Vacuum fryer is a deep-frying device originally developed for potato chip production.
Vacuum fryers are fit to process low-quality potatoes that contain higher sugar levels than normal, as they frequently have to be processed in spring and early summer before the potatoes from the new harvest become available. With vacuum frying it is easier to maintain natural colors and flavours of the finished product. Due to the lower temperatures applied (approx. 130°C), the formation of suspected carcinogen acrylamide is significantly lower than in standard atmospheric fryers, where the frying temperature is approx. 170°C. The fat absorption of the products is also reported to be lower than in atmospheric fryers. In South East Asia (mainly Philippines, Thailand, China and Indonesia) batch type vacuum fryers are mainly used for the production of fruit chips. However, these machines are only appropriate for relatively small production companies. For larger production quantities continuously working vacuum fryers are available. In these installations, the vacuum frying pan is installed in a stainless steel vacuum tube. The infeed of the raw product is carried out through a rotary air lock. Depending on the application, the frying pan itself is designed to meet the different product specifications. A transport belt takes the finished product out of the fryer and towards the outfeed system. A lock chamber at the exit of the vacuum tube prevents air from entering the vacuum zone. A belt system takes the product from one zone to another.
The vacuum is created by vacuum pumps. The whole system is controlled by a programmable logic controller.
In batch fryers the frying oil has to be replaced quite often as it is sensitive to temperature changes. Continuously working vacuum fryers lead to longer lifetime of the frying oil and therefore lower the production costs. Vacuum fryer also can reduce oil content in fried foods. The amount of reduced oil content usually 1-3%, depends on the type of the vacuum fryer.