The most important decision to make before you deep fry is which oil to use. For everyday use, we recommend using the most popular choice – vegetable oil. However, there is no shortage of options.
Before you start choosing an oil, have you chosen the right deep fryer? Countertop deep fryers are a great place to start – as they are easy to add to any commercial kitchen.
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.
If this is your first time deep frying, we recommend you start with old faithful – vegetable oil. You may wonder, what exactly is it? Vegetable oil is typically a mix of different plant-derived oils that are blended to create an affordable, neutral oil.
While you won’t want to use it as a salad dressing or dip for bread, vegetable oil is an excellent choice for frying. It starts with a high smoke point, which makes it easy to use in any kitchen. The high smoke point, combined with a neutral flavor and low price, make it the go-to oil for deep frying.
If vegetable oil is option #1 for deep frying, then canola oil would be option #1A. Similar to vegetable oil, canola oil has a very high smoke point, neutral flavor, and is more cost-effective than other oils.
Canola oil also has the added benefit of being low in saturated fat, which makes it a healthier option for making typically unhealthy fried foods!
The first thing to consider when using peanut oil is that some peanut oil can be an allergen. Highly-refined peanut oil is considered safe for most people with a peanut allergy. However – cold-pressed, expelled, and extruded forms of peanut oil are dangerous for those with a peanut allergy. If someone in your family has a peanut allergy or you are cooking for a large group, it’s safer to avoid peanut oil.
If allergies aren’t a concern, then peanut oil’s high smoke point and low saturated fats make it an attractive option for frying. Just consider that it does not have a neutral flavor, and it costs more than vegetable or canola oil, so it isn’t the best first choice for everyday frying.
While cooking using an oil with a low smoke point is possible under the right circumstances, we don’t recommend it, especially in a foodservice kitchen where foods are being cooked in larger quantities.
For this reason, we recommend that you avoid low smoke point oils like olive oil, soybean oil, and corn oil for deep frying.
No matter which oil you choose, one of the most important aspects of maximizing the life of your oil is to properly observe your fryer’s recovery time. Any time that you place food in your fryer, the temperature of the oil will immediately drop. If the food is simply refrigerated, the drop may not be as bad, but adding frozen food can make a significant impact on the oil temperature.
Lower temperatures mean more time needed to fry food to the desired temperature and consistency. More oil gets absorbed by the food, making it greasier and less appealing to the customer. That means having to refill your oil more often to make up for the oil lost from absorption.
Recovery time for fryers is the time it takes for the oil in the fryer pot to return to normal temperature after adding or removing food from the oil. Observing this recovery time will save both oil and energy, since the fryer will not have to work as hard to cook the food. A simple way to determine your fryer’s recovery time is to measure the oil temperature after you add cold food to it or remove hot cooked food from it, and time how long it takes for the temperature to return to the normal range.
Knowing your fryer’s recovery time will help you know the optimum time between frying and will help you maximize your oil’s life while keeping your food crispy and appetizing for your customers. Some deep fryers are designed to ensure faster recovery times.
There isn’t one correct answer to which oil you should use for deep frying. Every situation and recipe could call for a different option. Here is a handy chart that should help you select the right oil for you.
|Neutral Flavor?||Smoke Point||Unit Price (per fl oz)|
|Vegetable Oil||Yes||400-450°F||.06 – .09|
|Canola Oil||Yes||400°F||.07 – .09|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil||No||325-375°F||.25 – .39|
|Peanut Oil||Yes||450°F||.15 – .21|
|Sesame Oil||No||350-410°F||.62 – .70|
|Avocado Oil||No||375-400°F||.33 – .35|
|Grapeseed Oil||Yes||390°F||.31 – .37|
|Coconut Oil||No||350°F||.33 – .41|
There isn’t one correct answer to which oil you should use for deep frying. Every situation and recipe could call for a different option. This handy guide should help you select the right oil for what you’re preparing.
Different foods cook better in different types of oil. While it isn’t always necessary to use a specific kind of oil, here are some frequently asked questions about food-pairing in a commercial deep fryer.
- What is the best oil for deep frying chicken? Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil
- What is the best oil for deep frying a turkey? Peanut Oil
- What is the best oil for deep frying french fries? Peanut Oil or Canola Oil
- What is the best oil for deep frying fish? Canola Oil
- What is the best oil for deep frying doughnuts? Peanut Oil or Vegetable Oil
- What is the best oil for deep frying vegetables? Vegetable Oil or Peanut Oil
- What is the best oil for deep frying egg rolls? Peanut Oil or Canola Oil
No matter which oil you choose, make sure you are following the right safety procedures for deep frying and hall all the correct fryer equipment and accessories to make the process safe and easy.
If you’re looking to try deep frying in your restaurant kitchen, we have a full selection of commercial deep fryers to choose from!