Can you mix oil for frying? Sure, you can, but double-check that oils have similar flavor profiles and smoke points.
Did you know that cooking oils often get mixed? It's something that many people do quite often. Usually when they are run out of one type of oil when preparing to deep-fry something, and the only other oil they have to hand is a different variety.
You can use standard vegetable oil for cooking almost anything. It doesn't have much of a specific flavor. But some oils do, and some even have certain health benefits.
If you get into a situation whereby you have to mix a couple of different oils to have enough to cook with, it won't be a problem from a physical point of view.
They will both be oil-based products and should therefore be miscible; in other words, they should mix okay.
However, depending on what it is you are cooking, the wrong blend of oils might adversely affect the dish's flavor. Let me explain.
Can you mix oil for frying?
Deep frying usually results in lovely, crispy, delicious tasting dishes, but even experienced home cooks sometimes make the error of frying with the wrong type of oil.
If you get it wrong, you can end up with off-tasting food and a kitchen full of smoke and fumes.
Deep frying isn't like other things such as baking, making a salad dressing, shallow frying, or sautéing, where the type of oil doesn't adversely affect the process.
But there are certain things you need to take into consideration.
1 Consider the smoke point of the oils.
The key thing to be considered with any cooking oil you use is its "smoke point." It relates to the temperature at which an oil begins to burn and is in danger of catching fire.
It is when the molecules break down that leads the oil to smoke; hence creating a scorched, bitter, and burnt-tasting food.
You may not be aware, but deep fryers usually heat to a temperature high of 375°F. Therefore, you should always look for an oil that has a smoke point to 400°F, just to be on the safe side.
If you are mixing oils that have different smoke points, always consider the oil that has the lowest smoke point as this is the one that will reach its ignition point first.
So, say you are mixing two oils - one with a smoke point of 400°F and one with 350°F, it is the latter you should go by.
Don't try averaging the smoke point of two oils. You might, for example, think that if you have a 50/50 mix of oils at the temperatures mentioned earlier, the average smoke point will be 375°F (the sum of 400°F plus 350°F, divided by two).
Okay, the mixture might not catch fire, but your food might not taste right, and you could be creating unhealthy chemical combinations.
2 Cooking oils and their flavors
You may not appreciate that different cooking oils have a different taste if you are new to cooking.
So, if you are combining oils, you need to be sure that the flavors will complement one another and be appropriate to the dishes you will be cooking.
For example, sesame oil, or toasted sesame oil, has a distinctive nutty and slightly sweet taste and works well with oriental dishes.
On the other hand, Grapeseed oil has more of a floral note to its taste.
The majority of cooking oils that you use for deep frying are those with a neutral taste. Being neutral or flavorless, they don't significantly affect the taste of the dish you're preparing.
Safflower oil, for example, has almost no flavor at all, and it has a smoke point of about 440 to 520°F, which is 40°F higher than Sesame oil. It's the perfect candidate for combining with other oils.
But you should always try and stick away from mixing oil with slightly sweeter oils. The flavor you end up with maybe not be what you expected, and it could adversely affect the taste of any dishes you deep-fried with it.
3 The temperatures at which foods are deep-fried
Being aware of the smoke points of the different oils is essential. However, you also need to know the temperatures at which various foods are best deep-fried, and that range is 350°F to 375°F.
You may notice that breaded or battered foods will become golden brown and deliciously crispy when cooked within this temperature range due to a process known as caramelization.
Caramelization happens when carbohydrates such as starches and sugars become brown when heated to about 320°F.
That's why, when selecting a cooking oil for deep frying, you need to choose one that has a minimum smoke point of 375°F.
But the fact of the matter is that smoke points don't stay constant during the lifespan of cooking oil. To keep on the safe side, you should choose oils that have a minimum smoke point of 400°F.
This high smoke point tends to rule out most unrefined oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, with its smoke point of 375°F.
Unrefined coconut oil has a lower smoke point of 350°F so, this is not ideal for deep frying.
In the same way, you should give vegetable shortening and lard a miss due to their smoke points being 360°F and 370°F respectively.
Just out of interest, the smoke point for natural butter is only 250°F, so using that for deep frying is an absolute no-no.
4 Refined and light-colored cooking oils
Another thing to consider is the refinement of a specific oil. The more it is refined, the higher the smoke point becomes.
Refining takes away the impurities that lead oil to begin to smoke. The generally accepted rule is that lighter-colored cooking oils have higher smoke points than darker ones.
The other thing to remember is that an oil's smoke point doesn't stay the same over time. The longer you expose oil to heat, the lower its smoke point drops.
When deep-frying, tiny bits of batter or breading fall into the oil; this is one more thing to consider. See, these shaving particles speed up the oil breakdown, resulting in a reduced smoke point.
It all boils down to that using fresh oil will give you a higher smoke point than using oil that's been sitting or stored for a while.
How to mix oils for deep frying
- Once you've checked everything out and decided that the oils you're going to mix will fit for purpose, pour them into a mixing bowl and whisk them aggressively.
- Pour them into a bottle that has a tight-fitting cork or plastic stopper. Doing this will enable you to give the mixture a good shake before you use it. Because mixed oils stored for long durations can begin to separate. A quick shake-up before use will marry them together again.
Type of oil and its temperature
Different types of cooking oils have various constituents in terms of saturated and unsaturated fats and other solids. The relative proportions of these elements can impact the way they fry and the temperature at which they can be heated.
It means that you can take refined oils such as canola, corn, peanut, and vegetable to a higher temperature than unrefined oils like extra-virgin olive oil or some sesame oils.
But it doesn't mean that you can't use extra virgin olive oil for frying. Sure, you can, and it imparts a unique flavor.
However, the oil will break down more quickly than refined oil, so you have to take care in getting it up to a temperature hot enough for frying without smoking.
Oils such as peanut, and vegetable oil are suitable for frying because they are higher in saturated fats. As well as having longer life spans, these products also produce great crispy dishes.
What types of oil mix the best?
You can safely mix oils with the ones that have equivalent smoke points. But remember, it's not just about the smoke points but also flavor and chemical makeup.
For example, vegetable oils contain various mixtures of oils, so you need to be somewhat careful.
Stick away from mixing low and high smoke point oils. So, don't use flaxseed or wheat germ oil for mixing with high smoke point oils. Because all of these have low smoke points, as do all cold-pressed oils, including extra-virgin olive oil.
Oils like canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean are all oils that you can mix, but the recommendation is that you should only mix them in small quantities.
Is it okay to mix oils when frying?
As mentioned above, vegetable oil is already a mixture of different types of oil blended.
However, be mindful that this blending has been done professionally by people who know what they're doing. This process undergoes a thorough assessment at multiple levels.
As well as testing for taste, the test process also includes taking into account chemical compatibility and smoke points.
The main point is that ordinary home cooks like you and me are not qualified to mix different oils. Therefore, you should proceed with care.
Which oils mix well?
I know that many people mix various vegetable oils, including the likes of canola, corn, safflower, and sunflower, to mention a few.
Here are some helpful tips on oils you can mix.
Peanut and canola oil
Peanut and canola oil are okay in mixing for deep-frying as both of these oils have a 400°F smoke point.
However, you have to be mindful that peanut oil has its own distinctive taste. Once mixed with other oils like canola, you might detect a hint of peanut in the final taste of your dish.
Remember that oils which reach their smoke point are not only dangerous in terms of catching fire. They can also result in the foods cooked in them tasting burnt, even though they may look okay.
That's why, although you may be cooking with coconut oil, ghee, or any other type of oil, it's vital to know its smoke point.
However, I'm not advocating mixing large batches of different oils, specifically when you are unaware of their properties and smoke points.
People who have allergies to certain cooking oils
The other thing to be aware of is that many people have a nut allergy, and deep-frying food in peanut oil could trigger a real, dangerous, and life-threatening issue such as anaphylaxis.
So, whenever you resort to using peanut oil, make sure the people that eat what you're preparing are not allergic.
Peanut oil isn't the only oil that is associated with allergies. Other oils include sesame, soybean oil, and sunflower, albeit to a much lesser extent. For more information, visit this site.
The best oils to use for deep frying
There are various factors to consider when deciding or selecting the best oil for cooking your recipe. Many take account of its smoke point, taste, and nutritional value.
However, for numerous cooks, the taste and flavor of oil are the determinants of their choices. This means good-tasting is basically the goal beyond everything.
It's always best to bear in mind the possibilities of allergies to nut and seed oils, but once you have satisfied yourself, you will not be putting anybody in danger.
Smoking Points of Cooking Fats and Oils (Table)
|Fat / Oil
|Smoke Point (°F)
|Smoke Point (°C)
|Ghee (clarified butter)
|Olive oil (extra light)
|Soybean oil (refined)
|Coconut oil (refined)
|Canola oil (refined)
|Olive oil (virgin)
|Olive oil (extra virgin)
|Sesame oil (unrefined)
|Coconut oil (extra virgin)
|200 to 250 °F
|120 to 150 °C
These are the best oils you can use for frying.
1 Avocado oil
Yes, avocado oil has an exceptionally high smoke point at 520°F. It's the highest smoke point of all cooking oils. It has a slightly sweet hint of avocado, which is best used when cooking fried desserts like fried bananas.
The only negative about using avocado oil is its cost. It is significantly more expensive than some other oils - more than $5 more expensive for a typical 500 ml bottle.
2 Safflower oil
If the flavor of avocado oil is an issue, you'll be better off using safflower oil. It still has a nice high smoke point (475°F), but its flavor is somewhat neutral, which means it is ideal for frying most things from chicken to eggplant.
Unfortunately, safflower oil is another of the more expensive oils, and a 32-ounce bottle could cost you in the region of $9.
3 Peanut oil with its smoke point of 450°F
There are various types of peanut oil, depending on how refined the oil is due to its high smoke point. It is customarily popular in Asian cuisine due to its flavor that ranges from mild to nutty.
Providing you are aware of the possible dangers of peanut allergies because of its high smoke point and its nutty flavor, it is a great oil to use.
Many fast-food restaurants use it because it makes their French fries so deliciously buttery.
4 Soybean oil with its smoke point of 450°F
Again, its smoke point of 450°F is well in the safe region, and like safflower oil, it doesn't add any disagreeable flavor.
5 Corn oil with its smoke point of 450°F
Corn oil is another good smoke point oil with a neutral flavor. It also has the advantage of being easily affordable. You can buy gallon containers of the stuff for around just $8.
6 Sunflower oil with its smoke point of 450°F
Sunflower oil has a nutty hint to its flavor, which is great when deep-frying things like doughnuts, fritters, and rosettes. Pricewise, this oil is also easily affordable, costing around $5 per 48- ounce bottle.
7 Cottonseed oil with its smoke point of 420°F
Cottonseed oil is another excellent choice for deep frying fast foods, thanks to its neutral flavor. However, it's not that easy to find as some of the other oils we discussed, and price-wise, it's a little higher at $12 per 48-ounce bottle.
8 Canola oil with its smoke point of 400° F
Canola oil is one of the most popular oils used for deep frying as it is not only relatively cheap to buy, but it's also another almost flavorless oil. You can buy a gallon for approximately $6 and use it equally well in baking and sautéing.
Vegetable oil is another oil that is neutral in taste and low in cost. However, don't forget that it is a blend of oils, so you need to check on the smoke point of the particular vegetable oil you purchase.
Top choice oil for air fryers
One of the great things about air fryers is that they only require a minimal quantity of oil to crisp up food cooked in them. The oil to use is PAM cooking spray. You can buy in different variants for baking or grilling.
There's no reason that you shouldn't use your own choice of cooking oil transferred into a spray bottle. If you do, do this; however, don't forget to bear in mind that all-important smoke point.
Oils not to use for deep frying
When choosing an oil for deep-frying food, you are better off choosing one of the many cooking oils with a smoke point of over 400°F.
Oils like coconut oil with a low smoke point of 350°F, extra virgin olive oil with its low smoke point of 325°F, or flaxseed oil with a miserable 220°F, should be given a miss as should any unrefined oils.
These types of oils are best reserved for dishes in which their flavor is an important factor. Perfect ingredient in a salad dressing or for drizzling onto a plate of food or mixing with balsamic vinegar and using as a dip into which you can dunk some lovely fresh bread.
Butter, with its low smoke point, is not suitable for deep frying. But if you want to get a buttery flavor to your dish, you can always use melted butter and drizzle it over before serving.
If you want to know more about cooking oils, please refer to "The Complete Guide to Cooking Oils".
Before I sign off, I would like to address the disposal of used cooking oil.
Some people find disposal problematic, and if you are one and would like some guidance, please refer to an article entitled "How to Properly Dispose of Used Cooking Oil".