Wondering what oil to use for making your favorite fried chicken or doughnut recipe? Here's our top pick!
What is the best oil for cooking?Rose Fooks April 26, 2021 7:01 pm
With lots of variety to choose from, it can be hard to know which is the best oil for the job. Our handy guide looks at the healthiest, as well as the best oil for frying, deep-frying, and making salad dressings too.
Cooking oil is a liquid that is extracted from either a plant, animal, or synthetic fat and is used in a variety of cooking methods as well as recipes.
The best oil for cooking will depend on how you intend to use it. Olive oil is one of the best for dressing salads as well as being up there with the healthiest. Avocado oil is a new healthy contender that makes a great all-rounder oil, however, it is more expensive than other options.
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil is great for cooking with and Grapeseed oil is one of the best to use for deep frying on account of having a very high smoke point. Our guide looks at the following with it comes to the best oil for cooking…
What to consider when selecting an oil
When choosing which oil to use, there are a few things to consider, including flavor, smoke point, and price.
Oil either has a flavor, or it doesn’t. Frying in a neutral oil is typically the best practice – as you don’t want your food to take on the taste of your oil. However, specific recipes can call for frying in avocado or peanut oil to create a particular flavor profile.
The smoke point is the temperature at which oil starts to burn and create smoke. If your oil gets too hot, it will fill your kitchen with smoke and could potentially create a dangerous situation. Every oil has a different smoke point, so consult the chart below before you start frying! For more information on smoke point, check out this informative article from Serious Eats.
Deep frying requires a large amount of oil, as food needs to be covered entirely to fry effectively. Due to the high volume – most restaurants and home cooks choose to deep fry with cheaper oil to keep costs down.
When you take these three factors into account, you are ready to choose an oil for deep frying. There is no right answer for everyone but here are a few recommendations from your friends at Central Restaurant Products.
Our recommendation: With breaded and battered foods, reuse oil three or four times. With cleaner-frying items such as potato chips, it’s fine to reuse oil at least eight times—and likely far longer, especially if you’re replenishing it with some fresh oil.
No, you cannot deep-fry in butter. It simply can’t handle the heat it will brown and burn before you reach deep-frying temperatures. In a comment you say that vegetable oils are unstable when heated, but it is in fact the opposite: butter is much more unstable when heated.
Which Is the Perfect Oil for Deep Frying?
As you will be able to see, we have included a full range of oils on our list and this can be confusing to those thinking about deep frying oil for the first time.
To make it clearer, we will now give a brief overview of the benefits of each type of oil:
- Refined Coconut Oil. It is very important that if you opt for coconut oil, you should only choose a refined option. This generally pushes the smoke point up to 450°F. It is also a neutral oil that does not flavor the food at all.
- Avocado Oil. It is usually surprising to buyers that avocado oil has a very high smoke point, which is around 500°F. It should be noted that, unlike with coconut oil, it has a slight taste that can affect the overall flavor of the food being deep fried.
- Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil. There is a lot of culinary myths surrounding olive oil and one of the most common is that it cannot be used for frying. It is often claimed that the health benefits start to break down as soon as it is heated, but this is simply not true.
It is true that you must be careful what type of olive oil you opt for and that is why we have only included an extra light virgin olive oil. This has a smoke point of 400°F and will leave your food with a rich olive flavor.
- Sunflower Oil. A light oil that only comes with a mild flavor, this is a great choice for an all-round frying option. It also contains a high level of Vitamin E. Its smoke point is 450°F.
- Safflower Oil. While safflower oil is similar to that of sunflower oil, there is a slight difference as it has a lower level of saturated fats. It has a very neutral taste and the same smoke point as sunflower oil.
- Canola Oil. This is one of the most stable oils and is used widely for deep-frying. It has a neutral flavor and it doesn’t absorb the taste of what it is cooking. This means it is also an economical option, because it can be used on multiple occasions.
- Grape Seed Oil. This oil is not the best choice if you are looking for a healthy alternative. Instead, you should turn to this oil if you want an option that has a subtle taste and a very high-smoke point.
- Peanut Oil. While peanut oil does have a slightly nutty flavor, it is a remarkably neutral oil and it is a great option for deep-frying. It also has a very high smoke point and it a little more affordable than some of the other options on our list.
Other Best Options For Deep Frying Oil
Other than the coconut oil, there are several other oils that can also be used for deep-frying. Here are a few examples.
1. Animal Fats
Animal fats like ghee, tallow, lard, and drippings, etc. are also a very good choice for deep-frying as they have high smoke points and most of the fats are saturated or monounsaturated.
It also lacks trans-fats which is a good thing since trans-fats are harmful to health. But we should also keep this in mind that the amount and kind of fats present in an animal depend on its diet.
Naturally fed animals lack in polyunsaturated fats which is a good thing and these fats can be used for deep-frying. But those animals that are artificially fed i.e. from grains or synthetic animal food have a lot of polyunsaturated fats such animal fats should not be used.
2. Olive Oil
The olive oil is considered to be the most beneficial oil in the world.
According to one research report, olive oil can be used in a deep fryer for at least 24 continuous hours before it begins to deteriorate.
The reason behind its high smoke point is the excessive amount of monounsaturated fats. The only problem with this oil is that it loses its flavor and fragrance when heated.
3. Avocado oil
When it comes to health properties, the avocado oil is more or less similar to the olive oil.
It has a high smoke point and a lesser amount of polyunsaturated fats. Avocado oil is a perfect choice for high heat cooking.
How to Deep-Fry Food Without Making a Hot Mess
Biting into the perfect french fry is kind of a thrill. Golden brown, with a wonderfully crispy crust and a pillowy, tender center -- yet it&aposs also surprisingly light, not greasy. Truth is, deep-frying food doesn&apost have to be a heavy, greasy mess. Not when it&aposs done right. Here&aposs how to do it right!
Deep-frying is a simple technique that nevertheless requires some attention to detail.
1) Use a deep, wide pot like a stockpot (or a dedicated deep-fryer) and enough oil to submerge the food you&aposll be frying. But leave at least 4 inches between the top of the oil and the lip of the pot to avoid spillovers and reduce splatters. A wok with long sloping sides also works great for deep-frying.
2) Use a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoking point, like peanut, sunflower, safflower, or soybean oil. Vegetable shortening and lard also work well. Extra-virgin olive oil and butter have lower smoking points, which means they will scorch at a much lower temperature -- making whatever you are frying taste burned and bitter.
3) Heat the pot of oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Be patient. Heating a large amount of oil can take a while.
- Use a candy thermometer or large-dial thermometer that can hook onto the pot. Oils will begin to burn between 400 and 450 degrees F (200 and 225 degrees C) and will catch fire at around 500 degrees F (250 degrees C), so keep a close eye on the temperature.
- Once the oil reaches 350 degrees F, reduce the heat to low. If you notice the temperature on the thermometer dropping, turn the heat up a small amount until the temperature has crawled back up to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- No thermometer? Not a deal-breaker. Stick the end of a wooden spoon into the center of the hot oil. When the temperature reaches about 350 degrees F, you&aposll see tiny bubbles sizzling where hot oil meets wood. Other methods? Toss a pinch of flour into the oil. If it sizzles, you&aposre good if it browns up immediately, too hot.
One Hot Second for Science: Hot oil keeps food from getting greasy because the hot, hot oil quickly evaporates water off the surface of the food, which keeps the oil on the surface, where it can work its crispy, crust-forming magic.
4) Carefully place food into the oil using a slotted spoon or tongs. To avoid splashing hot oil everywhere, don&apost drop food into the oil (splash!).
5) Fry in small batches without crowding. Crowding will cause the oil&aposs temperature to drop, and you&aposll end up with greasy, stuck-together food. If you&aposre frying in batches, let the oil temperature return to 350 before adding another round.
6) Allow each piece some space. If your food clumps together, separate the pieces, and move them around in the hot oil -- you&aposll get crispier results and a more even fry if you keep the food in motion. Once the exterior of the food is golden brown, test to see if it has cooked all the way through. If it is golden brown on the outside but undercooked on the inside, reduce the oil&aposs heat to about 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and begin again.
7) Remove the food to paper towels when golden brown outside and perfectly cooked inside. Use a slotted metal spoon, spatula, or spider for this operation. Also, don&apost put the hot, oily food on ink-covered newspapers. Getting fried food onto the paper towels quickly pulls the excess fat off the food and leaves a crispy, crunchy treat that isn&apost greasy and weighty with oil.
8) Season it! While the food&aposs fresh from the fryer and piping hot, salt it. If you&aposre making doughnuts, it&aposs time to roll them in sugar.
The science behind deep frying
Deep frying is when you immerse your food (usually breaded or battered) into oil that’s heated to between 350-375 degrees.
At this temperature, the surface of the food cooks almost immediately. This both locks in the moisture and locks out the oil. As outside locks out the oils, the moisture inside the food begins the cooking process by steaming it from the inside.
The seal on the outside keeps all that moisture locked in. This is how you get that crispy outside but moist inside result that we all love.
If you’re cooking in an electric deep fryer, it will have a thermostat. However, if you are cooking in a deep pot on top of your range you must have a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature.
If the oil is too low, the food will be greasy. But if the oil is too hot, it will have a burnt taste and can even exceed its smoke point and catch fire if you don’t back down the heat once you reach the smoke point..
Below is a link to a video that offers some hints for safety when you’re deep frying in a pan instead of an electric fryer. While this video speaks to range-top deep frying, the safety hints are also relevant for an electric deep fryer.
Having a full understanding of the science behind deep frying will help you perfect your technique and make adjustments until you achieve the perfect outcome.
The oil they use is a canola oil blend. Though it is possible their products come into contact with nuts as there is a possibility of cross contamination where the food is manufactured. Mcdonald’s uses 100% vegetable oil.
Heart-healthy oils like safflower oil and rice bran oil are perfect because they can withstand frying temperatures of almost 500° F. You can also look to peanut oil and sunflower oil if you’re frying at 450° F, or canola oil and vegetable oil to keep temperatures around 400° F.
IOS Natural 100% Pure Avocado Oil
This avocado oil is used in restaurants, fast food, cafes, as it does not absorb the smell and can be used 5 times longer than conventional oil.
This oil contains a mixture of several types of oils – sunflower oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, and palm olein.
Fryer oil works for 30 hours. The length of frying is the expected amount of time. During this period, the oil can be cooked safely and with high quality.
It is important to use the right techniques when frying and changing the oil. This product has a high value due to its unsaturated fat content.
There is no unpleasant odor or flavor in the product from the beginning and the oil does not absorb odor during use.
It is characterized by increased resistance to oxidation and frying temperatures. It ensures that food is cooked more evenly and crispy. Reduced foaming and higher fuming temperatures are typical for this frying oil.
Frying fat is a special professional oil for deep frying.
FAQ healthy oils for deep frying buyers:
Which frying oil to choose?
Definitely refined. In unrefined frying oils, impurities are converted into carcinogenic substances by heating. Restaurants usually choose palm, sunflower, or olive oils for deep frying, the best of which is olive oil, but also the most expensive.
Why do I have to change the frying oil?
When frying in deep frying, small pieces of food get into the oil and remain, so it becomes murky and darker and changes its taste. It also affects the taste of the food prepared in this oil.
Besides, when heated in the oil, free fatty acids and carcinogenic substances are produced. The longer the oil is used, the higher its concentration, and the more dangerous it is for health.
How do I dispose of frying oil?
Oil should not be discharged into the sewer system, at best it will clog the pipe, at worst it will rupture the pipe. Even when cooking at home, it is not recommended to pour oil into the sink.
On a fast-food restaurant scale, the best way to dispose of the fryer is to take it to special recycling companies. Such companies usually accept containers from 20 liters.
How many times can you use oil for deep frying?
We recommend using oil three or four times for breaded products. For cleaner products, oil can be used up to eight times.