Frying is one of the oldest cooking techniques in cookbooks. Although it is not entirely healthy, frying is one of the cooking fundamentals that humans arguably can’t live without in this modern era. Pan frying is one of the most common and versatile frying methods.
Pancakes were invented thanks to pan frying, but it doesn’t stop there. Whether you want to saute vegetables or try perfecting your filet mignon using a pan, it is entirely up to you. Aside from the nutrients we get from the food we eat, the process of cooking them directly affects the overall nutrition it provides us.
In pan frying, the oil used to fry the food is as important as the food itself. There are a large number of cooking oils available in the market, but how can we pick the good ones from the bad ones? What factors should we consider when it comes to buying a cooking oil that will meet our pan frying standards? If you’re one of the many people who seek answers to these questions, then you came to the right place!
Learn more about the art and science of pan frying by watching this video:
We’ve compiled this list of the best oils for pan frying to help people like you choose the best oil, and we’ll also provide you with crucial information to help you make an informed decision when it comes to buying the right oil that will suit your pan frying needs.
We also talked about the best oil for making popcorn! You can check that out, too.
Best Oil For Pan Frying On The 2023 Market
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Sky Organics
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The Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Sky Organics is 100% pure olive oil sourced from small organic farmers from Greece. It is unfiltered and has been cold-pressed, which ensures that all its supposed health benefits and nutrients are preserved.
This extra virgin olive oil is ideal for cooking and baking and also makes for a great carrier oil that can be used for skin care and hair care. Sky Organics claims that this extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, phytosterols, and vitamin E, which help protect the body against the damage dealt with by free radicals.
The Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Sky Organics is USDA Certified, 100% pure, unfiltered, and cold-pressed. Consumers find that this product works great, especially for frying.
- 100% pure, unfiltered, and cold-pressed, which preserves all of its supposed health benefits
- Organically sourced
- Consumers find that it works great, especially for frying.
- No noticeable drawbacks.
Essential Pantry Rice Bran Oil
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The Essential Pantry Rice Bran Oil is a certified rice bran oil extracted from non-GMO (genetically modified) rice. However, it has a relatively low smoke point at just 232 degrees Celsius; this rice bran oil boast of its supposed health benefits similar to Grapeseed oil, with a better taste.
The manufacturer claims that this oil has higher tocopherols, which are vitamin E compounds that have several skin benefits, and is lower in omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fat that is a bit less healthy than its fellow omega-3 fatty acid.
The Essential Pantry Rice Bran Oil has a three-year shelf life and is recommended to be used for several cooking methods such as deep frying, pan frying, sauteing, and stir-frying.
- High tocopherol levels and lower omega-6 content
- Extracted from non-GMO rice
- Have a lot of supposed health benefits similar to Grapeseed oil.
- The very low smoke point at just 232 degrees celsius
- Some consumers find this oil to be quite greasy.
Nutrigold Organic Coconut Oil
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Nutrigold Organic Coconut Oil is a cold-pressed, non-GMO, extra virgin coconut oil that the manufacturer claims to be naturally free from cholesterol, gluten, trans fat, and hydrogenated fats. Nutrigold also claims that this product has fewer calories than regular cooking oils and can also be used for skin care and hair care.
This oil was extracted from coconuts grown in various tropical regions and is considered a superfood because of its good nutrient content, including fiber and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc, which are all nutrients the body needs.
The Nutrigold Organic Coconut Oil is claimed to be sustainably farmed and sourced and is Fair Trade USA Certified. Nutrigold claims that it’s a healthier alternative to conventional cooking oils as it is naturally rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs,) which are a natural source of energy.
- Cholesterol, gluten, trans fat, and hydrogenated fat-free
- Sustainably farmed and sourced, and is Fair Trade USA certified
- Rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and MCTs.
- Some consumers find its texture to be grainy.
Essential Depot Food Grade Palm Oil
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The Essential Depot Food Grade Palm Oil is a food grade palm oil that can be used for both cooking and soap making. The manufacturer claims that this product has zero grams of trans fat. Palm oil is naturally high in saturated fat, but one study found that it does not have an incremental risk for cardiovascular diseases when consumed as a part of a balanced diet.
This oil is harvested from palm trees native to Malaysia and Indonesia, and the manufacturer claims that it’s RSPO certified, meaning that it is sustainably farmed and sourced. Many consumers are concerned regarding palm oil in general, as most harvesting methods usually destroy the habitats of Orangutans, a species of great apes native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Essential Depot Food Grade Palm Oil can be mixed with other oils to produce excellent quality soaps and is often used and preferred for cooking foods that do not need interference with their taste, as palm oil naturally has a neutral taste.
- Trans fat-free
- RSPO certified
- It can be mixed with other oils to make soap.
- Some consumers are reluctant to purchase palm oils because of the harvesting methods.
Sulu Organic Avocado Oil
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The Sulu Organic Avocado Oil is a pure, organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined extra virgin raw avocado oil that’s supposedly high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Aside from cooking, this oil can also be used as a moisturizer for skin and hair.
Sulu claims that this oil is a good source of non-GMO lecithin, which is excellent in protecting hair follicles from moisture loss. Sulu also claims that it’s a good source of sterolin, which is used in hair and skin care products as a moisturizer.
The Sulu Organic Avocado Oil has a clean, mild flavor with a hint of nuttiness. It can be used for several cooking methods, such as pan-frying, baking, sauteing, roasting, marinating, and dripping and drizzling.
- High in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E
- Good source of non-GMO lecithin and sterolin
- Has a clean, mild flavor with a hint of nuttiness.
- Some consumers report that it doesn’t really look cold-pressed and unrefined.
How To Choose The Best Oil For Pan Frying
Not all oils are created equal. Certain oils go well for specific functions. Now, a lot of people get confused because lesser-known oil types are surprisingly versatile in that they aren’t only used for cooking but also for a variety of other things, such as hair care, skin care, and therapy, among other things.
Yes, oils used for these functions are also used for cooking oils, but there are several criteria and acceptable quality levels (AQL’s) that need to be met for an oil to be used for other functions. Most oils are naturally food grade, meaning they can be used in cooking and processing food, but for them to be used for other applications, they need to be processed differently and meet specific standards.
There’s no need to worry if you see an oil that’s food grade but is also certified for usage in massage therapy, hair care, and skincare. Most oils manufactured now are so versatile because this is what actually sells, and it is efficient in a way because it serves a myriad of purposes when before, they were only purely used for cooking. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Well, if you’re still confused, there are a lot of available resources about oils on the internet for you to read. Going back to the topic at hand, here are the key factors that you should consider when choosing the best oil for pan frying.
An oil’s smoke point is the time when the oil starts to break down. You want to avoid getting to this as it is at this point where the oil produces harmful compounds like free radicals, which, as we all know, can do serious harm to the body.
Different oil types have different smoke points. Most of the best oil for pan frying on this list has around 400 degrees Celsius to 450 degrees Celsius smoke point, except for the rice bran oil, of course. Most restaurant chefs rely on oils that have high smoke points, especially when cooking staple foods like steaks. You don’t want an oil with a very low smoke point unless you’re just going to fry ham and eggs for your sandwich or pancakes for your kids.
Oils with a high smoke point make cooking at a high temperature safe. We all want our food cooked all the way on the inside, and oil with a high smoke point will allow you to achieve this, and it also cooks the food more quickly and absorb less oil. Always take this into consideration when buying cooking oil for pan frying.
Different oil types have different fat content, but before you cringe, I want to remind you that not all kinds of fat are bad health. Some actually have essential health benefits that you might want to know more about.
If you’re a parent with kids aged less than seven years old, we understand that you want to keep tabs on every food your kids consume. What kind of parents want to feed their kids junk anyway? Oils are naturally fat-based products, and we should consume them sparingly. Some oils contain the usual bad cholesterol that nobody wants to be in their system, but there are also a lot of healthy oils that contain the good stuff that we absolutely want.
Some oils contain monounsaturated fats, which are known to lower blood pressure as well as bad cholesterol. Oils like canola, olive, and flaxseed are excellent sources of this wonderful fat, and they are also considered heart-healthy because they are rich in omega-3, which is a heart-friendly fatty acid. Make sure to watch out for the fat content in the oil that you will buy. Nobody wants to deal with that guilty feeling after finding out that they’ve consumed the wrong kind of fat.
Every oil has a different kind of flavor. Yes, there are the usual palm, corn, and vegetable oils that have a neutral flavor, which is why they’re commonly used for frying foods whose flavor needs to be maintained. People prefer these types of oil simply because they don’t mess up the taste of the food.
Some oils go well with certain foods, especially delicacies. Chefs prefer using oils with flavor as it gives their signature food a distinct taste not commonly found in other restaurants. Oils like avocado, sunflower seed, and argan are among those that have a distinctive flavor and are actually being used by world-renowned chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Alaine Ducasse, and the late Anthony Bourdain.
If you’re a person who would like to experiment with certain flavorful oil types to alter the taste of your signature recipe, we suggest that you do a bit of research first regarding the kind of oil that will go best for most of the ingredients in your recipe. Anyhow, make sure to consider this factor when it comes to choosing the best oil for pan frying that you need.
As mentioned above, certain oil types have specific health benefits that all of us should take into consideration. Consuming the wrong fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, can raise your cholesterol levels, and it bodes ill for the body, especially for the heart. As much as possible, trans fats should be eliminated from anyone’s diet, as the American Heart Association recommends.
Monounsaturated fatty acids are heart-friendly, much like omega-3 fatty acids. Among all of the best oil for frying pans listed here, olive oil is the healthiest one, as several studies have shown that not only it is heart-friendly, but it also provides several benefits to the body.
Extra virgin olive oils have antioxidants and are claimed to have strong anti-inflammatory properties that significantly help with serious health concerns such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and even arthritis.
Most oils are recommended to be consumed in small amounts, and for a good reason. Consider an oil’s health benefits as much as its risks so that you can weigh your options better when it comes to choosing the best oil for pan frying that you need.
Oils are an essential part of cooking and food processing, but their functions aren’t limited to that. Whatever the applications, oils prove to be a very versatile solution for many different tasks that require their usage. The Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Sky Organics tops our list of the best oil for pan frying. As we know, olive oil is a good source of healthy nutrients, and it also provides several health benefits that are surprisingly good, considering that these are oils we’re talking about. Not only does it make for excellent cooking oil, but it’s also useful for many other applications.
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We hope that this article supplied you with the information you need when it comes to choosing the best oil for pan frying. If you have feedback or suggestions, let us know what you think in the comments section!
Jen Lin-Liu is the founder of Black Sesame Kitchen. A Chinese-American writer and a nationally certified Chinese chef in Beijing. Jen is the author of two memoirs, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta.