Unveiling the Top Frying Oils for Perfectly Crispy Delights (and Ones to Beware of)

Selecting the right frying oil can be a challenging decision in the kitchen. With numerous options available, it's essential to understand the differences between them to achieve the best results. From health considerations to practicality, each oil has its unique characteristics. In this article, we'll explore various frying oils to help you make informed choices and enhance your cooking experience. So, let's dive into the world of frying oils and discover which ones are best suited for your culinary needs.

What Makes an Oil Good for Frying?

High Smoke Point

An oil with a high smoke point is essential for frying as it can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down and producing harmful compounds.

Neutral Flavor

Opt for oils with a neutral flavor profile to avoid imparting unwanted tastes to your fried foods, allowing the natural flavors to shine through.


Choose oils that are stable at high temperatures to maintain their integrity during the frying process, preventing oxidation and off-flavors.

Health Considerations

Consider the health aspects of frying oils, such as their fat composition and levels of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Availability and Affordability

Select oils that are readily available and affordable to ensure practicality in your cooking endeavors.


Some oils can be reused multiple times for frying, which can be both economical and environmentally friendly.


Look for oils that can be used for a variety of frying applications, from deep-frying to pan-frying and shallow-frying, to maximize their utility in the kitchen.

Why is a high smoke point important? 

Smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil begins to break down and produce smoke, indicating that it's undergoing chemical changes that can compromise both flavor and nutritional value. Oils with higher smoke points are better suited for frying at high temperatures as they maintain their stability and integrity, resulting in crispier and less greasy foods. Avocado oil, for example, boasts one of the highest smoke points among cooking oils, making it an excellent choice for deep frying and pan-searing. On the other hand, oils with lower smoke points, like extra virgin olive oil, are better suited for lower-temperature cooking methods such as sautéing or salad dressings to preserve their delicate flavors and beneficial compounds.

best frying oil with avocado olive oil bottle pouring on spoon

Best Frying Oils 

Avocado Oil

With a high smoke point of around 520°F (270°C) and a favorable fat profile rich in monounsaturated fats, avocado oil is a top choice for frying. It also contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin E and antioxidants.

Foods to pair with: 

Excellent for frying fish filets to a crispy golden brown while maintaining their delicate flavor. It's also great for frying plantain slices for a savory and sweet snack, or for frying falafel patties to a perfect crispness. Additionally, avocado oil can be used to fry sweet potato chips for a crunchy accompaniment to salsa or guacamole.

Coconut Oil (Refined)

Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of around 450°F (232°C), making it suitable for frying at high temperatures. While it contains saturated fats, they consist mainly of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are believed to have potential health benefits.

Foods to pair with:

Great for frying shrimp coated in coconut flakes for a tropical twist on a classic dish. It's also perfect for frying tofu cubes to a crispy exterior while keeping them tender inside, or for frying plantain chips for a sweet and crunchy snack. Additionally, refined coconut oil can be used to fry tortillas for making coconut-infused tacos or tostadas.

Olive Oil

Renowned for its heart-healthy properties, olive oil offers a moderate smoke point and a rich array of monounsaturated fats, making it a versatile option for frying. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, it boasts numerous health benefits beyond its culinary appeal.

Foods to pair with:

Ideal for frying delicate seafood like shrimp or scallops, imparting a subtle fruity flavor while achieving a crispy texture. It's also perfect for frying eggplant slices for a golden-brown finish in Mediterranean-inspired dishes, or for frying chicken cutlets for a light and flavorful main course. Additionally, olive oil can be used to fry zucchini slices for a simple yet delicious side dish, enhancing their natural sweetness and tenderness.

When it comes to the best frying oils, coconut, avocado, and olive oil stand out as top contenders. Notably, these oils boast low levels of polyunsaturated fats, making them stable choices for high-heat cooking methods like frying. Whether it's the tropical aroma of coconut oil, the rich flavor of avocado oil, or the Mediterranean charm of olive oil, each option offers a deliciously healthy way to elevate your culinary creations.

Oils to Avoid When Frying 

Here are some oils to avoid when frying due to their low smoke points, unstable chemical compositions, or unfavorable health effects:


While butter adds rich flavor to dishes, it has a low smoke point (around 350°F or 177°C) and contains milk solids that can burn at high temperatures, resulting in off-flavors and potentially harmful compounds.

Unrefined Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil has a very low smoke point (around 225°F or 107°C) and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are sensitive to heat and prone to oxidation, leading to rancidity and the formation of harmful compounds.

Walnut Oil

With a low smoke point (around 320°F or 160°C), walnut oil is unsuitable for frying as it can easily burn and develop a bitter taste. It also contains delicate omega-3 fatty acids, making it prone to oxidation at high temperatures.

Hempseed Oil

Similar to flaxseed oil, hempseed oil has a low smoke point (around 330°F or 166°C) and is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are vulnerable to heat-induced oxidation and can lead to off-flavors and diminished nutritional value.

Avoiding these oils for frying can help maintain the quality and safety of your dishes while optimizing flavor and nutritional value.

Beware of Common Frying Oils with PUFA

Sesame and peanut oil are valued for their distinct flavors and suitability for frying, yet they contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), categorizing them as seed oils. While they bring depth and aroma to dishes, their higher polyunsaturated fat content makes them less stable at high temperatures compared to oils with predominantly monounsaturated or saturated fats. If inflammatory oils are not suitable for your diet, consider avoiding them.

Peanut Oil

With a high smoke point of about 450°F (232°C), peanut oil is commonly used in Asian and Southern cuisines. It’s known for imparting a subtle nutty taste and a neutral flavor. While it’s relatively low in saturated fats, it does have higher levels of PUFA.

Foods to pair with:

Good for frying chicken wings to a crispy exterior while keeping the meat juicy and flavorful inside. It's also used for frying onion rings for a crunchy and savory appetizer, or for frying tempura vegetables for a light and crispy side dish. Additionally, peanut oil can be used to fry doughnuts for a sweet and indulgent treat.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has a moderate smoke point of around 410°F (210°C) and imparts a rich, nutty flavor to fried dishes. While it contains beneficial antioxidants, it also has higher levels of polyunsaturated fats.

Foods to pair with:

Commonly used for frying eggplant slices or spring rolls for a crispy and flavorful appetizer as well as frying teriyaki chicken for an aromatic main dish. Additionally, sesame oil can be used to fry wonton wrappers for crispy dumplings or to fry noodles for a quick stir-fry.

store locator for avocado and coconut oil sweet potato chips

Tips and Tricks for Frying 

Here are some frying tips and tricks to help you achieve crispy, delicious results:

Choose the Right Oil

Opt for oils with high smoke points, such as avocado oil or refined coconut oil, to ensure they can withstand the high temperatures required for frying without burning or breaking down.

Maintain Oil Temperature

Use a deep-fry thermometer to monitor the oil temperature accurately. Keep the temperature consistent throughout the frying process to ensure even cooking and prevent the food from becoming greasy.

Preheat the Oil

Allow the oil to heat up to the desired temperature before adding the food. Preheating ensures that the food cooks evenly and develops a crispy exterior.

Dry Food Thoroughly

Pat the food dry with paper towels before frying to remove excess moisture. This helps prevent splattering and ensures a crispy texture.

Use a Deep-Fryer or Heavy-Bottomed Pot

When deep-frying, use a deep-fryer or a heavy-bottomed pot with tall sides to contain the hot oil and minimize splattering.

Fry in Batches

Avoid overcrowding the fryer or pan, as adding too much food at once can lower the oil temperature and result in soggy, unevenly cooked food. Fry in small batches for the best results.

Reusing Oil

If you plan to reuse frying oil, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any food particles and store it in a clean, airtight container in a cool, dark place for future use. Discard oil if it becomes dark, foamy, or has a rancid odor.

The Takeaway

Selecting the right frying oil can significantly impact both the taste and nutritional value of your dishes. By prioritizing oils with high smoke points and favorable fat profiles, such as avocado and coconut oil, you can enjoy crispy, flavorful results without compromising your health. It's no wonder that companies like Jackson's choose these oils for their kettle-cooked sweet potato chips, recognizing the myriad benefits they offer in creating delicious and wholesome snacks.