Best Oil For Deep Frying: Healthy, Cheap, & High Temp Options
If you're trying to figure out the best oil for your deep frying needs, you've come to the right place. Why? Because the web is so full of information on oil, it's hard to determine what's important and what's not. This guide will help you understand what's important when choosing your oil as well as the best overall options to choose from.
Things to Consider when Choosing Oil
When it comes to choosing the best oil, there's a lot to consider. Everybody will have their own list of priorities, so what is most important to you will deeply impact your final decision.
If you're looking to deep fry food, you're likely going to care about how the oil effects the taste of your food. Oils can have a large array of tastes that can slightly impact the taste of the food.
Many preferred oils offer a neutral taste, which is something that shouldn't change the taste of your food either way. However, some oils offer slight variances in a food's bitterness or sweetness. These slight variations could be a good or bad thing depending on the food. Because of that, you'll mostly find neutral tasting oils as recommendations.
Cost may not be a huge factor when pan frying, but if you need to fill up a deep fryer then the amount of oil needed greatly increases. Some deep fryers can carry over a gallon of oil. Is expensive oil something you can continue to pay off anytime you want to change the oil in your deep fryer?
I'll be honest with you, if you're trying to deep fry, you're not going to find any purely healthy oils. If health is your biggest primary concern, then you probably shouldn't be deep frying very often.
That being said, each type of oil offers its own unique compound structure which provide a different set of health benefits and risks. We'll be sure to discuss each of them as we provide our best choices.
Smoke point is the single most important factor when choosing your oil. What is smoke point? Smoke point is the exact temperature an oil starts to give off a bluish smoke. Exactly what happens depends on how refined the oil, but in essence, it's bad. That's why you'll need to ensure your oil offers a high enough smoke point to fulfill your deep frying needs. Most deep fryers have a capacity of 375 degrees Fahrenheit, so if a smoke point of an oil is greater than that, you should be okay.
Taste transfer properties determine how well the flavors of food transfer through oil. For example, an oil with little taste transfer resistance may cause your french fries to taste like fish if you fried fish earlier with the same oil. However, an oil with properties to resist taste transfer should help prevent taste transfer from food to food.
Now, I'll admit, if you're clueless about deep frying, and you're aware of the hundreds types of deep frying oils, along with even more sub-types of these oils, it can be a lot to take it. That's why we're going to simply this as much as possible for you. And how did we figure out what oil is best for deep frying? We gathered all the information regarding each oil, made a chart, looked at all the positives and negatives of each, and came to our conclusion. To help you guys out, we're placing this in a well-organized table to help explain our answer.
The stability of an oil determines how long the oil will last before it starts to break down. In a sense, it coincides with cost because if you have to replace your oil more often, it doesn't matter too much if it's a little cheaper. In the long run, you'll be paying just as much.
Best Oil for Deep Frying
1) Canola Oil (Best for Convenience)
Canola oil is a great overall oil to choose if you're looking for simplicity. Canola oil is created from rapeseed that is low in an acid known as erucic acid. It's also extremely common, which makes it easy to find as well as cheap on the wallet. It beats out Vegetable oil as the best choice for convince because vegetable may be derived from a large number of plants, making it a bit more unpredictable in its properties.
- Neutral Taste
- High smoke point of around 400°F/204°C
- Fairly Cheap
- High in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat (around 7% saturated fat)
- Some Canola oils are derived from genetically modded plants, meaning they could contain GMO's.
- Studies show replacing saturated fats with more monounsaturated fat can decrease cholesterol leading a slew of health benefits such as decreased chance of heart attack. Canola oil doesn't offer a lot of saturated fat.
- Studies also show that people that consumed some Canola plant over four weeks, lost a small amount of belly fat.
Nutritional Value of Canola Oil
2) Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is derived from the edible seeds of a peanut plant. It's also an extremely popular choice among restaurants, and one of our personal favorites at The Cooking Expert. However, admittedly, it's not one of the healthiest options available.
- Most peanut oils offer a neutral flavor
- A extremely high smoke point of 440°F / 227°C.
- Strong taste transferring resistance
- While not the worst in saturated fats, its average of 18% leaves plenty of room for improvement.
- Peanut oil offers a good amount of vitamin E which offers benefits such as boosting your immune system's strength, increasing red blood cells, and lowering the chances of a heart attack. (Dietary Guidelines)
Nutritional Value of Peanut Oil
3) Coconut Oil (Best Stability)
Coconut oil has been becoming a bigger trend as the years go by in the Western Hemisphere. Its widely known for a large number of health benefits. Its high saturated fat allows it to be one of the best options for stability at high temperatures. Even better, it offers mostly a different kind of saturated fat than most oils (Most saturated fats are known to be bad for you). Instead of the traditional longer chained triglycerides that are traditionally found in many saturated fats, coconut oil provides medium chained triglycerides. In essence, it's going to boost your cholesterol by providing you good cholesterol or HDL.
- While fairly easy to find, the price may be on the higher end.
- Extremely stable and long-lasting
- Smoke point is around 450°F / 232°C (best on this list)
- Some coconut oil brands offer slightly different tastes. You may need to try a few out before you find one you truly enjoy.
As mentioned before, Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, which is typically a huge no-no in the health world. However, many people the saturated fats in coconut oil differ from most oils. That being said, there's a huge split in the health industry regarding whether coconut is truly healthy or not. We'll simply leave it at that, as we're not professionals in the matter.
Nutritional Value of Coconut Oil
Tip when Buying Oil-Read your labels
Reading your labels may be one of the single most important things when buying your oil. Many different compound makeups can make up any given oil. Stability, smoke point, flavor, and more can all have a large array based on how refined the oil is. When it comes to "extra-virgin" you should probably stay away. For example, extra-virgin olive oil provides a great taste when cooking. However, it can sustain high heat for long making it a poor choice for deep frying specifically.
What about Other Oils
Just because a specific oil didn't make it into our list of best deep frying oils, doesn't mean it's not a suitable option. There are many great oils to choose from when deep frying. Additional popular ones include Avocado, sunflower, safflower, and more. The most important thing when choosing an oil is ensuring its smoke point is high enough to operate with your deep fryer.
What about Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable oil just missed our cut on this list. Because vegetable oil is derived from a number of plants and then mixed and compounded together, it can be very difficult to determine exactly what you're getting from brand to brand. However, vegetable oil should still offer a high enough smoke point to deep fry with. It's also extremely cheap, so it makes for a good option. Here's more about vegetable oil when deep frying.
Can you Mix Oils?
While it's not always the greatest idea to mix oils, it can be done if you're in a pinch. You can read our guide about when to mix oils while deep frying.
When does oil go bad?
Now that you've chosen what oil you'd like to use, you should most definitely pay attention to when your oil starts to go bad. You can do this by following the simple steps in our guide: How long does oil last.
Deep frying can be a magical thing, especially if you know how to pick the best oil that fits your deep frying needs. Make sure to check out smoke points, flavor, costs, and health benefits before making a decision. If you're looking for a cost-effective choice, we'd recommend the ever so popular vegetable oil. If you're looking for a well-rounded oil with a high smoke point, resisting taste transfer qualities, peanut oil is the way to go. Finally, safflower is our preferred choice when it comes to trying to pick the healthiest oil while remaining reasonably priced.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The best oil for frying food in our opinion is canola oil, peanut oil, and coconut oil. Canola oil is the cheapest, peanut oil is the best overall, and coconut oil provides the most stability.
Both sunflower oil and vegetable oil offer their own benefits and drawbacks. Whether one is better than the other depends on your specific desires from your deep frying oil. We'd be okay with using both.
The best oil for cooking at high temperatures is coconut oil in our opinion. It's not only an extremely stable oil at high temperatures but its smoke point is 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, you can substitute sunflower oil for olive oil. The most important thing when choosing oil is its smoke point. Sunflower oil has a high smoke point so it's okay to substitute in for frying or deep frying.
Yes, you can use shortening in a deep fryer. In fact, in many parts of the United States, shortening is a very popular method of deep frying.
Deep frying can be a choice with healthy benefits. While it can not be completely healthy compared to cooking methods without oil, there are many health benefits of consuming a small amount of oil.
Deep frying can be a magical thing, especially if you know how to pick the best oil that fits your deep frying needs. Make sure to check out smoke points, flavor, costs, and health benefits before making a decision. If you're looking for a cost effective choice, we'd recommend the ever so popular vegetable oil. If you're looking for a well-rounded oil with a high smoke point, resisting taste transfer qualities, peanut oil is the way to go. Finally, safflower is our preferred choice when it comes to trying to pick the healthiest oil while remaining reasonably priced.