best oil for deep frying french fries

Love French fries? So, what is the best oil for deep frying French fries?

Potatoes are one of the most versatile foods we have, from chips to fries, hash browns to potato salad, and, at the fancier end, gnocchi and Hasselback potatoes.

There are countless options on what to do with this staple. Today let’s focus on one of America’s favorites, the humble French fry.

Let’s decide once and for all what the best oil for deep frying French fries is.

To find you the best cooking oil for French fries when you are cooking at home and want those wonderful, crispy fries in the comfort of your own home.

To be honest, it is a little bit of a task to cut your own French fries at home. But can you deep fry both homemade and frozen French fries?

Can you deep fry them in the same oil?

Here is everything you need to know about cooking French fries at home to get them piping hot and better than store-bought.

What Makes The Best Oil For Deep Frying French Fries

oil for deep frying

When you are deep frying any food you need the oil to get to super high heat.

This will allow you to fry your potatoes in a matter of minutes and achieve French fries with golden and crispy outsides while leaving the inside of your fries soft and fluffy. 

Note: It is recommended to cook your fries at between 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The key is to use an oil with a high smoking point. This means that the oils can be heated up to 350 degrees F without smoking. 

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This is why an oil such as olive oil is not great for deep frying.

Olive oil has a much lower smoking point, meaning it won’t be able to reach your desired temperatures without burning.

As well as withstanding the heat, the oil you use needs to be neutral in flavors.

I don’t know about you but the idea of sesame or coconut flavored French fries doesn’t really appeal to me.

The good news is that the oils which meet both of these criteria are usually the most affordable oils on the shelves and won’t impact the flavor of your french fries.

Suitable Cooking Oil For French Fries

suitable oil for fries

All of these oils meet the above criteria and can be heated to high temperatures and do not hold a particularly strong flavor:

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is extracted from various parts of fruits and vegetables such as the seeds. Vegetable fat covers a range of oils mixed together from various sources.

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It can be a mix of some of the pure oils on this list or other fats such as cocoa butter.

Check the label on the bottle for more information regarding the ingredients on your list.

If the main or all the ingredients are listed here then it will be great for deep frying french fries. 

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is a type of vegetable oil that is only sourced from the seeds of the soya bean.

Note: It is a good option if you are looking for an oil that is low in saturated fat. 

Sunflower Oil

One of the most commonly used oils for frying is sunflower oil. It is made using only sunflower seeds. 

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil also comes from the seeds of the plant after which it is named. It is a great oil due to being a healthy source of fatty acids

Canola Oil AKA Rapeseed Oil

Canola oil is a blend of Vegetable and Safflower Oil. It may be named rapeseed oil depending on where you live in the world. 

Grape-seed Oil

Grapeseed oil is produced as a byproduct of winemaking. It is also an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids. 

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Peanut Oil

Although you may expect peanuts to have a strong nutty flavor due to the name, peanut oil is actually made from peanut plant seeds. Not the nuts themselves. 

Corn Oil

Refined corn oil is made from maize plants. 

What Is The Best Cooking Oil For French Fries

oil for fries

Although all of the oils listed are certainly suitable for deep frying, our top picks for the best oil for deep frying would be:

  • Peanut Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Canola Oil AKA Rapeseed Oil

The above oils all have a smoke point well above what we recommend is needed for deep frying. These oils can be heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit before smoking and causing your alarms to go off.

Note: These oils are also very mild in flavor. 

Even peanut oil will give you a great subtle flavor to the fries, letting your seasonings and sauces speak for themselves without competing with overly flavored oil.

These oils are great for frying french fries and just about any other foods you wish to fry.

As a bonus, these oils are all relatively inexpensive which means they can be tasty in your tummy and easy on your wallet! Plus if you buy these oils in bulk this can further cut your costs.

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Reusing Oil for Deep Frying

You can use your oil many times over you may also wish to also fry homemade onion rings, tempura, chicken drumsticks, beer-battered fish, scampi, tofu.

Maybe you want to even try out a deep-fried dessert such as churros or deep-fried Oreo biscuits. 

In fact, reusing older oil can give you the best results and the crispiest skins. This is because as the oil breaks down from the heat it will result in crispier foods.

To reuse your oil you must strain it, remove food pieces, and then transfer it into an airtight container to rest in a cool place or a refrigerator, if possible. 

Of course, do not attempt this while the oil is still hot as this may lead to injury or burns.

It is best to deep fry using the same oil no more than four times before disposing of it, and it should be heated for no more than 6 hours in total. 

You will notice pretty easily if the oil has gone off.

Give it a visual and a sniff test and look out for signs of discoloration/darkening, foaming on top, or an off smell such as an acidic smell.

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Using Animal Fat To Deep Fry

As an alternative to using oil, you may wish to use animal fat to add flavor.

Animal fat such as beef, chicken, pork, or duck fat will add an additional rich flavor to the fries.

Animal lard and tallow can also result in even crispier fries. 

As you may already know, popular fast-food chain McDonald’s used beef tallow for their deep fryer for years to achieve their signature fries.

What Oil Do Fast Food Chains Use For French Fries?

french fries

If you want to know how to get the most authentic McDonald’s fries at home here is what they had to say.

According to the McDonald’s website, their french fries in the US are cooked from frozen with vegetable oil (including canola oil, corn oil, and soybean oil). 

This makes sense since both of these oils are flavorless and reach high heat.

Plus these oils are inexpensive and there is no reason you can recreate the McDonald’s fries at home even as a vegetarian. 

Back when the fast-food chain first opened, it used beef fat for frying. They switched this out when concerns were raised about the health implications of using beef fat vs oil.

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This is why they add beef flavoring to the fries after cooking, to add some of that well-known McDo’s flavor back to the menu.

Tips To Know When Frying French Fries


If you are going to be frying frozen french fries be sure they have frozen in a clump together.

If you try and fry a block of fries you may end up with uneven cooking and the oil may splash up at you when you add them to the deep fryer. 

To stay on the safe side, add the fries into the oil gently using your spider. Another common mistake when frying french fries at home is leaving the fries out to thaw before cooking.

Facts: You will get much crispier fries if you fry them directly from the freezer as the oil will cook the outside and not travel inwards and cause soggy fries.

Let’s Get Frying

Now you know the very best oil for deep frying french fries, we reckon you are ready to get down to the store and then start cooking.

To get the crispest fries with soft, fluffy insides we recommend you heat your oil to 350 degrees F

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Once the oil reaches this temperature, carefully add your fries into the oil and set a timer for 3-5 minutes. Remove them from the oil when they are golden on the outside.

Use a spider or a large metal spoon with a drain slot to remove the fries from the hot oil and onto a tray lined with kitchen paper towels.

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This will help remove excess oil. Add your chosen seasonings such as salt, black pepper, and spices, such as paprika, as soon as possible.

If you are cooking frozen french fries, then 3-5 minutes of cooking time should suffice. However, if you are cooking fresh, homemade fries you may need to double fry.

To double fry set your oil temperature to 325 degrees F and fry for 3 minutes until the potatoes are soft (but not yet golden). 

Then drain on paper towels and reheat the oil to a higher temperature of between 350 and 375 degrees F. Add your fries to the oil for deep frying for a further 3-5 minutes.

This is the best way to achieve crispy, perfectly golden fries to serve with your favorite protein and vegetables.