I have a fry-daddy (small fryer) and like reusing the oil week after week. I found a frugal way of cleaning the oil.
First, I heat the oil up to about 200 degrees F, then turn off. The oil has to be a bit thinner to strain properly. I put a large pot in the sink, put a metal strainer in side of it, and then a paper towel in the strainer. Pour the grease into the paper towel and strainer and it goes into the large pot (crumbs and such will stay in the paper towel). You will need to be cautious doing this! It's very hot and dangerous.
Do not use plastic anything! Plastic melts.
If you do not feel comfortable doing this, don't! I'd rather have people unharmed and wasting oil than harmed to save a buck or two! I was scared of doing it in the beginning, but got better at it each time it's done.
Source: I've had to work in restaurants during a lot of my adult life and learned how to clean the fryers. Took that experience and figured out a frugal way of cleaning my own grease/oil at home to save money.
By Misty from Ohio
Editor's Note: Please use extreme caution whenever working with hot oil as the burns can be very serious, even possibly fatal. Keep children and pets out of your way to minimize accidents.
Also if you don't feel comfortable pouring from the fryer into the strainer, use something smaller to transfer the hot oil. I have a set of metal measuring cups, and will use one of those if I have to strain hot liquids, rather than pour directly from a large container of the hot liquid.
I have started to wonder the same thing. I fry boneless breaded chicken about 1-2 times per week (usually in Canola, but sometimes Vegetable Oil). It seems such a waste to just throw the oil away, considering the cost. I will "attempt" the coffee filter method. I might have tried this years ago. I am just hard pressed to believe that the thickness of the oil can actually go through the coffee filter, with it's tightly compressed fibers. If many of you have tried it successfully, I will try it. I am sure that if it works, it must take a long time to filter, right?
Re using coffee filters. It is a relatively slow process, but works best if the oil is pre-strained through a tea strainer, old clean cotton rag, cheesecloth, etc. At the cost of good oil, esp. if using peanut oil, it's worth it!