How to counteract too much oil in food? (+5 ways)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much oil in food?”.

Those who cook themselves can agree on the fact that there are days when you ruin your recipe by adding too much oil or spices to your dish. Excess oil can not only spoil your dish but can also be a cause of concern for your health. Read on to know different ways that will help you counteract too much oil in different recipes. 

How to counteract too much oil in food?

Most food flavors are lipophilic, and oils play a more significant role in their release than any other emulsion ingredient. Oils can act as flavor precursors, as solvents for flavor compounds, and as flavor release modulators. Change in oil property or oil content can lead to a significantly modified flavor release profile. The lack of oil as well as the excess of oil causes important changes in the food flavor (1).

If you have accidentally added too much oil to food and are desperately searching for ways to counteract it, do not worry, here we have prepared a long list of approaches to help you counteract too much oil in food, and to make it suitable to serve.

  • Physically remove the excess
  • Try an absorbent paper 
  • Add some roasted gram flour
  • Place a large ice cube
  • Refrigerate the dish
  • Add a piece of bread 

Physically remove the excess

Just when you realize you have added a lot of oil to your dish, possibly the most reasonable solution is to remove that from the dish. This can be done towards the end of the cooking process when the oil often accumulates at the surface of the dish.

You can use a slotted spoon to smoothly remove the excess oil in steps. You can then waste the removed oil or save it for later use.

Similarly, if you have added too much oil while making sauce, you can counteract it by refrigerating for one hour. Skim off the topmost layer, afterwards. Boil the sauce and let it cool and excess oil will come to the surface. You can easily remove it with a spoon and your sauce is ready to serve. 

Try an absorbent paper or serviette

If you have added too much oil while making soup or the combination of butter and oil has resulted in excess fat content in the soup, you can remove it by using absorbent paper or serviette. 

Simply wrap it to form a spoon mold and then pat on lightly warm soup with excess oil accumulated on the surface. This will help to absorb the excess oil and then you can enjoy your soup.

Density of neat vegetable oil varied between 904.3 and 919.7 kg/m3. That means, it is less dense than water and other food components, such as vegetables and meat and will always rise into the surface, when it is not emulsified or binded (2).

Similarly, to remove residual oil from fried food, you should use a kitchen towel or absorbent paper. Make sure to fry the food at the right temperature as it helps to avoid extra oil being absorbed by the food. Furthermore, it is best to use a slotted spoon for frying and removing food from the frying pan. 

Add some roasted gram flour

If you have added too much oil to your dry vegetable recipe, just add some quantity of roasted gram flour, based on the number of vegetables. Stir and heat the dry vegetables for four to seven minutes. The roasted gram flour will absorb the extra oil and also improve the flavor of the recipe. 

Similar to other pulses, chickpea contains saponins, soluble carbohydrates and fibers, which exhibit oil binding capacity. Studies show that water soluble polysaccharides from beans, chickpeas, yellow peas and lentils can absorb oil to some extent and legume proteins were shown to bind oil through their hydrophobic sites. Both soluble and insoluble fiber were shown to absorb oil as well (3). 

Place a large ice cube

If you have added too much oil to curry, you can save your dish by placing a large ice cube in it. The extra oil will get stuck underneath the ice and then the layer of oil can be easily extracted and isolated from the gravy. 

Oils are liquid at room temperature and solidify in refrigerated temperatures, due to their high amount in unsaturated fatty acids. Unlike pure compounds, natural vegetable oils do not have true melting points. This is because they are made up of complex mixtures of compounds (triglycerides) that pass through a gradual softening before becoming completely liquid. Differences in melting characteristics is due to the type of triglyceride in the oil samples. For example, grapeseed oil starts to melt at about −48 °C while the onset of melting for olive oil occurs at a temperature of about -11°C. However, most cooking oils will start to solidify when placed in the refrigerator (4).

Refrigerate the dish

Another way to remove excess oil from curries is by letting them cool down. Keep the dish in the refrigerator for a few hours. The oil will rise to the surface and solidify, for reasons mentioned above. You can then remove the excess oil using a spoon or ladle before reheating and serving your dish.

This method is only suitable if you have time or have cooked the recipe in advance, only then you can cool the entire dish down in the refrigerator for quite some time

Add a piece of bread 

Another common approach to removing excess oil from a dish is to use a piece of bread. To do this, place a piece of bread on the top of the dish very casually. The bread will soak up the excess oil from the surface. Using tongs, you can then discard the piece of bread. Some people also use this same technique but with a paper towel in place of bread.

Wheat flour has a great capacity for absorbing oil, higher than other types of flour. The increase in oil absorption may also be attributed to the presence of more hydrophobic proteins which shows superior binding of lipids. The mechanism of fat or oil absorption is attributed mainly to The higher oil absorption capacity suggests the lipophilic nature of flour constituents (5).

We hope these approaches will work for you and you will not have to discard your dish. Still, if nothing helps, do not be worried. Learn from your mistakes and try again.


In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much oil in food?”. We have further discussed different ways that will help you counteract too much oil in different recipes. 


  1. Mao, Like, et al. Food emulsions as delivery systems for flavor compounds: A review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2017, 57, 3173-3187.
  2. Awogbemi, Omojola, Emmanuel Idoko Onuh, and Freddie L. Inambao. Comparative study of properties and fatty acid composition of some neat vegetable oils and waste cooking oils. Int J Low-Carb Technol, 2019, 14, 417-425.  
  3. Damian, J.J., Huo, S. & Serventi, L. Phytochemical content and emulsifying ability of pulses cooking water. Eur Food Res Technol 244, 1647–1655 (2018). 
  4. Fasina, O. O., et al. Predicting melting characteristics of vegetable oils from fatty acid composition. LWT-Food Sci Technol, 2008, 41, 1501-1505.
  5. Menon, L., Majumdar, S.D. & Ravi, U. Development and analysis of composite flour bread. J Food Sci Technol 52, 2015, 4156–4165. 

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