How to Heat Cooking Oil on an Electric Stove
Gabriel Garcia/Demand Media

If gas burners are what you're used to, electric stoves might be just a little bit tricky at first. There are a few things you need to know in order to make sure you don't burn or undercook your food, or even worse—start a fire.

If you're going to deep-fry your food, choose refined cooking oil instead of unrefined; the former can handle the higher temperatures generated by an electric stove. Canola oil is a good choice. Grape seed or olive oil? Not so much. These unrefined oils can be used for sautéing, but they're not made to withstand high temperatures required for deep-frying.

Cooking oil must have a smoke point of at least 190 degrees, and when using an electric stove, the higher the better. When the oil starts smoking on top of the stove, it means it has reached its smoke point. To determine the smoke point temperature, you can place a thermometer into the oil.

Turn the range of your electric stove to a High setting. Place your pan or skillet on top of the range.

Pour cooking oil inside of the pan. Read the the recipe to determine the exact amount of oil needed.

Let the cooking oil come to a low sizzle. You'll see bubbles starting to appear in the oil. These indicate that the cooking oil is now hot enough for cooking. You can also test it by dropping a small amount of flour into the oil; if the flour begins to cook, the oil is hot enough.

Get cooking!


Do not allow cooking oil to reach a boiling point. Boiling oil can easily start a fire. It can also lead to food browning too fast on the outside, leaving the inside undercooked. Turn down the heat setting immediately if the oil starts boiling.