The Best Oil To Have In Your Kitchen For Frying

If you’re a novice in the kitchen, you may guess that using oil is usually a part of the cooking process, but you may not realize all the different types of oil and their best uses.

Chef Preparing Olive Oil in a Pan

Cooking with the right oil can make a big difference in your dish’s taste, texture, and overall quality. There are many types of cooking oil to choose from.

So, if you’re looking to create the perfect dish, you want to choose the oil that has a suitable flavor, nutritional content, and other aspects.

An oil’s smoke point is an additional factor when frying food. The smoke point refers to the highest temperature at which an oil begins to smoke and release harmful chemicals.

With this in mind, let’s consider the best oil for frying.

Best Oil For Frying 

These oils are great for frying foods, so learn more about each and see if they’ll work for your next dish.

Canola Oil

Canola oil, extracted from the rapeseed plant, is perfect for frying because it has a neutral flavor, a relatively high smoke point of 400 F, and is relatively low in saturated fat.

Because of its neutral flavor, I like to use canola oil for a wide variety of fried dishes, including plantains, chicken, pork, beef, and fish.

It’s also a commonly used oil for deep frying, so many restaurants use it to make french fries.

Another benefit of canola oil is that it’s relatively inexpensive, and you can purchase it in large sizes.

This larger size is convenient so that you can buy it less often.

Corn Oil

Corn oil is extracted from the kernel of corn, and it’s another good option for frying.

Corn oil has a smoke point of 450 F which means it can withstand high temperatures without smoking up the room so quickly.

Additionally, corn oil is low in saturated fat and has a high omega-3 fatty acid content.

Corn oil is also relatively neutral, although it’s more flavorful than canola oil.

That’s why I like to use it for fried chicken and sautéed peppers or onions.

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is one of the best oils for frying because of its distinct, nutty taste.

It has the same smoke point as corn oil at 440 F and a high amount of Vitamin E at 11%.

I like using peanut oil when I’m cooking various Thai dishes and Chinese dishes, including but not limited to:

  • Pad thai
  • Chinese fried rice
  • General Tso’s chicken
  • Pork stir fry
  • Veggie stir fry
  • Chinese-style long beans

Of course, you want to avoid this oil if you have a peanut allergy, but as you can see from this list of frying oils, there are many suitable substitutes.

Avocado Oil

Avocados have an incredible reputation — and for good reasons.

They’re high in healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. So it’s no surprise that their oil would be just as beneficial.

I like to use avocado oil for many things, including my skin, hair, and low-heat cooking, but with a smoke point of 420 F, it’s also great for high-heat cooking!

I use avocado oil for stir-fries, shrimp tacos, and marinated meats, among other foods.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is from the safflower plant, which is related to the sunflower plant.

This powerful plant has been incorporated into both traditional and modern medicine, given its many benefits.

It has a smoke point of 510 F and helps support blood sugar control and lower inflammation.

It has a neutral taste and aroma similar to canola oil, so it doesn’t change the flavor of dishes much.

I use it for chicken, fish, veggies, and dishes where I don’t want the flavors to be overpowered.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a broad category that can include many different oils, including soybean, corn, peanut, and canola oil.

However, if a product is labeled simply as “vegetable oil,” it usually refers to soybean oil.

Soybean oil has an impressively high smoke point of 400 F and a mild taste that fits various dishes.

Depending on the brand, it can have a very slightly fishy aftertaste, which is why I don’t mind using it for fish dishes in particular.

Additionally, I appreciate that it has the benefit of lowering my cholesterol, preventing heart-related diseases, and increasing my intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is my favorite oil of all time. I use it for everything — shampoos, soaps, lotions — and even sometimes put it directly on my skin and hair.

Some people even use coconut oil as an ingredient for natural toothpaste!

Unsurprisingly, coconut oil has many benefits for the entire body, given its fatty acid content.

I like using it for cooking as well. Immediately upon hitting the pan, the coconut oil creates a delectable aroma.

The smoke point of coconut oil is 350 F, so I like to use it for low and medium-heat frying, given its relatively lower smoke point. I enjoy its distinct coconut taste on scrambled eggs, fried rice, and sautéed veggies.

And even with the lowest smoke point of all the oils on this list, coconut oil certainly gets the job done!

Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed oil comes from various types of cotton plants, and I appreciate its relatively high smoke point of 420 F as well as its ability to decrease inflammation.

It also has anti-cancer and anti-cardiovascular disease effects.

In terms of the taste, it has a mild and nut-like taste but with just the right amount of flavor for dishes like sauces, deep-fried fish, and deep-fried chicken.

It’s not the most popular oil for frying because it can be more expensive than other options.

But I think it’s worth the extra cost, given its benefits.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the most well-loved and well-respects oils for cooking and other uses.

Like coconut oil, olive oil has many benefits for the entire body, inside and out.

It’s high in healthy fats and antioxidants, which help to protect the body from various diseases.

It has a smoke point of 374-405 F, depending on the type, so I use it for medium-high cooking.

I love the taste of olive oil, especially for Italian fried dishes like chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan. I also use olive oil to sautéed vegetables for pasta dishes.

Learn about the different kinds of olive oil to choose from.

Sunflower Oil

Last but not least is sunflower oil. I’ve already discussed its relative, safflower oil, but sunflower oil is known to have even more benefits.

Like safflower oil, it has a smoke point of 464 F and helps to lower inflammation. Additionally, it’s high in Vitamin E, which is excellent for the skin.

I use sunflower oil for many of the same dishes as safflower oil, but I think sunflower oil has a slightly nuttier taste.

This quality makes it great for dishes like roasted nuts, salads, and granola. In terms of using it for fried foods, I will readily use it for fish, pork, chicken, and veggie dishes.

Oil For Frying 

  1. Canola Oil
  2. Corn Oil
  3. Peanut Oil
  4. Avocado Oil
  5. Safflower Oil
  6. Vegetable Oil
  7. Coconut Oil
  8. Cottonseed Oil
  9. Olive Oil
  10. Sunflower Oil

Final Thoughts

I hope you learned a lot from my comprehensive guide to the best oil for frying. All of these frying oils have high smoke points, various health benefits, and excellent flavors.

Determining which one is the best depends on what you are cooking and your personal preference. 

What’s your favorite oil to use for frying? Let me know in the comments below!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.