Specially FriedKitchen10 Best Oils for Deep Frying Chicken! [And Oils You Should Avoid]
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10 Best Oils for Deep Frying Chicken! [And Oils You Should Avoid]

Immad Amir
Written by
Immad is a talented home cook and editorial director at Specially Fried. With his culinary expertise, love for gadgets and creative flair, he brings a fresh perspective to the world of food blogging.
Reviewed by

Lisa is a nutritionist with a passion for promoting healthy eating habits. With her expertise, she meticulously cross-checks the content on Specially Fried, ensuring accurate and reliable nutrition information.

10 Best Oils for Deep Frying Chicken
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Don’t we all love fried chicken? It’s impossible to say no to a perfectly deep-fried piece of chicken. We can eat away buckets and buckets of fried chicken and still not get enough of it.

If you need restaurant-style fried chicken, then you need to be sure that you are using the right oil for deep frying. The frying step is actually what makes the fried chicken crisp and delicious. In this article, you will find a thorough description of the best oils for deep frying chicken. Let’s dive in!

Why does deep frying chicken require a different kind of oil?

Many factors make an oil eligible for deep frying. It applies not only to chicken but to other foods such as egg rolls and donuts as well, to name a few. There are myriad oils out there; however, not all of them are suitable for deep frying chicken. Mentioned below are some of the things you should consider before selecting an oil for deep frying:

Smoke Point

The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil will start burning and smoking. It is of utmost importance for oil to have a high smoke point if you are going to use it for deep frying. This is because when you are deep frying chicken, the temperatures can go as high as 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which can, in turn, burn the oil if the oil doesn’t have a high smoke point. The burnt taste will be imparted in the chicken, making it lose all its flavor.

For example, vegetable oils have a smoke point of around 440 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s higher than the temperature you’re going to cook your chicken at, so your oil won’t smoke.  

Flavor transfer

When you’re choosing oil for deep frying, make sure you opt for the one that does not absorb the flavor of food into it. If an oil absorbs the flavor from food, it’ll pass that flavor onto anything else that will be fried in it. If you aren’t mindful of this, your batch of fried chicken might have an off-taste due to the flavor transfer. 

Oil flavor

You must be aware of the fact that some oils give off a very strong flavor, which can get into the food. If you want to make sure that the flavor of the oil doesn’t affect the taste and seasoning of your chicken, make sure you go for an oil that doesn’t itself have a strong taste.

Can be reused

Make sure to choose an oil that can be reused, meaning that it doesn’t develop a smoky flavor due to a high smoke point and doesn’t absorb other foods’ flavor either.

Vegetable oil with a high smoke point, as we know, doesn’t develop a smoky flavor after being used at high temperatures. This is why vegetable oil can be used again and again for deep frying. Just remember to sieve out all the remnants of the food because the remaining food particles can lower the smoke point of the oil and develop an unpleasant flavor.

The quality of the oil deteriorates every time it is used. Ergo, when it develops an off aroma and a dark color, it can’t be reused anymore, and it is better if you throw it away. 

List of best oils for deep frying chicken!

Below you will find a list of the best oils for deep frying chicken, along with the qualities that make them so great!

Vegetable oil 

Smoke point: 400°F

Vegetable oil is a blend of multiple oils such as peanut, soybean, canola, and corn oils. It is often the recommended oil for deep frying chicken because of its mild taste and also because it is very economical.

Note: Vegetable oil is a blend of different oils; therefore, the exact smoke point varies from brand to brand. Make sure to check its smoke point before using it to fry anything.

Peanut oil

Smoke Point: 450°F

Peanut oil has a high smoke point and is the ideal oil for deep frying chicken. It is economical and also prevents flavor transfer, making it a very useful oil for deep frying! It also comes with a delicious nutty flavor that makes the chicken taste yummier.

Avocado oil

Smoke point: 520°F

As you can see, avocado oil has the highest smoke point, making it great for deep frying. However, it has an avocado taste with a slightly sweet flavor that gets imparted in the chicken that you might not want. It is also on the more expensive side.

Safflower oil

Smoke point: 475° F

Safflower oil is a great substitute for avocado oil because, similar to avocado oil, it has a high smoke point without the sweet flavor. Safflower oil is also expensive, so you might want to look for an alternative to this oil too. 

Soybean oil

Smoke point: 450° F

It’s a kind of multipurpose vegetable oil that you can use to deep fry anything you like! You would also be thrilled to know that this incredibly useful oil will be very light on your pocket. What more can one ask for?

Corn oil

Smoke point: 450°F

Corn oil is another multipurpose oil with a high smoke point. Like soybean oil, corn oil is also a cheap option that you can opt for.

Canola oil

Smoke Point: 400°F

Canola oil is great for deep frying chicken, given its high smoke point and neutral flavor. It has less saturated fats and has healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This versatile oil can be used for baking and sautéing as well.

Coconut oil

Smoke Point: 450°F

Coconut oil is a healthier option out of the lot because it has high levels of lauric acid and healthy fats. It has a mild flavor that doesn’t interfere with the flavor and seasonings of your chicken, so you get the most amazing piece of fried chicken.

Sunflower oil

Smoke point: 450°F

Sunflower oil has a slightly nutty flavor that pairs well with sweet and savory foods! It also doesn’t cost much, so you can use it for deep frying without having to worry about the money!

Cottonseed oil

Smoke point: 420°F

This oil is one of the best options out there due to its neutral flavor. Many fast-food spots also use it. However, you might not be able to get your hands on this oil so easily, plus it is also on the expensive side.

What oils should you avoid when deep-frying chicken?

Just as there are some great oils out there with qualities that make them ideal for frying, there are some oils that shouldn’t be used for frying. Let’s find out which oils should be avoided and why.

Extra virgin olive oil 

Extra virgin olive oil is unrefined and has a low smoke point of 325°F which means it wouldn’t withstand the high temperatures used for deep frying.

Unrefined coconut oil

Unrefined coconut oil has a low smoke point of 350°F which makes it fairly unsuitable for frying.

Flaxseed oil 

Flaxseed oil is an unrefined oil with a very low smoke point of 220°F, which, as we are aware, will not be suitable for frying as it will smoke. This oil, plus the ones mentioned above, is expensive too, so it would cost you a lot to use them for deep frying. 

Butter, vegetable shortening, and lard

These are some fats that burn upon heating due to their low smoke points; that’s why they’re not a good option for deep frying. Butter has a smoke point of 300°F, vegetable shortening of 360°F, and lard of 374°F.

Apart from a low smoke point, these fats have a high aroma which only tastes better at medium or low heat applications.

Lastly, you need big amounts of oil when you’re deep-frying chicken, and if you try to do so with these fats, then they will definitely cost you an arm or leg! 

Tip: The mentioned fats have a buttery flavor; if you’re looking for that, then you can mix any of these up with a high smoke point oil! You can use them in salads, rice, soup, or bread, where you can taste their true essence and flavor.

Tips for deep frying chicken to perfection!

Now that we know which oils are the best for deep frying chicken let’s talk about some tips and tricks that will take your fried chicken to the next level.

1. Dry your chicken before breading 

When you’re ready to coat your chicken in flour, make sure you remove the excess moisture by patting the chicken dry with a paper towel. This will ensure a crisp exterior after frying. 

2. Make sure your chicken is at room temperature

If you have left your chicken in the fridge to marinate, make sure you bring it back to room temperature before deep-frying it. The rationale behind this is that if you put a cold chicken in hot oil, it would reduce the oil’s temperature resulting in an uneven fry. 

3. Remove excess oil after frying

Once you’ve deep-fried your chicken, remove the excess oil to ensure the crust doesn’t get soggy and stays crisp. Use a wire rack instead of a paper towel for better results. 

4. Marinade your chicken

Marination can do wonders for your chicken. If you’re looking to achieve restaurant-quality, juicy and tender chicken, then don’t forget to marinate it. Buttermilk is the most common marinade used when it comes to fried chicken. Add up a few spices and seasonings of your choice and let it sit in the marinade for a long, long time. 

Don’t rush with the marinade; the longer your chicken soaks, the better the texture will be. 

5. Cook at the right temperature

A cooking thermometer is your best friend. The ideal cooking temperature for deep frying chicken is 350-375°F. You’ll have the perfect piece of fried chicken at this temperature. 

Don’t overcrowd the oil by adding too many pieces at the same time. 

6. Double-fry your chicken 

Start by giving your chicken a quick fry first, then take it slow the second time you put the chicken in. Remember not to confuse this step with overcooking. 

How long does it take to deep fry chicken?

Chicken takes 7-8 minutes on each side while deep frying for best results. 

What temperature do you deep fry chicken at?

The ideal temperature for deep frying chicken is 350-375°F. 

Do you cook chicken before deep-frying?

No! You don’t need to cook your chicken before deep-frying it. It will cook perfectly well while you deep fry it, given that you follow all the steps correctly. 

What do you do with oil after deep frying?

You can reuse the oil after deep frying your chicken. After you’re done frying, let the oil cool off completely first. Then, sieve out the remaining food particles from the oil and store the oil until needed. 

What type of oil do restaurants use for deep frying?

Canola oil is used for deep frying by most restaurants. This is because it has a high smoke point, can be reused multiple times, and is economical too!

What oil does KFC use?

KFC uses canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil for deep frying their chicken. 

What oil does McDonald’s use?

McDonald’s uses canola-blend oil to deep fry their chicken. 

What oil does Popeyes use?

Popeyes uses palm oil to fry their chicken.

What’s the healthiest oil for deep frying?

Rice bran oil and safflower oil are healthier options for deep frying. They are good for your heart and can bear temperatures as high as 500°F. Peanut oil, mustard oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oil are also some healthy options if you’re frying between 400-450°F.

What should I soak my chicken in before frying?

The most common choice of marinade for leading restaurants is buttermilk. But you can also use a mixture of milk and eggs or even pickle juice!

Why isn’t my fried chicken crispy?

Your fried chicken could turn out soggy if you don’t fry it at the right temperature. Your oil must be cold, thus slowly frying the chicken while soaking it. The perfect temperature for deep frying chicken is between 350-375°F. 

Concluding our thoughts on the best oils for deep frying chicken!

Restaurant-quality fried chicken isn’t hard to achieve when you’re using the right oil and the right temperature for deep frying! You can utilize many oils; however, you must avoid certain oils too. We have listed down all you need to know when choosing the best oil for deep frying chicken. We hope it helps!

Happy deep-frying!

Immad Amir
Written by
Immad is a talented home cook and editorial director at Specially Fried. With his culinary expertise, love for gadgets and creative flair, he brings a fresh perspective to the world of food blogging.
Reviewed by

Lisa is a nutritionist with a passion for promoting healthy eating habits. With her expertise, she meticulously cross-checks the content on Specially Fried, ensuring accurate and reliable nutrition information.

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