To get the most out of your deep-fat fryer, you have to cook your food at a high temperature to prevent the oil from penetrating the food and making it greasy. For delectable results, food specialists recommend you use peanut oil in your deep fryer.
Perfect Fried Food
Many people avoid deep-fried foods because they worry that the cooking oil will add too much unhealthy fat to the food. However, according to cookbook author John Martin Taylor, fried foods should not be greasy at all.
Taylor says the reason some deep-fried foods come out greasy is because they aren’t fried at a high enough temperature. “When fried to perfection in clean, hot oil, deep-fried foods are crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside,” he told the New York Times. “They should not be greasy at all—not even a drop of oil on the plates that hold them.”
Like many experts on deep-fat frying, Taylor recommends frying with peanut oil, because it has a high smoking point and it lasts longer than other oils.
The “smoking point” is the temperature at which, before bursting into flames, hot oil starts to smoke. You should cook most fried foods at 350 to 375 degrees F.
The Canola Council of Canada reports that the smoking point of commonly used cooking oils varies from a low of 331 degrees F for extra virgin olive oil, to 471 degrees F for peanut oil, to a high of 475 degrees F for high oleic canola oil.
High Oleic Canola Oil
“High oleic” oils are also called “high stability,” meaning they don’t degrade at high temperatures and after repeated use in commercial food preparation situations. The Culinary Institute of America recommends high oleic canola oil for use in professional kitchens, where cooks strain and reuse the same oil repeatedly.
Finding high oleic canola oil in the average grocery store, however, is no easy assignment. Since the difference between the smoking points of high oleic canola oil and peanut oil is negligible, food specialists most often recommend peanut oil as the best choice for use in a home deep-fryer.
References and ResourcesFear of Frying; Jonathon Reynolds; The New York Times, March 4, 2001
Deep-Fried Turkey; Alton Brown; The Food Network
Deep-Frying, The Perfect Medium; The Fearless Frying Cookbook; John Martin Taylor
ResourcesFood Oil Smoke Points; Canola Council of Canada
Canola Oil Can Take the Heat; The Culinary Institute of America