Can you fry chicken in vegetable oil? If you are not familiar with the various cooking oils used for deep-frying, pan-frying, and the like, you came just in time.
Today’s blog focuses on vegetable oil and peanut oil, which 442+are widely used for deep-frying across the globe. So if you want a definitive guide to the best oil for pan-frying chicken, read until the end.
Which Oil Is Best for Frying Chicken?
When selecting the best oil for frying chicken, consider three important factors:
- Flavor transfer – Flavor transfer refers to the existing flavors in the oil that can get transferred the next time you cook something. If you reuse an oil, consider what you have already cooked in the oil before. If you use fresh oil every time, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Smoking point – The smoking point of cooking oil refers to the cooking temperature limit before cooking oil starts to turn rancid-tasting while in the pan or Dutch oven.
For the best results, select a cooking oil with a high cooking temperature, preferably one that can tolerate up to 400°F or 204.44°C. The oil that begins to smoke will have an impact on the resulting flavor profile of the chicken.
Not many people understand that smoking oil in the pan is a bad sign. Avoid cooking in smoking oil whenever possible. Heat the oil only to the right temperature, and that is before it begins to smoke.
The white smoke is very easy to spot. For best results, use a cooking temperature. Avoid eyeballing the oil in the pan.
Can You Use Vegetable Oil To Fry Chicken?
Vegetable oil and vegetable shortening can both be used for frying chicken. Vegetable shortening has a slightly lower smoking point than the recommended 400°F/204.44°C at 360°F/182.22°C, but it’s still ideal because the usual cooking temperature for chicken is around 350°F/176.67°C, anyway.
The higher range of 400°F/204.44°C is for larger fried chicken batches, especially those cooked in commercial deep-fryers or personal deep-fryer machines, where the cooking temperature is digitally-controlled by the deep-fryer. Vegetable shortening is a popular cooking aid in the South, where fried chicken is traditionally cooked with solid fat.
Next to vegetable shortening is lard, which has a smoking point of 370°F/187.78°C. Lard is similar to vegetable shortening and provides two excellent advantages: unbeatable crispiness and intense flavor that defines fried chicken in the South, too.
Canola oil can be used as a substitute for lard. Canola oil has a much higher smoking point at 400°F/204.44°C. It has the additional benefit of having omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut oil may not frequently occur in recipe books for deep-frying food, but it is ideal because of its high smoking point of 450°F/232.22°C.
If you cook at truly high temperatures that stomp on other cooking oils, coconut oil will be your best friend. In addition to being resistant to high temperatures, coconut oil also has the additional advantage of naturally containing healthy fats and lauric acid. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils for pan-frying ever.
What about animal fats like tallow, ghee, and drippings? These are all ideal for deep-frying because they have high smoking points, and they impart excellent flavors to meats while cooking. Please do not use butter for frying because it will burn easily.
Remember – you need an oil that can tolerate high temperatures when frying chicken. Animal fats are notable for being highly resistant to chemical damage or breakdown during the cooking process.
While many people would turn their noses up with the idea of cooking with animal fats, we can all remember that grain-fed animals, in general, can produce healthier fats that are ideal for cooking, just like plants.
Can You Use Peanut Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil for Frying?
Using peanut oil instead of vegetable oil for frying is perfectly alright. You can also use avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, and the like. As long as the smoking point is not too high, the cooking oil can be used properly to fry chicken and pork, and even beef.
Is Peanut Oil Best for Frying Chicken?
We can say that peanut oil or groundnut oil is ranks supreme in the special set of cooking oils used for frying chicken. Despite being naturally aromatic, peanut oil does not impart weird flavors to food, and its use is always a positive development in the kitchen.
Additionally, peanut oil’s flavor profile remains fairly neutral even in high-temperature cooking, so you can use it for massive batches of fried chicken without worrying that the oil will make the chicken taste like peanuts.
Perhaps this is the biggest misconception that people have about peanut oil – that it will make things taste like peanuts. They probably compare peanut oil to coconut oil, which has a slightly sweet and nutty taste because it was derived from the flesh of mature coconuts. This is not the case with peanut oil, so it should work well when you need to fry chicken at home.
Is Peanut Oil Best for Deep Frying?
Peanut oil certainly meets the criteria for the ideal deep-frying cooking oil. The peanut oil’s neutral taste is a favorite among restauranteurs and home cooks, and this truly takes away the headache of having to deal with an awkward flavor in food that’s been submerged in cooking oil for several minutes.
Additionally, it is not easy to find good substitutes for peanut oil because of its high smoking point. Peanut oil can handle more heat than most vegetable oils and other cooking oils in the market easily.
Since peanut oil won’t go rancid even with higher temperatures, you will save money in the long term because you can reuse large quantities of peanut oil used in batch cooking fried chicken. This is plausible because the peanut oil won’t go rancid, as it won’t smoke while cooking.