One of the greatest things people ever did was drop pieces of food into really hot oil to invent deep-frying. It might've also been one of the worst things people ever did, but that all depends on who you ask and what food you're talking about. After all, there are plenty of things that are commonly deep-fried that we know and love: fries, onion rings, chicken, mozzarella sticks... the list could go on forever! However, people like to be creative with food, and that includes deep-frying anything they can get their hands on. Honestly, if it's been thought of, it's been deep-fried. Does this always work? Well, that's a matter of opinion. It all really depends on what food is going into the fryer.
Deep-frying is an incredibly versatile cooking method. It can be used for savory or sweet dishes. However, it doesn't always result in something that looks tasty—or even edible, for that matter. When you walk through any county fair, you'll see any number of foods that have been deep-fried, which probably shouldn't have been. You might also find some foods that are surprisingly delicious when they're deep-fried. It all depends on how good the food is, to begin with, and whether it was even suitable for cooking in the first place. What we have for you here are ten foods that look like they would be great after deep-frying, and ten that probably just should've stayed out of the oil.
20 Great: Deep-Fried PB and J
When you were a kid, there was probably no sandwich you enjoyed more than the classic peanut butter and jelly. Even as an adult, you probably still take any opportunity to make one for yourself. The combination of smooth, rich peanut butter and sweet, sharp jelly just goes so perfectly together. Obviously, if you made one of those, battered it up, and threw it in a deep-fryer, it could only get better. Not only would the sandwich have a nice, crispy exterior, but the insides would get all melty and warm, creating the perfect deep-fried spin on a childhood (and adulthood) favorite.
19 Bad: Deep-Fried Coke
Yes, you read that correctly—deep-fried Coca-Cola. How does it work? Well, we'll start by telling you that if you want to make this at home, please don't just pour a can of Coke into hot oil—that's unless you really, really want to start a massive grease fire in your kitchen. The secret to this weird snack is that it's actually just dough that's made using Coca-Cola. That's a bit of a cheat, isn't it? They sell it as deep-fried soda, but really, it's still just deep-fried dough. Not only is this a bad idea, but it's also a lie.
18 Great: Deep-Fried Pop-Tarts
Is there any food that's more disappointing than Pop-Tarts? Think about it. You look at the box as a kid, and it promises a delicious fruity interior (or chocolate if you were really lucky), surrounded by a flaky, sweet pastry topped with a generous amount of icing. Then, you open up one of the packets inside, and you realize that you've been sold a lie. So, how could Pop-Tarts be improved? By deep-frying them, of course! That's the only way that a Pop-Tart is ever really going to live up to the all-too-high standards it sets for itself. Serve it with some whipped cream and topped with Fruity Pebbles, and suddenly, the maligned breakfast pastry is a star!
17 Bad: Deep-Fried Tofu
Come on... how boring does that look? Tofu is probably one of the most mocked foods in the world. After all, it stands as a stark contrast to meat. While a nice piece of fried chicken is juicy, meaty, and flavorful, tofu is squishy, dull, and practically flavorless. Even if it's deep-fried, there's just no denying that tofu might just be one of the most disappointing foods in the world. It's never made anything better, and just because it's been deep-fried doesn't mean that it's somehow going to become tasty and exciting. If tofu must be eaten, it's usually done so grudgingly, not for fun.
16 Great: Deep-Fried S'mores
There aren't a lot of advantages to going camping. You have to sleep in a tent and be surrounded by mosquitoes (also bears and wolves, usually), and there's no television or internet. That sounds like a nightmare to most people. However, there's one thing that could get almost anyone to enjoy a camping trip: the promise of s'mores. This campfire treat that combines chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker has its own deep-fried version, and we have to say it looks pretty delicious. After all, the whole point of the s'more is the chocolate and marshmallow melting together, which this fried snack does perfectly.
15 Bad: Deep-Fried Watermelon
We've mentioned before how bad of an idea deep-frying watermelon is, but we really want to reiterate how totally pointless it is to deep-fry a fruit that's best enjoyed when it's cool and refreshing, not when it's slathered in batter and heated to 350 degrees. The worst thing about this snack is that regular watermelon is so good! If someone was just selling slices of watermelon from a stand, we'd totally get some. After all, it's the only fruit that satisfies your hunger and your thirst at the same time. Its high levels of fiber also mean it fills you up. There's no reason to deep-fry this wonderful, healthy snack—that's all we have to say about that!
14 Great: Deep-Fried Pickles
There might not be a better deep-fried snack than deep-fried pickles. These crunchy, briny, juicy morsels of flavor are available at almost any restaurant you go to. They're impossible to pass up, and almost as soon as they became a thing, they were a hit. They're even better if they are served with a side of ranch that's been flavored with extra dill. Some places do deep-fried pickle spears, which are really great, but others will do deep-fried pickle chips, which provide more surface area for that crispy breading. Just be careful when eating these since the hot pickle juice can really do a number on your mouth.
13 Bad: Deep-Fried Avocado
More than just a symbol representing the lack of millennial affluence (because houses cost as much as produce), the avocado is delicious, filling, and full of nutrients. However, like watermelon, the avocado is one of those berries (yes, both of them are berries—look it up!) that are best enjoyed when they're fresh. There might not be anything less appealing than hot avocado. After all, do you serve guacamole hot? Of course you don't. That would be a terrible idea. So why would anyone ever even consider deep-frying avocado? Probably because we, as humans, will literally deep-fry anything we can get our hands on.
12 Great: Deep-Fried Bacon
We may have mocked the idea of deep-fried bacon previously, but we have to admit that it's starting to grow on us. After all, the sheer audacity of deep-frying bacon makes this snack hard to resist. After all, this basically combines the two factors that are most adept at enhancing food flavors (bacon and deep-frying) and combines them without all the other filler in between. There's something kind of awesome about breaded and fried bacon. It's like eating a BLT without the L or the T. Honestly, the more we think about, the more we'd like to try it just to see what this is like. The bacon might not be frying in its own fat, but the breading would ensure it still maintains its crispiness.
11 Bad: Deep-Fried Spaghetti and Meatballs
You know when you have leftover spaghetti and you put it in a container in the fridge? Then, the next day, you microwave it, and it's just a dry, sad former shell of itself? That's what this deep-fried spaghetti and meatballs remind us of. After all, part of what makes spaghetti and meatballs work is the sauce, so when you eliminate that, you're just eating dry, crunchy noodles that are built around what's probably also a very dry meatball. As you can probably tell, the most worrisome part of this deep-fried snack is the dryness. Maybe if it had some marinara on the side for dipping, it would be okay, but even then, this wouldn't be fun to eat at all.
10 Great: Deep-Fried Cheesecake
Cheesecake is one of the richest desserts out there. It's creamy, heavy, and sweet but also tangy. So, why not take a ball of cheesecake filling and toss it in the deep-fryer? There's just something about this deep-fried snack that works on every level. First, you have the outer layer of crispy batter. Then, on the inside, you have a cool, creamy, cheesecake filling (that is, if you cooked these properly along the same lines as deep-fried ice cream, but we'll get to that later). Top these with a raspberry reduction or even a velvety chocolate sauce, and you've got yourself a winning deep-fried dessert. They're probably even great on their own.
9 Bad: Deep-Fried Olives
Okay, to be fair, this is more of a personal one. I can't stand olives. So the thought of trying to improve them by deep-frying them is just preposterous to me. Sure, there are probably olive-lovers out there who think this would be a great idea. They're wrong, of course, but they're welcome to their wrong opinions. There's just something about the richness of an olive that seems like it wouldn't mix well with the heaviness of deep-frying something. While pickles have that briny bite to cut through the batter, olives are totally lacking in that department. This is definitely a swing and a miss.
8 Great: Deep-Fried Ravioli
Deep-frying spaghetti might not be a great idea, but what about ravioli served with a side of dipping sauce? Now that we can get behind. Why? Because ravioli are already little pockets of meat or cheese, meaning that you don't have to give them any additional breading. Just drop them in the hot oil, and let them get crispy on the outside and hot on the inside. This is one case where deep-frying a non-traditionally deep-fried food is okay by us. There's just something about biting through the crispy pasta and hitting the delicious interior that makes deep-fried ravioli the perfect kind of deep-fried pasta.
7 Bad: Deep-Fried White Castle Burgers
As far as fast food burgers go, White Castle's may just be the worst. They have absolutely no texture, they're 90% bun, and you have to order, like, 20 of them to get full. So why would deep-frying one make it any better? First of all, that's a lot of bread, considering that you're also deep-frying the bun along with the burger. Second, this would just make the previously mentioned bread-to-burger ratio even worse. If you were going to deep-fry a fast-food burger, why not one that actually provides some substance like a Quarter Pounder? Actually, that would also probably be pretty bad.
6 Great: Deep-Fried Ice Cream
Deep-fried ice cream is a marvel of modern cuisine. On a personal note, when I first heard that this was a real thing, I thought that it must be impossible because obviously, the ice cream would just melt as soon as it got hot. As I got older, I learned about insulation and realized that as long as the batter was thick enough, the ice cream inside would stay cool and creamy. This is the kind of deep-fried treat that must be enjoyed if only because it seems like it shouldn't exist. It's like the discount version of a Baked Alaska, and that's enough to make it a must-try treat.
5 Bad: Deep-Fried Starfish
First of all, we didn't even know that you could eat starfish. Then again, humans will eat just about anything, so why not a starfish? These deep-fried ocean dwellers are a popular street food in China, where they're sometimes served on a stick. However, eating them is no easy task. You have to break the outer shell apart (which isn't always easy since it can be kind of pointy) to get to the inside. There, you'll find a pasty olive-green substance that smells like low-tide and tastes about the same. That's how you eat deep-fried starfish. We think that this would be one culinary adventure that we'd have to pass on, considering it's not really worth the trouble you go through to eat it.
4 Great: Deep-Fried Mars Bar
This is yet another staple of carnival foods and is particularly popular in Scotland, where it originated. A Mars bar, for those who aren't in the know, is essentially the same as a Milky Way bar. That is, to say, it's a Snickers without the peanuts. This is the kind of deep-fried food that we can get behind because a chocolate bar is already pretty decadent, so why not go one step further and deep-fry it to make it more delicious? This would offer a nice blend of textures: crispy fried dough and melty, gooey chocolate (that also contains caramel and nougat). Plus, these are super easy to make at home!
3 Bad: Deep-Fried Pork Intestines
Is this a joke? Did someone actually think that deep-frying the innards of a pig was actually going to make them look or taste good? Come on... we're all smarter than that, aren't we? Besides, as a society, have we not moved on from eating animal organs for the most part? Just look at that stuff. It looks like calamari but really sad. Our jaws are getting tired just looking at it. We can only imagine that the texture is so rubbery that it would essentially be like chewing deep-fried gum. Only, you know it's the intestines of a pig. No, thank you.
2 Great: Deep-Fried Oreos
Deep-fried Oreos may just be the pinnacle of deep-fried everyday foods. You can find these at pretty much any fair you visit, but they're also incredibly easy to make at home! There's just something so fun and simple about milk's favorite cookie being battered and fried. The cookie and the cream soften up significantly and melt into the batter surrounding it, creating a decadent flavor that'll still have you asking for that glass of milk. Be warned, though: you definitely can't scarf these down like regular Oreos. They're absolutely loaded with calories. Then again, has that ever stopped someone from over-indulging?
1 Bad: Deep-Fried Chicken Feet
That's right—not chicken legs, feet. As in three toes, talons, and chewy skin. Look, we've said throughout this article that deep-frying can make almost any food taste better, but this is where we draw the line. This is the last straw. Chicken feet have no place in cuisine. The only thing that could make this even the slightest bit appetizing is pretending you're eating little dinosaur feet, and even that would be pushing our limits. Maybe if you dipped these in some good chipotle mayo or barbecue sauce, they could come close to being palatable, but we're more likely to just head for the turkey-leg stand at the county fair.