draining fried food

Joined Aug 13, 2006
I used to always drain my fried food on paper towels or brown paper bags. Then i got the idea (i don;t remember where) to drain on a rack. (I think i tried it when i had been given a wok with an arc-shaped rack that hooked on the edge, presumably for draining fried stuff.

I think when you have to hold the fried food for a while - like when you have a lot to fry and it sits around for half an hour - it stays crisper when it's drained on a rack.

So how come everyone I ever met drains fried food on paper?

I don;t like to have to wash the rack, so i crumple up some aluminum foil so the food sits on the points that stick up and the oil drips down into the valleys, and it works fine. It just annoys me that I ate all that soggy fried stuff over the years when i could have had it stay crisp!
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I started using racks about a year ago, and will never go back.

As it was explained to me, if you use paper towels or bags then the food is, in effect, sitting in a puddle of oil. Whether or not that's true, it sure sounds right. And the proof is in the draining: I've never had anything turn soggy since going to the racks.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I use a rack too, one that fits in jelly roll pan. Can keep it in the oven as needed to keep the fried food hot and crisp.

Clean up in the dishwasher.
Joined Oct 9, 2009
definitely on the rack if it's more than just a handful and if it's for more than just a couple minutes. The rack then goes in the dish washer. I might sometimes blot with paper towel too, if I suspect that oil on top of the food won't drip down but just puddle or soak in.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Ditto on using a rack. Go to your local fish and chip shop - mesh baskets work the shame as a rack. I picked one up second hard for my oil pot - I don't enjoy chips drained on papter towels - they go soggy.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Thanks for teaching me something new. I've always drained on paper towels without giving it much thought, I will have to try draining on a cookie rack for sure.

French fries however should be taken out of the fryer and placed directly into a brown paper lunch bag and tossed with salt. :bounce:
Joined Aug 13, 2006
What i can't figure out is why i've never come across that in any cookbook - and i do read a lot of them.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
I still prefer draining my chips in the basket above the hot oil, then they go into a st. steel bowl to be tossed with suitable salt/paprika/white wine vinegar, whatever tickles your fancy. Serve pronto.

The round chip/fries basket is good for a variety of things - obviously, deep frying is one. But its also good for blanching vegetables. Into the boiling water, blanch for required time, then out into suitably sized pot with iced water to shock, and take out to drain and dry. Then do with them what you will. Plus they look good hanging in your kitchen :) (Alongside my silly wire fish bbqing cages....)

Haven't tried it for pasta yet - not sure how well it would work and if the pasta would stick to it, unless it had a spray of Pam etc before starting. Would be good for blanching anything really salty, say olives, if you want to cut down on the salt in a recipe. Another thought - for skinning tomatoes - you can get the whole lot out in one go.
Joined Jul 21, 2006
I've always drained on paper towels, too. That's how my mother and grandmother did it so that's how I do it. I will have to try the rack the next time I fry something. I have seen racks at Dollar Tree that would probably work pretty well for this purpose. I have one but it's not very big....maybe large enough for a dozen cookies if they aren't too big. lol
Joined Feb 1, 2007
DC, using the fryer basket amounts to the same thing.

I prefer the racks only because it lets me get the next batch into the fryer a little faster.

One thing I found amusing is one of the celebrity chefs recommending that the rack be put in a sheet pan lined with paper towels to catch the grease. Hmmmph? Did he think that you still wouldn't have to wash the pan afterwards?
Joined Feb 26, 2007
'Tis the same essentially, good point about using a rack to get the next lot on fast. At home, that hadn't occured to me as it is usually just a single batch.

Hmmm - maybe that celeb. chef *doesn't wash his pan after...nasty. Silly comment #650098 by a celeb chef....
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I'm a paper towel user - or should I say I was a paper towel user. I never thought of using a rack. Good idea.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
don't know. maybe they thought it was obvious or they were pros and tryng preserve a "secret".
Joined Jun 16, 2007
A rack sounds good--I'll have to try that. Siduri's aluminum foil idea is a good one :chef:.

As a side note, there was a recent thread about frying bacon in olive oil. I remember reading somewhere that this actually makes it healthier. Here is the logic and it sounds reasonable to me: the bacon comes out covered with grease anyway--and if it's part olive oil and less lard, it's better for you. Plus, more of it will drain off because the olive oil is thinner. (I don't know if this is all true).
Joined Feb 1, 2007
and tryng preserve a "secret".

Gunner, I don't think that's really it.

Techniques, like everything else in the food world, run in fashions. That is, soon as one or two known chef's start doing something they all do.

This process just happens faster, in today's world of TV celebrity chefs and food blogging.

I suspect using a rack was one of those things. Paper towels have been used, and recommended, ever since they were invented. Fairly recently the rack thing hit the charts. Cookbook authors just haven't caught on to it yet.

Anyway, that's how I read it.
Joined May 29, 2006
Try using an iceing rack on a half sheety pan 1. it holds more product. 2. you already probably have these two items in the kitchen 3. can be used fo other things.

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