Your Burning Questions

What's the Best Oil for Frying?

By • October 12, 2013 • 55 Comments

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: We bring you a heated debate on the best frying oil.

How to Choose the Best Frying Oil, from Food52

Frying is a delicate task. When you finally find the courage to plunge your food into hot oil, you only get one shot, and have to watch it like a hawk. We want to equip ourselves with the best frying medium to ensure food comes out as delicately crunchy and not as blackened crisps. That being said -- there is a significant amount of debate over which frying oil is the best: grapeseed, peanut, or canola. And what about the usual suspects of good ol' olive oil or butter?

The main characteristic an oil must possess to achieve a successful fry is a high smoke point -- bear in mind the more you use a frying oil the lower the smoking point becomes. We've talked about deep frying without fear, and conducted an pretty exhaustive review of oils, but one night this week fhb was in a bind and needed help choosing the best oil to fry cutlets.

The community responded in a grease-filled oil-off:

  • Common consensus landed on peanut oil due to its neutral taste and high smoking point.
  • Pierino voted for grapeseed and canola -- not without a challenge by ChefOno, who noted that grapeseed oil possesses potentially unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids, and that canola oil stinks like an old fish when heated (Ew!).
  • Kristen W. threw a curveball and suggested rice bran oil.
  • For those of you still overwhelmed by the oil debate, Greenstuff contributed a helpful oil comparison chart with more oils than you ever knew existed. 

What is your preferred frying oil? Tell us in the comments! 

In case you were wondering, fhb reported back, and peanut oil was the clear winner (even after testing against butter).

Photo by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (55)

Topics: Hanukkah

Comments (55)

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3 days ago Jose Luis Moreno

I have been using virgin coconut oil for frying for the last few years with amazing results. This oil never gets dark or smelly and offers a clean frying experience time after time. For me it's by far the best possible oil when cooking with temperature. I found out about it at www.aceitedecoco.org

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6 days ago uni

I have never stopped using pure organic butter. Lo and behold! Butter has been redeemed. I agree with a previous commentor that one should never use extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Heat destroys its fragrance and it's way too viscous. I find it puzzling when celebrity chefs who should know better use extra virgin for sautéing. I do take issue with a comment that peanut oil is neutral in flavor. It has plenty of fragrance and I can always tell when it has been used. I don't often deep fry but when I do, peanut oil it my go-to choice.

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10 days ago Robert

Depends on the food you are frying. Deep fat frying I prefer Peanut Oil that has a relatively high smoke point. Sauteing foods, I have used Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil. Since I have learned all the health concerns on Canola Oil (Rapeseed) I have thrown out all I had.

Me

11 days ago NicoleandMills

Sunflower Oil, all the way. It's one of the healthiest high heat oils and imparts the least amount of flavor, making it super versatile. I personally fry in my cast iron skillet and have friends who are peanut sensitive so peanut oil is out, I have used canola which made my house smell like old fish, and coconut is such a particular flavor it doesn't go with everything. Sunflower oil is really the best I've used.

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about 1 month ago Lilliana

How about Avacado oil? Heart healthy.

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3 months ago Becky Bearden

Old school, Crisco baby!! ;-)

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3 months ago Victo

Butter for eggs, organic lard or coconut oil for frying or sauteeing. Seed oils have too much Omega 6 that oxidizes in the body.

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3 months ago Evelyn Johnson

Ghee and Olive Oil for sautéing. Lard and Safflower Oil for frying. Lard for biscuits and piecrusts. Butter for pancakes and toast etc.

Stringio

3 months ago jb

Red Palm Oil or homemade lard

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8 months ago Nancy

I like coconut oil as it is the healthiest I believe and also has a high burn temp.Nancy

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8 months ago Nancy

I use butter for eggs.Nancy

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8 months ago Faver

I do not choose to receive further comments on this subject.

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8 months ago Kathleen French

Nothing beats peanut oil. truly the only thing I deep fry anymore is the ocassional chicken my french fries never turned out so I stopped trying. I use peanut oil for stir frying too

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8 months ago Augustina Ragwitz

I don't deep fry very often, but when I do it's with home rendered lard or beef tallow. I am able to get the raw fat from the Farmers' Market and then I render it myself using the "warm" setting on my slow cooker. Tallow is amazing to fry with and you can store the used oil at room temperature. If you've never tried french fries in beef tallow (the way McDonald's USED to make them) you haven't really tasted french fries. I do sometimes use lard, but I usually only have high quality leaf lard (the original shortening) which I'd rather save for baking. Alternatively, you can render fat from pork belly for deep frying and that's pretty nice too. I don't like coconut oil because it imparts too much coconut flavor to the final product. I also avoid anything but saturated fats for deep frying. Traditionally we've used saturated fats for deep frying and they are much more stable at high temperatures than monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

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8 months ago MissBrendaWi

Personally, I prefer a good 10W30 oil. Most times 3 quarts will do, when cooking

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9 months ago Jill

I only had about 12 oz of High-Heat Safflower oil. I added about 48 oz of Organic Coconut oil to fry up a bunch of sopapillas for my son's Arizona State Fair project. They came out great. I would highly recommend using this healthy substitute for frying (if you're going to fry). I also use coconut oil in brownies, sauteing veggies, and on my skin as a moisturizer. It rocks.

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9 months ago Bruce

Thanks for the chart. This is very helpful.

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10 months ago katline

Katline
Helpful tip! If you're looking for a good deep fryer for your kitchen this year, Amazon is the place to go. Got this %45 discount: http://amzn.to/1fo1y1V - I'm so excited that I just had to share with someone.

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12 months ago Faver

I like clarified butter for frying eggs and the such. High smoke point and not so bad for you. It can be mixed with any quality oil to extend it. And it tastes good!

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about 1 year ago jerry

the questions are complicated and the answers is simple.” maybe