So you’ve got a home deep fryer and you’re raring to go, but then it hits you – what kind of oil are you supposed to put in? You’ve got some canola oil, there’s also the olive oil…what do you choose?
We’re going to run down both some tips and information about this important topic and we’ll also give you our picks for the best deep fryer oil.
Why does oil matter?
The type of oil you choose for your fryer is important both because of taste and safety concerns. In regards to taste, some oils are simply better at cooking certain foods. As such, if you are going to be really clever, you could get different types of oils for different meals. At the same time, if you just want a ‘plain’ oil that’ll do well with just about anything, you’ll want to know which one is best.
On the safety side, you have to know that oil has what we call a ‘smoke point‘. This is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down, creating smoke and degrading both taste and nutritional elements.
Since deep frying is best done between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, you want to make sure you get a good oil that has a smoke point higher than 400 degrees (to be on the safe side). This rules out most olive oils (which is fine, because it doesn’t taste great in this application) and a lot of other unrefined versions of oils we’ll recommend later.
The Best Oil
You will find impassioned debaters on all sides of this argument, but if you were to take the oil with the seemingly largest consensus, you’d come away with peanut oil.
Peanut oil has a smoke point of about 450 degrees F, so it gives plenty of room for heat. It also has a fairly neutral taste (no, it won’t make your food taste like peanuts).
Some prominent food chains such as Chick-Fil-A use refined peanut oil exclusively for all of their frying needs – and you know they fry a ton of food.
Two options if you’re looking to get specific can be found for the best price on Amazon:
Hain Peanut Oil
This one is the best rated peanut oil on Amazon. Getting a 3 pack of Hain Pure Foods Peanut Oil gives you 2.84 Liters, which is over 1 Liter less than you get with the Snappy Oil above. The price is quite a bit higher, too, but the 4.8 out of 5 star rating from 26 people is amazing.
You can also get away with a good grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, high Oleic canola oil, or avocado oil. In fact, there are a number of oils you can use. It will depend on your preferences, your budget, and the smoke point. The oils mentioned just now are all high-smoke point items.
Reusing your oil
Ever not want to deep fry because you can’t justify using $10 worth of oil for one meal? It can certainly seem expensive and wasteful.
However, you can reuse your oil multiple times (depending on how you’re using it). There’s no right answer as to how many times you can use it, so you’ll have to pay attention and make a judgment call when the time is right to change it. Typically if it starts smoking at lower temperatures, is sort of dark and grungy, or if it has sort of bubbly foam along the top of it, it’s time to get rid of it.
Just remember that if you’re reusing it and storing it, keep it in a very secure container where it won’t be ruined by humidity, light, or heat. That means finding a fairly neutral place to store it, like the back of the pantry, for example. Don’t put it in direct sunlight or near the stove, or you’ll risk ruining it before you’ve even had a chance to use it again.We recommend checking out Amazon.com for more prices, reviews, and deals if you’re ready to take the plunge and pick up some oil for your deep fryer.
You may also find this article helpful if you’re interested in a good layman’s terms science explanation of frying oil, and check out the smoke point chart on Wikipedia here.