People Are Making Deep-Fried Water and We're as Confused as You Are

Don't try this at home.

Deep-Fried Water
PHOTO BY Youtube/The Action Lab ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

( Fried chicken, french fries, doughnuts, bagnet…. deep-fried eats are pretty much synonymous with all things indulgent and drool-inducing. But alas, this is the Internet, where no ideas are off-limits—and now, people are deep-frying water. That’s right: Deep-fried water is taking off on TikTok and Youtube, and we know you’re probably curious: How does it work? What the heck does it taste like? Most importantly: Why?

Deep-Fried Water

Deep-Fried Water
That's deep-fried water for ya, folks.
PHOTO BY Youtube/The Action Lab

We can at least answer the first question. Deep-fried water isn’t literally plain water that’s deep-fried—that would be dangerous. Rather, it involves a combination of calcium chloride and sodium alginate along with water, which forms a gelatin-like ball of water bound in a liquid membrane. This ball is then breaded—similar to how you would tempura or croquettes—and then fried to a crisp  Don’t try this at home; if water leaks out from the sphere while it’s frying, it could potentially explode!

Deep-Fried Water
Here's what the water blob looks like before frying.
PHOTO BY Youtube/The Action Lab
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The idea of deep-frying water isn’t completely new; Youtuber Jonathan Marcus uploaded a video for the recipe—if you can call it that—in 2016, for an event dubbed the Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas Hackathon 2.0, we kid you not.

But it started getting traction again as famous science Youtube channel The Action Lab came out with their own take in December of 2020, where host James Orgill prepares two versions—one breaded in panko and another breaded in Dixie Fry coating mix.


Today, you can even find clips of people trying their hands at deep-fried water on TikTok.


DEEP FRIED WATER ???? What Should I Deep Fry Next? #water #friedwater #tiktokfood #foodie #science #fyp

? Just Water - Bryansanon

We don’t have the guts to try this ourselves, but it doesn’t sound like it’s worth the effort anyway. If you’re wondering how it actually fares, well, Marcus reports it to be bland. Meanwhile, Orgill tells VICE it tasted “really gross... There’s no flavour, and it just tastes kind of salty and slimy.”

In any case, deep-fried water does make for a cool way to geek out on chemical compounds, if that’s your thing. We’ll stick to fried chicken, thanks.

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