Deep frying is not the healthiest method of cooking, but learning to deep fry at home is a great way to fix an occasional treat for your family. To deep fry properly, you need a deep pot with a heavy bottom, or a deep fryer, and an oil with a high smoke point.
If you want to make your frying experience healthier, check out our Power Airfryer XL Review.
Smoke Point Of Cooking Oils
The smoke point of oil is the temperature at which it stops cooking and starts to burn. There are several types of oils available on your grocery store shelf, and each of them probably have a slightly different smoke point.
Smoked oil has a dark, tarry taste and can create a great deal of smoke in your house before it ignites.
According to Jon Barron, oils high in omega-3 fatty acids are better for your heart, but poor choices for deep frying. Oils high in omega-6 fatty acids will produce a better french fry but be harder on your circulatory system.
As possible, use oils high in omega-3 fatty acids for non-heat related applications, such as salad dressings. Save oils with a high temperature tolerance for frying.
Types Of Cooking Oils
Corn Oil - Best Oil For Frying French Fries
Corn oil is available both in a refined and unrefined state. Is corn oil good for deep frying?
- Refined corn oil can be used at high heats.
- Unrefined corn oil has a smoke point similar to extra virgin olive oil and is not a good choice for deep frying because it will burn when exposed to high heat for a long period of time.
Refined corn oil will be labeled as such. This is an ideal oil for deep frying because it has a light flavor and won't impact the taste or smell of your fried foods.
This is great for french fries. However, if you are frying different things such as fish before french fries, your fries may take on a fishy taste.
Canola Oil - Best Oil For Frying Chicken
Refined canola oil, a popular oil with home fryers, has a higher smoke point than lard but has a lower heat tolerance than refined corn oil.
It should be noted that 80% of the canola oil in the United States is made from GMO rapeseed plants. It is possible to purchase non-GMO canola oil from some health food stores and bulk suppliers.
When deep frying with canola oil, be aware that this oil can't be stored; it's a once and done product.
While canola oil can't take as much heat as peanut oil can, it may be the best oil for frying chicken because you need to leave the food in the oil for a while to get it to crisp. Chicken should always be well done!
Olive Oil - Not Ideal For Deep Frying
Olive oil comes in several grades, depending on the amount of fruit solids left in the olive. The higher the purity of your olive oil, the higher the density of solids and the lower the smoke point.
If you like olive oil, there's nothing sadder than the taste and smell of burned oil.
SEE ALSO: Does Olive Oil Go Bad?
Extra virgin olive oil is great for salad dressings, bread dipping and other cool applications, but is not a great oil for cooking and never to be used for deep frying.
Virgin olive oil has a higher smoke point than canola oil and is easy to cook with, but may not be the best flavor choice for deep frying.
If you want to deep fry and have only virgin olive oil in the house, be aware that your food may require more intense seasoning than usual to match the flavor imparted by the olive oil.
Coconut Oil - Healthiest Oil For Deep Frying
Per dietician Joe Leech coconut oil is the healthiest oil for deep frying. On the plus side, deep frying with coconut oil gives you a very consistent heat source with a high saturated fat content.
This oil is inherently antibacterial and because it is solid at room temperature, you may be able to re-use it.
SEE ALSO: Can Coconut Oil Go Bad?
However, coconut oil can produce a coconut odor or taste in the foods you're frying, so it may not be the best oil for deep frying french fries.
It may be best to start with a small container of oil and a small batch of whatever you're frying to make sure the coconut flavor and odor don't overpower the food.
Peanut Oil - High Smoke Point
Peanut oil is an ideal oil for deep frying because of the neutral flavor and the extremely high smoke point. In fact, peanut oil is considered the best oil for doughnuts per authorities at ThermoWorks.
The high smoke point of peanut oil quickly and effectively seals whatever it is you're frying so the air and steam inside the food can cook it from the inside while the oil seals it on the outside.
Peanut oil is generally easy to buy in bulk and is very popular in home turkey fryers. If you find a great deal on it and purchase a large container, store the remaining oil in a cool, dark place and be sure to keep it in an airtight container.
You can re-use peanut oil, but be aware that once it's been used, it will tend to oxidize quickly and may turn rancid before you can use it again. Store unused peanut oil as described above.
Beef fat or beef tallow is a great product for deep frying for those who choose to eat meat. Like lard and coconut oil, beef tallow is naturally solid at room temperature. Capturing and refining tallow can be a bit tricky.
Additionally, there are concerns that factory farm beef cattle may be medicated and those medications can build up in the fatty tissue of the animal.
However, if you can find a source for organic beef and make friends with a butcher who can get you pure beef tallow, you can be assured of a high heat tolerance in your deep fryer. Per natural living authorities with RealFoodForager.com, beef tallow is high in vitamin D.
You may need to invest in several oils to make sure you've got the right cooking product for the right foods. Always monitor oil when it's over a heat source, don't save unstable oil from one project to another, and be sure to dispose of used oil safely.
If you're now a little skeptical about deep frying your food, check out our guide to the best air fryers for a healthier alternative to deep frying.