When we look for the best deep frying oil the factors to be considered are
- The smoking point of the oil (the temperature at while the oil starts breaking down)
- The “healthiness” of the oil (how heart healthy the oil is)
- The flavor of the oil (or lack of it, as the case may be)
It’s difficult to pin point one oil as the best because there are so many different oils each offering certain benefits in its own right. So in this article we will list a few oils that are good for frying, and deep frying, and, from them, you can choose the best oil for your frying purposes that match your requirements.
Note – All the oils discussed here are “refined” oils; it’s not advisable to use unrefined oils for deep frying as they tend to break down more quickly and become rancid.
List of Healthy Frying Oils
1.) Olive Oil – Most doctors recommend olive oil for people who have a low good cholesterol (HDL) count. This oil contains monounsaturated fats that promote good health by aiding in the production of HDL. Olive oil is considered to be a heart healthy oil, as it does not promote bad cholesterol formation and contains several anti-oxidants that help fight inflammation.
Virgin olive oils have a smoking point of 420F which is sufficient for most frying applications. Above this temperature the oil will start to break down. This oil has a strong flavor which is an advantage while cooking savory cuisines.
2.) Peanut Oil – The advantage of this oil is that it has a bland flavor and it does not impart its flavor to the food being fried. It has a high smoking point, around 450F, and is useful for most deep frying applications, in fact, many cooking experts recommend peanut oil for deep frying applications. Just be careful to ensure that no one, who would be eating foods made from this oil, has any peanut allergy, or it can quite harmful to them.
3.) Coconut Oil – There’s a lot of baseless propaganda around defaming this oil simply because it’s rich in saturated fats. But concrete studies have revealed the coconut oil contains a particular type of saturated fat which has very stable chain structure which does not break down even at very high temperature (twice the temperature of olive oil) and contains fats which are healthy, and essential, for the body. In certain parts of India, coconut oil is consumed in large quantities, and people have experience immense health benefits from this oil.
You should include coconut oil in your cooking for the flavor and health benefits it can provide. It’s also the best oil for deep frying because of its high break down point. Contrary to some unfounded claims, coconuts oil is easily a healthy frying oil that can be used without any concern.
4.) Safflower Oil – This oil is quite popular in most household and is made from safflower seeds. It has a smoking point of 450F so it’s ideal for most deep frying application. It’s rich in polyunsaturated fats and is a good source of Omega6. It’s has a strong flavor, which can be an advantage for most cuisines.
5.) Other Oils – There are several other oils which are commonly used in households, such as – Canola oil, Soybean oil, Corn oil and Sunflower oil. These oils have their relative benefits, but there have been some claims that deep frying might break down their monounsaturated fat chains (creating free radicals) and render them susceptible to oxidation. There is no real corroboration to these claims, so one cannot label any of these oils as bad in any way. Most people, who have tried canola oil, have claimed to reap benefits from it, in that it helped them with their cholesterol levels.
What is the Healthiest Deep Frying Oil?
If you are looking for a the best deep frying oil, your best bet would be olive oil. For deep frying applications, at very high temperatures, you can go in for peanut oil or coconut oil, as olive oil might tend to break down (creating free radicals). In truth, there is no “standard” best oil for deep frying, or frying, per se and it’s best to use different oils on daily basis to reap benefits from each. It’s recommended by most doctors that one should use different healthy oils for cooking, instead of just focusing on one oil, for example, you can use a olive oil for a dish, peanut oil for another dish and safflower oil for the salad. This healthy mix of oils will enable you to get the benefits of each while not accumulating any drawbacks that they may have.