Best Oil for Deep Frying Chicken




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We all love deep-fried food. 

It can be just chips with friends while watching the Super Bowl. Wild trip to taste land for some deep-fried ice cream. Juicy chicken drumsticks marinated in buttermilk that your auntie from Maryland made when you were a kid.

Ohh yes! Deep-fried chicken. That is the name of the game today. 

What is the best oil for deep frying chicken? 

Short answer: The oil that is in almost every US household today. 

Vegetable oil

You are welcome, go, grab any vegetable oil you have handy, and fry some of that yummy chicken for yourself. 

Rules to follow whenever you are deep frying:

#1 Don’t overheat the oil. Ever!
#2 Make sure that the temperature is right before dropping the chicken.
#3 Is oil dark brown and full of charcoal bits? Throw it away!
#4 Smoke coming out of oil? Turn down the heat!

Now, if you are interested in more details as to why is it the case, why you should use vegetable oil, and is there some alternative, then read on my friend. 

If this information is enough for you, but you would like to know if is the deep fryer worth it, check my breakdown here.

The smoke point of vegetable oil

Most likely, you have wildly different memories of your childhood than I do, but the position in which we meet is a taste of deep-fried chicken.

Now hear me out here. I am not saying that I know how your favorite deep-fried chicken tastes like, but I know that you don’t like the taste to be burnt, right?

Me neither!

So that’s why the smoke point of the oil that you are using is so important. But what is it all about you might be asking. 

It is a temperature from which the oil starts smoking (falling apart), hence the smoke point. Knowing this temperature will allow you to stay safe during your deep-frying efforts. 

Not only that, but not reaching the smoke point prevents burnt taste from getting to your chicken and protects you from fire. 

Yep, you are reading correctly. If you heat the oil past its recommended limit, in the case of vegetable oil, it is 428°F (220°C); it can get nasty. First, it will start to smoke, which means that oil is burning at the same time you will notice the color change, from golden yellow to dark brown, and if you push even further, it will catch fire. 

Yep, it is true. It will start a regular fire. So please, keep the heat level up to the recommended maximum. 

Also, it is good to mention the recommended oil temperature for deep frying the chicken. It is 375°F (190°C). Vegetable oil gives you a nice wiggle room in this regard, as it can go up to 428°F (220°C).

Most brands of deep fryers today provide you with an option to set the temperature of the oil to the required level and keep it there. But if you don’t have a deep fryer and still want to deep fry some of that yummy chicken, You have to have a way to check the oil temperature.  

To resolve this, I would recommend The Harbor thermometer proved to be my great companion over the years, so I can only recommend it to you. 

The flavor profile of vegetable oil

In cooking, you know that all parts of a recipe play an essential role in the final product. 

For example, you can make profiteroles with milk or water, and you will get two completely different results. With milk, you are getting heavier, fluffy dough that will stay moist for few days, while with water, you will have a lighter mixture that delivers that sexy crunch with the bite. 

It is the same with the oil for deep frying your chicken. In this case, it won’t change the properties, but the taste of your meal. While making the chicken, you are most likely looking for flat-tasting oil. 

While coconut oil might be a healthier option, it will considerably change your chicken taste. Except for a few exclusive recipes, you want to skip any oils with a specific flavor. 

On top of that, vegetable oil allows you to add herbs and spices to your oil, so the deep-fried chicken gets the specific flavor profile you want. 

Price of the vegetable oil

For some, that might not be super important, but there is quite a difference between vegetable oil and any other. It is at least twice cheaper than most other types in most cases. 

If you are not trying to put an edge on your chicken recipe or trying something new, I would recommend sticking with vegetable oil. 

Another quick note here. You can lower the price of the oil by reusing it. I have an article about it here. This is possible only if you don’t go over the maximum recommended temperature of the oil.

Alternatives to the vegetable oil

The vegetable oil might be the right choice for most of the time, but are there any alternatives?

Of course, there are. 

As you might be worried about the contents of vegetable oil, in most cases, they are made out of a combination of different vegetables, fruits, seeds, and more. These may include but are not exclusive to sunflower, soybean, palm, olive, cottonseed, and others. 

There is nothing wrong with it, of course. The fact that multiple sources are used in many brands of vegetable oils helps keep the price low. 

You can also have one additional concern: GMO (genetically modified organism or plant). At the same time, it is not the worst thing in the world, as most of the commonly eaten food has been GMOed to survive in the current world, you might not know how or why. 

So to cover this concern. 

I want to present to you canola oil

Cooking wise it brings similar properties to deep frying, as it has a safe cooking temperature of 400°F (204°C). 

It is a safe alternative to the vegetable oil of your choice. Free of GMOs. Won’t break your bank and has a neutral flavor. It might be a bit more expensive than vegetable oil. But it will keep your health concerns at bay. 

It is made naturally on a US farm, so by buying it, you are also supporting the local economy, which is always good.  

Final words

So I hope that I gave you an excellent answer to the question:

What is the best oil for deep frying chicken? 

The choice to which oil you choose is ultimately up to you, but please at all times keep in mind the following tips:

#1 Don’t overheat the oil. Ever!
#2 Make sure that the temperature is right before dropping the chicken.
#3 Is oil dark brown and full of charcoal bits? Throw it away!
#4 Smoke coming out of oil? Turn down the heat!

See you in another article and go deep fry some of that chicken. 

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