deep frying ice
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Deep Frying Ice (And Why You Should Never Do It)

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Some people think that everything tastes better when deep-fried. But can you really fry everything? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you tried to deep fry ice?

Can you deep-fry ice? You can’t and absolutely should not deep fry ice. Because there is a huge temperature gap between the hot oil and ice, the ice starts melting as soon as it comes in contact with the oil.

Additionally, as the form of the ice changes from solid to steam almost instantly, it creates an intense bubbling reaction which can cause hot oil to boil out of the pan and potentially lead to severe burns and/or a fire.

In this article, you will learn why you should never attempt deep frying ice. We will also tell you what happens when you try to deep fry dry ice, the science behind the ice-oil reaction, and more. 

Deep Frying Ice – Can You Do That?

The temperature gap between ice and hot oil is huge. The temperature of oil in a deep fryer is often above 300°F. In fact, it can get as high as 375°F. The freezing point of water, on the other hand, is 32°F

The significant temperature gap between oil in the deep fryer and ice means that the moment ice touches the oil it will start to melt.

deep frying ice

The ice (water) will start to evaporate expanding into steam. This expanding water will start to push up against the oil, which often leads to hot oil bubbling up out of the frier and onto the ground

So, you can’t deep fry ice as it will not only melt but also create a messy and dangerous situation in your kitchen. 

Similarly, you should never put water into hot oil. Even a few drops into a pot with hot oil in it can leave you with oil burns and a potential fire.

What Happens When You Put Ice in a Deep Fryer?

To understand what happens when you put ice into the deep fryer it would be good to first explain how transitions between states of matter happen. It is common knowledge that matter exists in three states—liquid, solid, and gas

Water can transition between these states depending on the temperature it is exposed to.

As a result of the temperature changes that affect water, its molecules start vibrating at different rates. The higher the temperature the faster the molecules vibrate

Increased heat causes ice to melt, making it transition from a solid state into a liquid state.

If you maintain a high temperature, the water molecules will continue vibrating intensely. The water will start to boil and transition into the gas state turning into steam

So, what happens to the ice and oil when you expose the cold ice cubes to the boiling oil? 

At the time of putting ice into the deep fryer, the oil is in its active state—it is vibrating at a high rate. Ice molecules, on the other hand, are not active

As a result of the drastic temperature changes, the ice cubes start to crack, with the ice molecules activating instantly.

Because of the major temperature differences between ice and oil, the reaction of the experiment can be rather violent, with lots of bubbling happening in the deep fryer

It should be noted, however, that the intensity of this reaction also depends on how much ice you are putting into the deep fryer.

An ice cube or two will produce some intense boiling while putting many ice cubes in the deep fryer at once can create a very sudden and intense reaction. As a result of putting too much ice into the deep fryer, the oil can boil over. 

Deep Frying Dry Ice

Dry ice doesn’t react with oil the same way regular ice does. Experiments conducted to find out how dry ice reacts to oil in the deep fryer revealed that it didn’t produce the same violent reaction as regular ice. 

In case you didn’t know, dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form.

dry ice

The name comes from the ability dry ice has to transition from a solid state directly into a gas state, skipping the liquid stage. In comparison to regular ice, dry ice is heavier and colder. 

When you put dry ice into hot oil, it does cause some bubbling but not as much as regular ice does when you put it into a deep fryer. If you put a chunk of dry ice into boiling oil it will continually get smaller. 

What to Do if You Drop Ice into a Deep Fryer By Accident 

While the chances of you accidentally dropping a cube of ice in a hot deep fryer are low, you never know what may happen.

You may be making a cup of iced coffee while also making French fries and an ice cube may happen to escape your hands and get right into the deep fryer filled with boiling oil.

So, if this happens, what do you do? First of all, now that you know what happens when ice touches hot oil, you should always keep it away from the deep fryer.

In other words, when you are cooking using a deep fryer, ice shouldn’t be anywhere near it

If you don’t manage to prevent the accident from happening, the best thing you can do is to move as far away from the deep fryer as possible, as you may get burnt if a flame comes up as a result of the contact of ice and hot oil. 

And what if the deep fryer catches fire? If the fire isn’t big, you can try to put it out by covering it with the lid of the deep fryer. If things get more serious, call for help in order to stay safe

So, Can You Deep Fry Frozen Things?

The fact that putting ice into a deep fryer is not a good idea may leave you wondering if all frozen things and a deep fryer make a bad duo. 

The truth is, that certain foods can go into hot oil and produce great results. These are typically foods coated in some kind of batter. The batter is the protective layer that prevents the food from soaking up too much oil

nuggets in deep fryer

Some frozen foods that can safely go into the deep fryer are French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, nuggets, and corn dogs.

Ice cream can also go into a deep frier if it is coated in crushed cornflakes or anything else that would act as a protective layer preventing it from melting away. 

But no matter what frozen food you are frying, make sure to remove the excess ice before putting it in the deep fryer

General Deep Fryer Safety Rules 

When using your deep fryer, there are some safety precautions you need to take into consideration:

  • Fill your deep fryer with oil when it is turned off so that it gradually comes up to temperature once the deep fryer is turned on.
  • Place the deep fryer away from any water sources. 
  • Always have a fire extinguisher at hand. 
  • Check the smoke point of the oil you are using to avoid burning it. 
  • Use metal tongs to remove food from the deep fryer (I have been using these ones from Amazon.)
  • Pat dry defrosted food before putting it into the deep fryer. 

Do Cold Oil and Ice Mix? 

When you put ice into hot oil, it quickly changes from a solid to a gas. But would oil and ice mix if the oil weren’t hot?

Oil and ice simply don’t mix just like oil doesn’t mix with water. Oil is hydrophobic. In other words, it repels water

If you put an ice cube into a glass filled with water, you will witness a confusing scene. The ice will float on oil while the water droplets caused by the melting of the ice will go to the bottom of the cup. Why does this happen?

The answer is simple. Water is denser than oil which is why it goes to the bottom. It is also denser than ice. Ice, on the other hand, is less dense than oil which is why it floats at the top of the cup. 

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