Oil and frying

The choice of oil should be olive oil (especially suitable for fish) or less expensive peanut oil. Both, in fact, contain a large quantity of monounsaturated fatty acids, which better resist the high temperatures reached during frying. On the contrary, polyunsaturated fatty acids – typical of fish, sunflower, corn and grape seed oils – are easily degraded by heat, creating substances harmful to the body.

To evaluate the suitability of a fat for frying there is an index, known as smoke point (smoke point), which expresses the maximum temperature that the oil or fat can tolerate; exceeding this threshold determines the decomposition of the product and the genesis of the aforementioned harmful substances; consequently, the ideal oils for frying are those with a high smoke point.

Smoke point of some oils and fats *
Sunflower oil less than 130°C
Soybean oil 130 °C
Corn oil 160 °C
Peanut oil 180 °C
Extra virgin olive oil 210 °C
Coconut oil 177 °C
Refined palm oil** 240 °C

the proposed values ​​may vary based on the degree of refining, the variety of seeds, the seasonal trend and the cultivation techniques; for this reason different data can be found in the literature. The smoke point decreases – even considerably – if the oil is not stored appropriately (remember that it is necessary to protect it from light and heat) and if it has already been used in previous frying.

(**) refined oils have a higher smoke point than unrefined oils and are therefore more suitable for frying foods.

There are also specific oil blends for frying on the market, characterized by a particularly high smoke point.

What temperature?

Based on what was said in the previous paragraph, one might think that healthy frying is obtained by cooking over a low heat; in reality a temperature that is too low is not recommended, because it causes the food to absorb considerable quantities of oil and to deteriorate from a health and organoleptic point of view.

It should be noted that the temperature of the oil decreases excessively even when too large quantities of food are fried at once, with the result that the various dishes tend to become soaked in oil and stick together. On the other hand, an excessive temperature – in addition to being harmful for exceeding the smoke point – causes the food to brown too quickly, remaining raw inside.

Oil temperature
Foods suitable for frying 150° C
Vegetables, potatoes, large fish, crescentine, yeast cakes

160-170 ° C

Preparations floured, breaded or dipped in various batters (cutlet, breaded vegetables, etc.) 180 ° C

Small fish in flour


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