fryer is a 1700-watt appliance. It feels sturdy and solid with good quality stainless steel construction. The oil pan is plastic, but it’s also BPA free.
We saw very few durability complaints from other users regarding this deep fryer. One issue we did see has to do with the safety shut-off. Some say it activates randomly, even if they think they’re using the fryer properly. A few note that they have to push the reset button on the back every time they use it.
The fryer is covered by a one-year warranty. However, T-fal’s customer service gets very poor reviews. Some people who have had issues claim customer service was either unhelpful, or they were asked to ship their still-under-warranty fryer back at their own expense.
Fortunately, those folks are in the minority, and we did spot a comment or two that this is such a terrific appliance, it was worth buying a new one after it conked out instead of dealing with the hassle of a return.
Some replacement parts are available for this unit direct from the manufacturer, including the oil container and lid, oil tank, basket handle, tank plug and frying basket, which can help extend its useful life.
As for accessories, the T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean is a pretty basic deep fryer. It’s a single-basket model with a viewing window and an odor filter in the lid.
Other than a few reports of splattering (usually via admitted operator error), the T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean is a very safe appliance. Be sure to keep the oil below the maximum fill line, and don’t overload the food basket to reduce spatter.
If the appliance senses that it’s getting too hot, it will automatically shut off. Let it cool and then press the reset button on the back to restart it. As we mentioned above, melting solid fats in the fryer bowl will cause the shutoff sensor to activate – that must be done on the stove.
The 30-inch power cord has a magnetic attachment for safety, so if it should by chance tip over, it shuts the power off. But this also means even a slight jostling can cause the cord to come loose, something that some owners aren’t thrilled with.
- Ease of Use
- Construction Quality
- Warranty and Support
The very best electric countertop deep fryer on the market today. If you want less mess, filtered and resuable oil, and good quality components, this is the one to get. The responsiveness (or lack thereof) of T-Fal customer support is its only ding.
Where to buy? It's available from:
The Perfect Appliance for Deep Frying
The T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean is a great choice for people who are put off by the idea of trying to deal with the large quantities of oil that need to be strained and stored after frying.
Beyond that, it’s a top performer across a variety of foods, from delicate fish to thickly battered onion rings. Its generous capacity also makes it a great choice for families, or for those who like to have the gang over for wings to watch the big game.
Still trying to sort your deep fryer options? Check out Foodal’s buying guide for more models and reviews.
Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos via T-fal.
About Kelly Burgess
Kelly Burgess is a product review specialist who loves food, kitchen gadgets, gardening, and writing. She was born and raised in Southern California, raised her kids in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and three cats. When she’s not cooking, eating or writing, Kelly likes to read, hang out with friends, hike, and explore the great Northwest.