Customer Reviews: Cuisinart CDF-100 Compact 1.1-Liter Deep Fryer, Brushed Stainless Steel
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 7, 2009
Wow, I'm a big fan of fried foods, homemade French fries especially fried in Canola Oil. I've used industrial restaurant sized fryers and worked from a stove top. This little puppy is probably one of the best little fryers I've ever seen.

Most of the negative reviews of this fryer can be solved by simply reading the instruction booklet. Number one complaint, the cord falls off. Well yes it does, and that is by design. The cord is held into its socket on the fryer side with a magnet. This is so you can unplug the unit without pulling the fryer over and burning yourself with hot oil. It's a common mistake, thinking the cord is broken. If you plug this in, attach the magnet end and don't move the fryer, it will not come unplugged.

Number two complaint, the basket is flimsy and falls over itself. It does not do that if you install the handle correctly. You have to squeeze the two sides and slip the pins into two holes and under a tab - the handle will never ever move in this position.

Here's what I love about this appliance, it uses a small amount of oil - around a quart / liter. We don't have fried foods very often, and I don't cook a whole chicken at once. It's just perfect for those side dishes - appetizer mozzarella sticks, egg rolls, jalapeno poppers, etc. You can do chicken fingers, fish sticks, donuts in here. Food cooks evenly and quickly. Heat up time is around 3 or 4 minutes. Cooking time varies a lot, but can be around 3 or 4 minutes.

The cover is ingenious - it closes down tight around the top and the basket so no splashing of oil happens. Cook on the counter top with no fear of splashing oil everywhere. The carbon filter shouldn't be cleaned every use, and it prevents splashes from coming out of the lid. The clear window, I can see that oil will cloud that up over time, but it's handy to see inside.

Frankly, I love this unit. It's well built, solid construction, feels good in use. Cuisinart built a good small fryer in this unit.

January 27, 2013 Update: We still use this fryer. It still works after all this time. Some of the non-stick material in the bottom has rubbed off, but that doesn't change how well this works. No question, this is for 1 or 2 servings of food. When I need to make more food, I simply turn on the oven to keep warm and fry in small batches. Pretty simple to do. Wouldn't change a thing with this fryer after almost 4 years.

January 16, 2014 Update: Another year and it still works. Nothing new to report other than I've replaced the carbon filter now. I cut one out myself from the carbon filters on an air purifier we have.
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on May 26, 2011
I confessed I read the 1 star reviews first, and had some reservations, but tried it anyway.

First things first. My initial experience with deep fryers are with restaurant-grade fryers, at an uncle's restaurant when I was a kid. I thought: if the oil is so hot, let's throw something so cold into it and see what happens. So I tried an ice cube. You all know what happens next. Don't do it.

Still, I had a chance to see how that thing worked. For those who are complaining about this heavily scaled down version, you have to remember that's just what this is.

The filter in the lid (removable and washable) is greatly appreciated. In the past, my husband got annoyed when the air in our home smells greasy, even with all the fans running. This unit greatly reduces the odor of cooking oil frying. We use either peanut oil, soy, and safflower. Much less odor than corn or vegetable, but the filter helps even more! Remember to read the instructions and squeeze the basket handle in and release inside the "ring" for a proper stiff handle.

The tininess of the unit is the real draw of this appliance. With the bigger deep fryers, you are left with tons of oil with nowhere to go. Those units (my neighbors have the larger ones) take up counter space, even if you decide to keep the oil in the fryer.

Now, the gripes: Some people said it takes progressively longer to heat each time. I wonder if they are starting with fresh oil. The more you use the same batch of oil, the "dirtier" it becomes. Subsequently, it takes longer to heat. Alton Brown mentioned this on his special on frying.

That dastardly magnetic power cord that is long enough to stretch across a nail head : It's a pain, but the designers are trying to look after you. The shorter the cord, the closer you will keep it to the wall, the more out of reach from children the unit is. It is magnetic for a reason. Have you tried pulling something towards you with the cord still attached near the base? It tips over. IN YOUR DIRECTION. I first thought it didn't make a difference whether it was plugged on unplugged. Hot oil still burns. (Trust me, I learned young!) But the magnetic attachment is there for a purely physical reason. If you pull it towards you, it releases from the base and keeps the unit from pivoting on your fingers and dumping the contents onto you.

Having said that, we cheated with a short industrial grade extension so I can get the unit directly underneath the hood vent. I have to stress "industrial grade" extension, because the point of connection does heat up fast if you use a household extension...which the instructions warn against.

As for cooking. It does fine. Not equal to a restaurant deep fryer, I can vouch for that. But apply some common sense.

1. Julia Child always said Crank it up higher than your recipe calls for, if you are dropping in frozen items. The coldness of the item will drastically reduce the temperature and kick it immediately from green (ready) into orange light again (heating up).

2. Watch the light carefully. The moment it switches to orange, lift up the basket and set it on the rim (great feature) and STOP YOUR TIMER. Once it turns green again, lower the basket and restart your timer. This doesn't hurt the cooked items in anyway. This deeper fryer isn't Marcel Proust. It won't recall the down time. If anything, it aerates the surface and makes it that much crispier.

3. Frying something with the lid close may have different results compared to doing it open, depending on what you are cooking.

4. Never cool your fried items on paper napkins. Do it on a mesh grill (cooling rack) to let air circulate underneath and around your food. Paper napkins just soak up the grease drippings and your food sits in that saturated paper and loses its crispiness.

That's it. We're happy with the product. Go forth, and may the grease be with you!
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on March 27, 2010
This deep fryer is great for many reasons:

1) First of all, it is small and fits nicely on a crowded kitchen counter. The ONLY way I would recommend positioning it is with the dial facing you, allowing for at least 6 inches of empty space on either side of the fryer. If you are using the basket, this is the only way you can simultaneously reach the basket handle and the lid handle without reaching over the hot oil and burning yourself. (I mention this because some people who wrote negative reviews complained about burning themselves, but you can avoid that by using the fryer in this position.)

2) Secondly, the oil is heated by a heating element that is hidden away under the frying bowl. This means that there is no heating element directly in the oil for food to stick to or get stuck under. Therefore, you can just place your food directly into the frying bowl instead of placing it in the basket first. If you are adept at using wooden utensils (chopsticks, spoons, etc.), you will have no problem getting your food out, and you won't need the basket at all. I HIGHLY recommend using the fryer this way, since in my experience battered (i.e. shrimp) or soft (i.e. tofu) items will stick to the basket, but won't stick to the bottom or sides of the frying bowl. (The basket is useful if you want to fry batches of things that you know won't be sticky. For example, I used it to fry 4 spring rolls at a time, and it worked beautifully.)

3) Thirdly, the lid and filter really do what they are supposed to do. The lid is NOT spring-loaded and not heavy, so opening and closing it is safe and easy. (The lid stays securely on the hinge if put on properly, yet will come off when you need to clean it.) The filter in the lid significantly decreases the odor released into the air. (I say DECREASES, because of course it's not going to totally eliminate it.)

4) Finally, the fryer gets the oil hot enough, and doesn't burn it. Some people have complained about this fryer not getting hot enough, but in my experience it is perfect. Before I used this fryer, I deep-fried with oil in a pot and it was such a hassle to maintain the temperature. I would occasionally overheat the oil and it would burn. This fryer only goes up to 375 degrees, so I always just set it to the highest setting, wait until the light sensor turns green, and then start frying. After a batch of food, I have to wait until the light turns from red back to green, but it's not a problem. I have cooked batches and batches of food for a large party with this fryer and not had any problems with temperature.

Some minor flaws with the fryer are: 1) the temperature dial isn't precise if you want to set it to a temperature that is lower than the max setting; 2) the basket isn't non-stick. However, these flaws don't detract enough from the entire product for me to deduct any stars from my rating.
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on July 13, 2011
I've probably had this fryer for a year or so and have used it for a variety of small deep-frying projects: french fries (homemade or frozen), potato chips (gotta have the mandoline slicer!), battered fish, even homemade gyoza (aka potstickers or dumplings).

Yes, the size isn't going to work well for you if you're trying to make a lot of stuff in short order, so it does work best for things like appetizers for a couple people. If you want more frying capacity, you shouldn't get this one in the first place.

It is nice in holding less oil and fitting in better with the counter space I have, so those are benefits to me. Once getting used to how things work, I've never had any real issues with the temperature of the oil. Does it take a little longer than some other fryers out there? I can't really say because I haven't done any comparisons. All I know is when I cut up a potato for fries and do the "fry for a minute or two, take out for another couple then fry until done" method, I'm very happy with the results. Check out the photos I've added to see some of what I like to make in this.

Be careful not to overload the basket. I've done a batch of potato chips and I have to be careful not to put the equivalent of a full potato in because as thin as the chips can be cut they sometimes get stuck together and the last time I ended up with a clump of junk I had to toss. That's my fault though, not a defect of the fryer.

After at least a couple dozen uses I've found it's a little less simple to clean around the top of the oil reservoir and there's some buildup around the hinge of the lid. That's a bit messy (and I've just used vegetable oil so far). You may have to be a little careful when pouring oil out to clean the insides because the groove at the front left edge is fairly small so some of it may dribble over the edge. Nothing that can't be dealt with if you're careful.

The magnetic cord attachment is something I'm used to with smaller fryers and it's a good safety feature. Put the fryer where you want it, hook everything up, and if you don't move anything the cord stays put.

In the end, if you know what you're doing this is a very solid fryer given what it's designed for.
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on December 30, 2014
This is NOT a commercial grade deep dryer. You're not gonna get three or four big chicken wings or breasts into this deep fryer at a time because it is just so compact. This fryer does not use a lot of oil which was my biggest concern when I first got it. Not a lot of oil means this is a very easy clean up. Just clean the frying basket, detach the lid and clean that, now you've cleaned most of it. Of course you have to wait a while to dump the oil and clean on the inside. Not a big deal. I love the size because it gets hot relatively quick, fries my food nice and crisp! I do small loads at a time, leaving what I put in completely submerged in the hot oil. This fryer has no problem assisting with the fried part of any meal for two, three or four people. If you need more, just turn the oven on to a low degree and keep the food warm and crisp as you fry more. There's a small filter on the top to take care of any rising grease. Hardly any odor comes through. The best part, no more messy stovetops!!! I don't have to fry anything in my pans, leaving food unevenly fried or burnt. Just remember, small machine, less oil, fry small portions at a time, removable lid and basket for cleanup, and simply pour the oil out after it has cooled down, sponge wash the inside and rinse it.
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on February 13, 2007
This is a stylish little unit that offers really great tasting results. My one complaint is that it is not dishwasher safe and you have to wash the main housing completely by hand. But it looks good on the counter and produces crispy tasty fried foods, so pretty good for the price.
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on January 5, 2007
I like this fryer. I fried a lot of Japanese-style food for a family of 4 and there is no oily smell in the house afterwards. It took me a while though. It is all right since I do not want a large appliance on my countertop anyway and that was why I bought it. The fryer is ideal for frying chicken nuggets, shrimp and even Tofu. I gave it 4 stars coz it is really small. It is too small if you are thinking of frying bone-in chicken [...]
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on October 7, 2006
...but I am baffled as to why a good bit of the batter sticks to the bottom of the basket no matter what. I've used two different batter recipes, have thick and thin-coated the items, use peanut oil, tried heating the basket or keeping it out until loading, cook only 4-6 items at a time, always add items only when it has heated up to Ready...dunno. Other than that, it's compact, stores well, heats up fast and evenly, cooks beautifully, no spatters, easy to drain and clean, no scratches. I almost want to throw food in without the basket and then fish out with a spider or tongs.

For the price, a great deal.
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on February 28, 2010
I have had this product for a couple of months now, and I have been using it on a very regular basis. First let me say that this size deep fryer is ideal for one or two people, which is why we bought it. If you're frying more than a serving or two of anything or if you're feeding a large crowd or family, it will take several batches and extra time in between for the oil to heat up again: it is NOT made for really heavy use. Definitely keep that in mind before purchasing.

There are only good things to say about this product. It is well-designed and constructed, the non-stick coating on the inside and stainless steel outside make it REALLY simple to clean. It has a nice little pour spout to drain out the oil, then I just set it right in the sink and rinse it out with soap and water (don't submerge it!). The lid comes off so you can clean it, and all of the parts (including the fryer basket) are dishwasher safe. When you're not using it, it's tiny enough to sit on your counter without taking up a lot of space, and it looks nice as a counter top appliance. This way you can just leave the oil in it all the time.

Another thing I love about it is the magnetic cord. It is very easy to unplug, if you try and move the machine while it's plugged in or even touch the cord at all, it's bound to just fall right out. This is a really great safety feature, because if you ever have an accident the electrical connection is closed immediately. I've found that you need to place it where you want it, plug it in, and then don't try to move it while you're cooking. I like that the cord is detachable because I can store it by itself and just leave the fryer on the counter without the clutter of the cord.

I have not had any trouble with this product so far, even with pretty frequent use. The temperature always stays constant, and it heats up fairly quickly because it uses such a small amount of oil. I love the filter in the lid (also washable) because you can just keep the lid closed and that "fried food" smell doesn't fill up the house while you're cooking. Overall, I can recommend this product with 100% confidence.
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on August 8, 2006
I have cooked fish and fries since receiving this item and very pleased. The food cooks evenly and the nice size basket allows you to put a larger quanity of food in for a compact fryer.Easy to clean and fits just perfectly under my counter. Cuisinart products have always been good to me.
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