What Happens When You Put Ice In A Deep Fryer? [Quick Answer & Top Tips]

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Have you ever wondered what happens when hot oil and ice mix? 

If you’ve ever used a deep fryer, chances are you have had this interesting question pop into your head.

As much as I love deep fried food, especially delicious Southern fried chicken, sometimes there are items that one should never mix while cooking. 

Two elements you should not mix while cooking are ice and hot oil– namely hot oil inside a deep fryer. 

Putting ice in a deep fryer will cause an intense chemical reaction. Because oil has a higher boiling point than water, and due to the dramatic temperature differences between hot oil and ice, a dangerous explosion or reaction may occur if you mix the two.

We’ve created this guide to explain in more detail the types of reactions you will get if you (accidentally or not) put ice inside a deep fryer. Hopefully, this guide duly prevents you from making that mistake and encourages you to practice mindfulness in your food preparation and cooking. 

We also give you ideas on what to cook inside of your deep fryer and tips on how to use it. 

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How Do Hot Oil and Ice / Water Interact? 

In a deep fryer, oil temperatures may exceed well over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you put ice inside of a deep fryer, a fire or explosion will ensue because of the extreme difference in temperatures. The difference is nearly 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The outcome of putting water in a deep fryer may differ from putting ice inside a deep fryer. Bear in mind, both reactions are highly dangerous and should not take place at home or at work. 

Hot Oil and Ice Reaction 

If you, even accidentally, combine ice with hot oil, the outcome is not good. 

The reason for this is because the ice rapidly changes from three states (solid, liquid, steam) if thrown in a deep fryer. 

This combination may ensue a fire, and if not fire, then the oil will spatter out of the deep fryer. This can be very dangerous, especially if you have pets or children nearby. 

On a more scientific level, when the ice hits the hot oil the ice molecules vibrate rapidly. Usually, this transition happens gradually but when ice goes into a deep fryer the change is required to happen almost instantly. 

The reaction is violent because the molecules in the ice are going from vibrating slowly to a very fast pace. If a single ice cube is dropped into the deep fryer, the reaction will most likely result in a boil and sizzle. If you drop multiple ice cubes in a deep fryer then a fire will most likely occur. 

Important: It is not advisable to place frozen food into a deep fryer. The frozen food is very much like ice and will ignite a dangerous reaction. You will also risk the food not cooking entirely. Frozen foods such as vegetables or meat should not go inside a deep fryer. 

Hot Oil and Water Reaction 

If you have a seasoned chef, then you probably know not to add water to hot oil. The two elements do not mix in many ways, especially when boiling oil is involved. This combination should be avoided.

When water is placed in a deep fryer, it attempts to quickly change to steam. This change in state causes pressure build up, which then leads itself to a nasty reaction. The reaction may damage the deep fryer, yourself, and those around you. 

And What About Putting Dry Ice In A Deep Fryer? 

Given the explanations presented above, it’s understandable to think that putting dry ice inside a deep fryer would cause a stronger and more dangerous reaction. Afterall, according to Sciencing, dry ice sits at approximately -110 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the reactions are not the same. Dry ice is not water. It is actually solid carbon dioxide. 

This key difference is why putting dry ice in a deep fryer garners a different reaction. The result of dry ice and hot oil most resembles putting chicken inside a deep fryer. 

So, What Can I Put Inside A Deep Fryer? 

One of my favourite meals to make using a deep fryer is Southern Fried Chicken, an irresistible comfort meal indicative of where I grew up in the United States. 

Fried chicken is just one of the many delicious, yet safe, recipes you can create with a deep fryer. Other foods you can quickly fry up include: 

  • Watermelon for a sweet and savoury snack. 
  • Cheese for the ultimate comfort food on a cold day. 
  • Avocado for a healthier alternative. 
  • Zucchini for a crispy tempura texture. 
  • Tomatoes for a tasty snack full of tangy flavour. 
  • Tofu for dipping in soy sauce or to add in a stir fry.

Just to name a few! 

In addition, most oils are also safe to use in a deep fryer. Vegetable oil, peanut oil, and canola oil are ideal for deep fryers due to their high smoking points. 

I love frying with sunflower oil as it causes the food to turn golden and crisp. 

For more delicious recipes, check out our article Can You Fry Chicken Without Flour [Full How-To Guide & FAQ].

Close-up of french fries deep frying in a metal fryer

Top Tips When Using a Deep Fryer 

You now know not to add in ice and water while deep frying, but you may wonder what other tips there are when using a deep fryer. We’ve accumulated the top five things to keep in mind when deep frying, below.


Top Tip 1: Choose Your Oil Wisely 

For health reasons, you may feel inclined to deep fry with olive oil. Due to its low smoking point, olive oil is not recommended for deep frying. 

When deep frying, it is always best to go with oils that have a high smoking point. Choose a neutral flavoured oil, such as sunflower oil. This will not overpower your food, and is an economical choice. 

Related: Can You Put Oil In An Air Fryer? [How To Do It & FAQ]

Top Tip 2: Obtain The Right Equipment 

A good “at-home” deep frying set up means getting a deep fryer that is safe to use in your house. Try obtaining one with a basket, strainer, Using a giant pot and boiling hot oil inside it is never recommended. 

However, if you don’t have a deep fryer but deem yourself an experienced cook, then you may use a dutch oven or another heavy bottomed kitchen appliance. The heaviness will allow the pan to heat up faster, consistently cooking your food throughout. 

Top Tip 3: Reuse and Clean Up Your Oil 

A hot secret when deep frying is that you can actually reuse the frying oil. The flavours from the food seep into the oil giving it a robust taste. 

When frying battered and breaded foods, you may reuse the oil around 3 to 4 times. If you decide to reuse your oil, make sure it is secured tightly and kept in a dark and dry place like a kitchen cupboard or pantry. 

Never fill up your appliance with over two thirds of oil. When it boils it may spill over and burn you. 

Top Tip 4: Remember You Can Fry Healthily

While it is true that overconsumption of fried foods harm one’s health, you can still eat it in moderation. A healthy, native South Korean dish consists of cutting root vegetables into long slivers and then deep frying them.

One can use any root vegetable, but the key takeaway here is that root vegetables provide a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. Deep fried veggies are a delicious and crunchy snack. 

Top Tip 5: Always Put Safety First 

If you opt for a dedicated deep fryer, ensure that the temperature is shown at all times. This will allow you to closely monitor cooking times and control the crisp levels. 

If you don’t have a deep fryer, and are using a dutch oven or a deep heavy bottomed pan, then keep your digital thermometer ready. 

If for any reason flames evolve, then use a damp cloth to put anything out. Do not pour water over your appliance. 

Important: Never leave oil unattended. If you see your oil starting to smoke, then this means the temperature is too high. 

Final Thoughts 

Mixing oil with water or ice is dangerous. The extreme difference in temperature causes a turbulent reaction you should avoid. 

Cooking with new gadgets and kitchen appliances can be exhilarating. The possibilities of what you can cook, especially with a deep fryer, are exponential. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll want to immediately try new recipes and deep fry everything! 

However, it’s important to stay abreast of the idiosyncrasies that new appliances can bring to any chef’s proximity, regardless of your cooking experience. That’s why it is always prudent to read through the instruction manual and search through any potential hazards that come along with your new appliance. 

As long as you follow the instructions with your deep fryer, and make certain you do not add in ice, water, or dry ice, then you will be prepared for an abundance of delicious foods!

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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