Can you use canola oil in a deep fryer?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you use canola oil in a deep fryer?”, and how does deep-frying work?

Can you use canola oil in a deep fryer?

Yes, you can use canola oil in a deep fryer. Canola oil or rapeseed oil is inexpensive, readily available, and has a neutral taste. The average smoke point of most types of canola oil is around 400℉ which is pretty high. 

The higher the smoke point of an oil, the more it is resistant to oxidative damage at a high temperature. Most of the foods deep fry at temperatures between 350 to 375℉

Deep frying involves the caramelization of the starches and sugars present in the food. Caramelization turns the food golden or brown and high temperatures make them crispy. 

How does deep-frying work?

Deep frying involves submerging the food in oil and heating it at 350–375°F (176–190°C). When food is exposed to such high temperatures, it forms an outer crust that is impermeable to oil. 

Meanwhile, steam forms in the core of the food that eventually cooks the food from the inside. The accuracy of the deep-frying temperature is very important. 

The food will turn out soggy and greasy if the temperature is too low. If the temperature is too high, the food will turn out dry and the oil will oxidize.

The stability of cooking oils is key

A stable oil that does not undergo oxidation easily and that has a high smoke point is the perfect choice for deep frying. 

Oils with a high concentration of saturated and monounsaturated fats tend to be more stable than others. 

Oils that have a high polyunsaturated content are unstable due to the presence of double or triple bonds. 

When exposed to a high temperature, such oils bond quickly with oxygen due to gain stability. Last but not the least, always opt for neutral flavor oils for deep frying.

Coconut oil is a healthy choice

According to studies, coconut oil can withstand 8 hours of continuous deep frying at 365°F (180°C) without forming harmful compounds. 

This remarkable tolerance to high heat is ascribed to the high(more than 90%) saturated content of coconut oil.

The research on the benefits and disadvantages of saturated fats is underway. As per the American Heart Association guidelines, saturated fats should only comprise 5-6% of the total calories of a healthy individual.

Lard, tallow, ghee, and drippings

Animal fats such as lard, tallow, ghee, and drippings can withstand high temperatures and add a lot of flavor and texture to the deep-fried food. Saturated fats comprise a major portion of the saturated fatty acid content of animal fats.

The fatty acid content of each type of animal is unique and depends upon the diet of the animal. Grain-fed animals may have a higher polyunsaturated fat content than grass-fed or pasture-raised animals.

Unlike most animal fats, butter is undesirable for deep frying due to the presence of minute quantities of protein and carbs that tend to burn at a high temperature. Clarified butter and ghee have a better heat tolerance than butter.

Other good choices

Olive oil

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils due to its high monounsaturated fats and its ability to withstand high temperatures for prolonged periods without oxidizing. 

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is a bit expensive but it is a good choice for deep frying due to its high smoke point of 520°F (270°C). Just like olive oil, avocado oil contains a major portion of monounsaturated fats with a small ratio of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. 

Peanut oil

The smoke point of peanut oil or groundnut oil is 446°F (230°C). Such a high smoke point coupled with the neutral taste of peanut oil makes it the perfect choice for deep frying.

However, peanut oil is more prone to oxidative damage at a high temperature due to the presence of 32% polyunsaturated fats.

Palm oil 

Unrefined version of the palm oil, known as red palm oil, is considered best for deep frying due to its neutral taste and oxidative stability. But there are debates about the cultivation and sustainability of palm oil.

Unsuitable options 

Vegetable oils with a high polyunsaturated fatty acid content are unsuitable for deep frying. These oils include soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil or rapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, etc. The smoke points of some of the unsuitable deep-frying oils are given in the table below.

Type of oil Smoke point
Extra virgin olive oil 375℉
Unrefined coconut oil 350℉
Vegetable shortening 360℉
Lard 370℉
Butter 250℉

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you use canola oil in a deep fryer?”, and how does deep-frying work?

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-oil-for-deep-frying#deep-frying-adds-calories
https://www.pitco.com/blog/3-popular-types-of-oil-used-in-commercial-deep-fryers
https://www.thespruceeats.com/deep-fried-cooking-techniques-4062257

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.