Does the Type of Frying Oil Matter?

Got another question over the weekend about fry oil. Specifically, does the kind of oil you use (vegetable, corn, peanut etc.) make a difference in a doughnut? The answer is unequivocally: yes. When it comes to frying a pastry, you want as neutral an oil as you can possible find: plain vegetable oil (usually a blend of mild-tasting plant oils like rapeseed and soy) or Canola oil (a trade name for Canadian rapeseed oil). Both of these are excellent for deep frying. They have very mild flavor and high “smoke points”, which is to say they don’t start to break down until they reach temperatures of at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rapeseed doesn’t smoke until it hits about 435 degrees, while soy can hack nearly 450, WAY higher than typical frying temperatures, which average 375.

Other very heat-tolerant oils include corn oil and peanut oil, yet both have very distinctive flavors (fry a doughnut in corn oil and it tastes like a fritter, peanut oil makes me think of egg rolls). Vegetable shortening is something of a light weight in this group, since it starts get smoky much past 390. It however has other qualities that are very desirable for frying, but that’s another post…

5 thoughts on “Does the Type of Frying Oil Matter?”

    1. I never have, Kamal. Frying in butter always seemed like a lot of trouble and expense. Also I tend to fry fry around 475, which is dangerously close to the smoke point of clarified butter. When you consider that the smoke point comes down as the frying medium is used, that puts me right on the edge, as it were. I should probably try it some time however. Thanks for the email!

      – Joe

  1. I found my mom’s wonderful (fried) Cappiduzzi Ricotta turnover recipe and will make them for the first time (she is deceased) solo and her recipe didn’t state what kind of oil in which to fry them.
    I’m so glad I found your website.
    Thanx Joe!

    1. Whoa! If you’re every typing one day and feel like passing on the recipe…I’m here! 😉

      Cheers and thanks!

      – Joe

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