April 28, 2021 0

The healthiest oil for deep frying

Deep-fried foods play a role in many traditional cuisines and are a staple of the fast food industry. However, deep-fried foods can have negative effects on your health. This depends in part on how often you eat it, but also on the type of oil you use and how you use it. This article reviews the healthiest oils for frying.

How does deep frying work?

Deep frying involves cooking food by submerging it in hot oil. The ideal temperature is around 350-375°F (176-190°C). By submerging food in oil at this temperature, the surface of the food cooks almost instantly. As it cooks, it forms a kind of seal that the oil cannot penetrate. At the same time, the moisture inside the food turns into steam, cooking it from the inside. The steam also helps keep the oil away from the food.

However, you must have the right temperature:

Too low, and the oil will seep into the food, making it greasy.
Too high and it can dry out the food and oxidize the oil

Deep frying involves submerging food in hot oil. At the right temperature, it instantly cooks the surface and traps moisture inside the food.
The stability of cooking oils is key. Some oils can withstand higher temperatures than others.

A healthy cooking oil will:

  • have a high smoke point
  • Are stable, so they do not react with oxygen when heated.

Oils containing higher levels of saturated fats tend to be more stable when heated. Oils that are mostly saturated and monounsaturated are good for frying. However, cooking oils that contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats are less suitable for frying. This is because polyunsaturated fats contain two or more double bonds in their chemical structure. These double bonds can react with oxygen and form harmful compounds when exposed to high heat. Taste is also important. When deep frying, oils with a neutral flavor are usually preferred.

Oils consisting mainly of saturated and monounsaturated fats are best suited for deep frying as they are most stable at high temperatures.

Coconut oil is a healthy choice

Coconut oil can be a good choice. Studies have shown that even after 8 hours of continuous deep frying at 365°F (180°C), its quality is still acceptable. More than 90% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated, making it resistant to high temperatures. Experts disagree on the benefits and drawbacks of using saturated fats. Major organizations, such as the American Heart Association, recommend limiting saturated fat intake to 5-6% of total calories. However, various studies have shown that saturated fats do not increase the risk of heart disease. Coconut oil may have various other health benefits. One study suggests that it can help you lose belly fat.When choosing coconut oil, keep in mind that some varieties may leave a taste or smell that not everyone likes. It's best to try several brands until you find one that works for you.

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and does not seem to change in quality when deep fried. A number of possible health benefits may make coconut oil a good choice for frying.

Lard, tallow, animal fats

Animal fats such as lard, tallow, ghee, and fat capsules can be excellent choices for deep frying.

Benefits include:

  • The flavor and tenderness they add to foods
  • Their ability to resist damage from frying

Most fatty acids in animal fats are saturated and monounsaturated. This makes them resistant to high temperatures. However, the fatty acid content can vary depending on the animal's diet. Grain-fed animals may have more polyunsaturated fatty acids in their fat stores than pasture-raised or grass-fed animals. So the best choice comes from animals that have been allowed to roam and eat naturally.

You can:

buy ready-made lard or tallow from the store
save the droppings from the meat to use later

Butter is not suitable for deep frying. It contains small amounts of carbohydrates and protein, which burn when heated. Clarified, clarified butter is a better option.

Animal fats consist mainly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, which makes them suitable for cooking at high temperatures.

Other good choices

Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats. It is heat resistant because, like animal fats, it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. They have only one double bond, which makes them relatively stable. In one study, researchers used olive oil in a deep fryer for more than 24 hours before it became excessively oxidized. In theory, it's a great choice for deep frying. However, the taste and smell of olive oil can deteriorate after prolonged heating.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil has a similar composition to olive oil. It is mainly monounsaturated with some saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Refined avocado oil has a high smoke point of 270°C and a slightly nutty taste.

Peanut oil

Peanut oil, also known as peanut oil, has a high smoke point of about 230°C (446°F). It is popular for deep frying because of its neutral taste. However, it may not be as healthy as some other choices. It contains about 32% polyunsaturated fats. This is a relatively high amount that makes it susceptible to oxidative damage at high temperatures (12Trusted Source).

Palm oil

Palm oil consists mainly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, making it an excellent choice for deep frying. The taste can be neutral, especially if you use the unrefined variety known as red palm oil. However, some people have concerns about the sustainability of growing and harvesting palm oil.

Olive oil and avocado oil are good choices for deep frying. Peanut and palm oils are less suitable, for both health and environmental reasons.

Options that are not suitable
Some fats and oils are not suitable for deep frying.

These include vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as

  • soybean oil
  • corn oil
  • rapeseed oil (also called canola oil)
  • cottonseed oil
  • safflower oil
  • rice bran oil
  • canola oil
  • sunflower seed oil
  • sesame oil

Using these oils for deep frying can lead to high levels of oxidized fatty acids and harmful compounds (13).


Vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids are not suitable for deep frying. They are less heat resistant than oils and fats high in saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids. Deep frying adds calories. Even if you use a healthy oil, deep frying will add a lot of calories to your food, so it's best not to eat it too often.

The extra calories usually come from coatings, including batter and flour, plus the oil that sticks to the food after cooking.

For example:

  • Deep-fried chicken wing: 159 calories and 11 grams of fat
  • Baked chicken wing: 99 calories and 7 grams of fat

High consumption of deep-fried foods is associated with weight gain, especially in people with a family history of obesity (Source 16).

To minimize extra calories, make sure you cook your food

  • at the right temperature
  • for no longer than necessary

Deep-fried food does not have a reputation for being healthy. Eating too much of it, cooked in the wrong oils, can lead to health problems. However, in moderation, deep frying with the right oils can be a tasty treat. Click here for more information on which oils to use in your cooking.

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