Which oil is the healthiest for frying?

Deep fat fryer
Updated on 27 May 2023

Deep-fried food. Who doesn’t love them on their time? Deep-fried food has actually always been popular. It really is part of traditional Dutch cuisine. Unfortunately, deep-fried food is not really certain the healthiest way to prepare your food. Especially on a large scale. 

However, deep-frying at home is not necessarily super unhealthy. It depends on what type of frying oil you use and how you use it. So, which oil is the healthiest to deep-fry with? We take you through that in detail!

How exactly does deep-frying work?

Deep-frying means that you immerse the food in hot oil. The ideal temperature is somewhere between 175 and 190 degrees Celsius. When something is immersed in oil at these temperatures, the outside is cooked almost immediately, forming a kind of seal that the oil cannot penetrate.

At the same time, the moisture inside the food will turn into steam, this means the food is cooked from the inside out. The steam also helps to keep the oil out of the food. When the temperature is not high enough the oil will seep through the food making it very greasy and dirty. However, when it is high then the oil can oxidise and dry out the food.

In short, deep-frying is dipping food in hot oil. This instantly cooks the surface and retains moisture in the food.

Stable frying oil is extremely important

There are types of frying oil that can withstand much higher temperatures than others. You need to choose a type of oil that will only really cook at high temperatures. In addition, the oil should be stable and not react to oxygen when heated.

The more saturated fats there are in frying oil, the more stable it is when heated. Frying oil with large amounts of polyunsaturated fat should be avoided. Polyunsaturated fats contain double bonds in their structure, at least 2. 

Those double bonds react with oxygen and then they form harmful substances when you expose them to high heat. Of course, the flavour is also important. When it comes to frying, you need an oil that tastes neutral.

We have a winner…

We have a clear winner after frequent testing. All things considered, coconut oil is definitely the best choice. Research has shown that after frying for 8 hours at a stretch at 180 degrees Celsius that more than 90% of the fatty acids are saturated. This means that this oil can withstand heating very well.

Saturated fats are seen as unhealthy, but in frying oil, they are also needed. Besides, we also need saturated fats and as long as you deep-fry once in a while, it can’t hurt.

So why is coconut oil the healthier choice anyway? Coconut oil has numerous beneficial properties for human health. For instance, it can help kill harmful bacteria and can even help lose belly fat. 

Some types of coconut oil can leave a taste or smell, though. So I do recommend trying a few different brands until you find the right one. So coconut oil appears to be able to be heated continuously for hours without changing its quality. So it lasts a long time, is not unhealthier than other oils and besides, it has a number of beneficial benefits for human health.

Other good choices

In addition, of course, there is no single good option. Coconut oil is simply the best option. But are there any alternatives? Yes, there are:

  • Peanut oil. This is peanut oil, that has a neutral taste and does not absorb the flavour of food and can therefore be used repeatedly. From a health point of view, it is less beneficial than coconut oil because it is relatively high in polyunsaturated fats, which means it is prone to oxidative damage at high temperatures.
  • Palm oil. consists largely of monounsaturated fats as well as saturated fats. So this is a very good choice as a frying fat. The flavour is perceived as neutral.
  • Avocado oil. Its composition is similar to olive oil. It is mainly composed of monounsaturated fat with some unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats added. Its boiling point is 270 degrees Celsius. The taste is quite nutty.
  • Olive oil. Probably the best alternative. It contains many unsaturated fatty acids that are monounsaturated with only one double bond. Like saturated fats, these also stand up well to heating. More than 24 hours of use without oxidising? No problem! However, the taste and smell may become less tasty after prolonged heating.

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Deep fat fryer


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