Best Oils for Deep Frying

Deep frying is one of the most common cooking methods where you heat enough oil in a pan so your food is submerged in it. The top layer of the food gets cooked almost as soon as you add it to the frying pan, while the hot oil heats up the moisture within the food. Once this moisture evaporates, it pushes the oil out and does not let it penetrate the food deeper than the top layer. After a few minutes of this, you have a delicious batch of chicken wings or French fries.

Though it is not one of the healthiest methods of preparing your food, doing it right keeps it healthy enough to indulge in an occasional spring roll or a serving of chips on a weekend without hampering your diet. Whether frying meats like chicken, fish, and shrimp or experimenting with veggies to make them more appealing, choosing the right medium goes a long way in preparing a delicious and healthy meal.

Best Oils for Deep Frying

What Makes an Oil Good for Deep Frying

Though deep frying is assumably nothing more than putting raw food into a panful of hot oil, there are a few things to remember so you don’t mess it up. It is vital to always make sure that the oil is properly heated (typically over 300 °F), or the moisture inside the food won’t heat up fast enough to stop the oil from getting absorbed by the food.

  1. High Smoke Point: The first and most obvious consideration is the oil’s smoke point, as those with lower smoke points can’t handle such high temperatures. They break down and undergo ‘thermal degradation,’ which involves chemical changes that happen when oil is heated past its smoke point. It creates harmful compounds that you wouldn’t want in your food. Oils with smoke points around or above 400 °F are ideal as they stay stable enough even at high temperatures.
  2. High Unsaturated Fat Content: Not all fats are equally bad for you, so the type of fats in an oil is key to making some oils healthier. Saturated fats break down easily when exposed to high heat, while unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) are much more resistant due to their complex chemical structure.
  3. Neutral Flavor: Oils with mild to neutral flavors are often preferable as they don’t unduly affect the food’s flavors. That being said, most of the oils best-suited for deep frying are refined oils, and the refinement process usually removes almost all taste and flavor from oils, leaving them with a neutral flavor profile.
  4. Price: Though it’s not the first thing to come to mind, it is something to consider. At the end of the day, deep frying requires a lot of oil because the food needs to be fully immersed for even cooking. Think how much oil you will need to deep-fry a whole turkey!

List of the Best Types of Oils to Use When Deep Frying

NameSmoke PointSFA* (%)MUFA** (%)PUFA# (%)Approx. Price/12 fl. oz.
Canola Oil437 °F (225 °C)8%64%28%$2 – $5
Soybean Oil464 °F (240 °C)15%24%58%$4 – $6
Sunflower Oil412 °F (211 °C)11%20%69%$3 – $6
Peanut Oil448 °F (231 °C)17%46%32%$2 – $6
Refined Olive Oil437 °F (225 °C)16%70%14%$6 – $8
Corn Oil455 °F (235 °C)13%24%59%$2 – $4
Safflower Oil468 °F (242 °C)6%75%14%$6 – $9
Grapeseed Oil399 °F (204 °C)10%15%75%$4 – $10
Sesame Oil410 °F (210 °C)14%38%44%$6 – $12
Avocado Oil520 °F (271 °C)16%71%13%$7 – $12
*Saturated Fatty Acid 
**Monounsaturated Fatty Acid
#Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid

The inclusion of olive oil in the list may seem surprising, but refined olive oil has a much higher smoke point than virgin and extra virgin olive oil. Neither of the latter varieties should be used for deep frying.

Using Blended Vegetable Oils as a Deep Frying Oil

As the name suggests, blended vegetable oils, often labeled simply as ‘vegetable oil,’ are a versatile combination of plant-derived oils with high smoke points. It typically contains plant-derived high-smoke-point oils like soybean, sunflower, peanut, canola, and corn. In addition to being excellent for deep frying,  blended vegetable oils are cost-effective and high in unsaturated fats.

Other Cooking Fats for Deep Frying

Animal fats like lard, tallow, and ghee are also good for deep frying. However, they have higher levels of saturated fats, up to 40-50%, which brings down their unsaturated fat content to 50-60%. So, plant-derived and vegetable oils are often considered healthier and recommended by experts.


Can you use cold-pressed oil for deep frying?

Cold-pressed oils are not designed to withstand high temperatures, so they are not appropriate for deep-frying. They typically have lower smoke points and are used for low-heat cooking or as salad oils.

Can you reuse the oil after deep frying?

Reusing the oil after deep frying is okay as long as you store it well. USDA recommends straining the oil and then refrigerating it in a sealed container. Straining the oil before using it again helps remove residues that might affect the oil’s smoke point and make it break down when heated.

How long can you store deep-frying oil?

When stored properly after each use, you can reuse the oil for up to 7-8 times. Still, watch out for changes like discoloration, foaming, a strange smell, or an off taste, and get rid of the oil if you spot any of these.
Don’t pour used oil down the drain, as it can clog the pipes. Put the oil in a sealable and disposable container and throw the whole thing in the trash. You can also look for recycling options in your locality.