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An Oil-Free Fryer? Bring It On!

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

An oil-free deep fryer, which may hit the market later this year, could be the breakthrough that french fry and doughnut lovers have been waiting all their lives for.

The infrared-wave or radiant fryer contraption makes fries with half the fat, using no fabricated chemicals like Olestra. As reported by Rebecca Boyle, writing for PopSci.com, the french fries turned out by this miracle oven have ‘the same crispy, oily goodness we all love.’

Developed at Purdue University by food scientist Kevin Keener, the radiant fryer is meant for foods with just a bit of oil on them already, such as the par-cooked chicken nuggets, hash browns and fries that are used by fast food restaurants. The fryer is targeted to the commercial market, but Keener says he’s received requests from consumers who want one for their home kitchen. He says the oven would need further tinkering before a “home version” could be made for personal use.

Keener began working on the oil-free fryer project seven years ago with colleague Brian Farkas. They wanted to create something that fried food faster, healthier and safer than hot oil.

Keener (left) demonstrates infrared fryer to Purdue grad student. PHOTO: Mark Simons/Purdue

The unit is much like a very powerful heat lamp, using 10-12 infrared emitters with various wavelengths to generate up to 100,000 watts of heat per square meter. It can cook anything to a crisp, according to Keener.

In a recent demonstration, Keener cooked hash browns and chicken patties that he claims tasted even better than traditionally fried ones. ‘You can taste more of the food and less of the oil,’ he told PopSci.com.

Keener hopes to have a manufacturing agreement to get the oil-free fryer on the market sometime this spring.

Guilt-free french fries? Sign me up.

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