Determining the best oils for deep frying fish can be difficult. I have looked into all the various cooking oils such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower etc. There is so many to remember and each carry a different flavor, quality and use.
Fish can be deep fried using the same cooking oils as any other meat. Fish does not need a specific type of oil for deep frying. The most common oil used is peanut oil. Peanut oils neutral taste and high smoke point make it one of the best oils to deep fry fish.
Now since there is plenty of oils to choose from, its hard to decide which one to use specifically. Peanut oil might not be the best choice for someone with a peanut allergy.
So to better help you make a decision, you should first know a little about cooking oils. There are not only the different plant based oils, but each one can be processed differently. There are unrefined and refined, virgin, extra virgin, expeller pressed, cold pressed, non-GMO, GMO and highly processed oils.
Without covering all the details and leaving you more confused. Here is a simple rundown in which, by knowing what works best for deep frying. Which oils are worth avoiding and which ones you should choose for deep frying fish.
These are the types of oils you want to use when deep frying. They typically have a much higher smoking point, so they withstand the high heat much better than unrefined.
An oils oxidation stability is how well it can withstand heat and maintain its original fat content and flavor. Then there is smoke point, which is the point at which the oil starts to burn. The higher the smoke point the better for cooking.
Some oils have both strong stability and high smoke point. Like olive oil for example.
The reason refined oils work best for deep frying is because they are more pure. That is there is more oil and less impurities and other parts of the plant remaining.
You can tell a refined oil by its light color, like a bright gold. This also means the oil will have less flavor and this is exactly what you want for deep frying.
Most of the time you don’t want your meat picking up a lot of the oil flavor. Instead you are just cooking the meat using a high heated oil. Unless of course you are pan frying, then its worth using a oil like sesame to give the food a Asian profile flavor.
Certain refined oils can be very unhealthy due to being highly proccessed. This is the case when a oil, like canola for example is heated past its smoke point. Causing the oil to become rancid and lose a lot of its healthy fats.
Not only is the processing creating unhealthy oils, a lot of the oils come from GMO-plants. Which may or may not be healthy, but they are sprayed with toxic fertilizer and pesticides.
Ether way if you are for or against GMO plants. These oils can be highly processed and void of their natural healthy fats.
The most refined frying oils are typically vegetable oils. Such as canola, corn, soybean or sunflower.
Now I now that when you are deep frying, you aren’t exactly trying to have a healthy meal. The truth is that when deep frying is done right, the oil shouldn’t even get inside the food or fish meat.
Because the moisture within the meat should escape when it hits the oil. Not the other way around.
But if you do want a healthier oil that is still suitable for deep frying. Look for expeller or cold pressed, non-GMO or obviously organic oils.
Expeller pressed oils use a simple mechanical method of extracting the oils. This is better than using chemical solutions such as hexane. Expeller pressed can still involve using heat, so that is why cold pressed exists.
It is the same process just taking place in a temperature controlled environment.
These oils are going to be much more expensive, but if you have the budget are worth it. The only premium oil that I would recommend for deep frying fish.
Is a refined and or cold pressed olive oil (not virgin or extra virgin) or avocado oil. Both have a high smoke point and great stability. Meaning you can deep fry with them and the oil will not turn rancid.
Each one will have a neutral flavor, the avocado oil even more so. So the fish won’t pick up any extra flavor from the frying oil.
These oils are the closes you can get to a regular frying oil, but are a much healthier and natural oil to use. Just expect to pay a premium for these oils, especially if you are deep frying and using a whole bottle.
Premium oils will actually hold up better and last longer after repeated use. Since they aren’t already highly processed.
Another great choice for deep frying is use a oil blend. These are like a hybrid between the premium oils and the basic refined vegetable oils.
You can find these oils for sale in larger bottles. Specially sold as oils used for deep frying. I would say these are your second best budget friendly option.
The better blends contain a little bit of premium oil mixed with a refined oil. Like an virgin olive and sunflower oil blend. The blending makes the product cheaper but you still get a quality cooking oil.
You can get these in non-GMO as well, but make sure they state all-purpose cooking. All cooking purpose means the oil has a high smoke point, so you can deep fry. But also the oil can be used with dressings or marinades for example.
The Best Oils To Use
After all is said and done, I would recommend for the budget friendly option to use a %100 peanut oil or a non-GMO cold pressed vegetable oil. Healthy Harvest is a great brand.
They have non-GMO expeller pressed sunflower, canola and soybean oils for a great price. Check them out on Amazon here.
The Second option would be the blended oils, with a premium oil included. Make sure its not just a blend of highly processed oils.
A good brand is Native Harvest, they have a premium blend of olive oil and canola oil for deep frying fish. You can find it on Amazon here.
The last option is to go with a straight premium oil. Either a refined and cold pressed olive or avocado oil. These oils are pricey but can last longer than highly refined vegetable oils.
Deep Frying Fish and Oil Chart
|Deep Frying Fish Oil Temperature||350 -375 Degrees Fahrenheit|
|Refined Peanut Oil Smoking Point||450 Degrees Fahrenheit|
|Refined Olive Oil Smoking Point||465 Degrees Fahrenheit|
|Refined Avocado Oil Smoking Point||500 – 520 Degrees Fahrenheit|
|Refined Vegetable Oils Smoking Point||400 – 450 Degrees Fahrenheit|