Last Updated on December 4, 2022
Today, we dive deep into choosing the best oil to fry doughnuts in. And, we’ve included a short list of oils that is the most effective in our opinion.
We will consider the smoking point of different oils and their flavor. And, more importantly, whether or not they are actually practical to use.
Best Oil To Fry Doughnuts
Today, we are jumping right into it! What is the best oil to fry doughnuts in?
Now, there are two questions we are very frequently asked. “Can you fry donuts in vegetable oil?” and “Can you fry donuts in coconut oil?”
The answer to both is yes! But, that seems to be where people stop asking about different oil options. There are actually a ton more alternative cooking oils for you to choose from.
The difficult part is to choose which of these oils to fry donuts in that won’t affect the flavor a lot.
Choosing the best oil for frying donuts
There are a couple of factors to take a look at before choosing the best oil for frying donuts.
Smoking and flash point
This is the first thing to consider. No matter how good the cooking oil could work in other ways, if it’s smoking and flash point isn’t high enough, it cannot be used to deep fry foods with.
The smoking point refers to the temperature where the oil starts to form smoke. This changes the quality, flavor, and shade of the oil. These directly affect the outcome of the donuts being fried.
Donuts generally fries between 320-360ºF (160-180ºC). So, you need an oil that has a smoking point higher than the above-mentioned range.
That is why donuts cannot be fried in, for example, butter. Butter only has a smoking point of 300ºF (150ºC). The same goes for unrefined canola or flaxseed oil, and unrefined safflower and sunflower oil.
This list is our go-to reference for the smoking point temperatures of oil. It gives you the exact smoking temperature you need to know of for virtually every type of cooking oil that exists.
The flavor of the oil
Next is an equally important point. Do not use heavily flavored oils. Even when you fry your donuts in regular olive oil will give the dough a strange taste. Always use neutrally-flavored oils.
But, how do you know when your choice of cooking oil is neutral in flavor? The correct answer is a quick web search away. But generally, most options of refined or filtered oils will have a more neutral flavor.
Good options for neutral oils include refined sunflower, almost any type of coconut oil, or vegetable oil. Surprisingly, peanut oil is also a good neutral oil option for deep frying food.
Price of oil
Oil is not cheap. Even the options that are extremely refined are relatively expensive (for oil at least). So, please don’t buy fancy oils for frying donuts. This doesn’t apply when you make a salad dressing where you will taste the flavor of the oil.
But, using it as a deep-frying oil is just as good as throwing it away. And again, you will barely notice the flavor of the oil. Especially because the best oil options are usually refined and filtered.
Best Oil To Fry Doughnuts – The Ultimate Options
Below we have assembled a list of the best oil to fry doughnuts in. The list does rank the oils a little bit. However, in some areas of the globe, some of these oil options are more affordable or readily available than others.
So, there is some flexibility in this ranking. Let’s take a look.
1. Refined sunflower oil
In our opinion, it is the best deep-frying cooking oil for this job. But, it has to be a refined oil option. Unrefined sunflower oil doesn’t have a smoking point that is high enough to be used for deep-frying donuts.
This option has a smoke point of between 441-489ºF (227-254ºC).
This cooking oil has one of the best and most neutral flavor profiles. It also helps to give your dough a beautiful golden color and uber-crisp outside texture.
Refined sunflower oil is also generally readily available. And it is the most common cooking oil globally. But, the prices do vary from country to country.
This is also an oil that is sold in many different sizes. You can buy a small 16-fluid-ounce bottle or a massive 5 1/2-gallon tub.
It means you can buy oil that suits your deep frying needs best.
2. Refined canola oil
Refined canola oil, also known as rapeseed oil, is another fantastic option for deep-frying in neutrally flavored oil. It is also generally priced roughly the same as sunflower oil.
The only reason we ranked it lower is that its smoking point is slightly lower than the above-mentioned option. Generally, it ranges between 375-446ºF (190-230ºC). Now, for the most part, this isn’t a problem.
The only benefit it has over sunflower cooking oil is that it is less flavorful and is slightly lighter in color. So, when frying donuts at low temperatures, they won’t get that dark too quickly.
3. Other flavored refined oils
Now, the emphasis here is on “refined”. The cooking oil you choose needs to be a refined option. Otherwise, the smoke point of it will be too low for deep-frying.
So, you can use either coconut or peanut oil (as examples). They are generally neutral in flavor. And if refined, has a high enough smoke point to work.
But, the downside to these oils is that they are almost always sold in smaller quantities. And they are usually a lot more costly.
Other options you could consider (if you don’t have budget restrictions) are refined olive oil, corn oil, refined almond oil, and a vegetable oil blend.
Now, while many options will work as “the best oil to fry doughnuts in” there are only a couple of practical options. It is pointless buying an expensive oil or one whose flavor is going to spoil the donut.
It also defeats the purpose if the oil is hard to find or too dark in color. The bottom line is that the best oil to fry doughnuts in is sunflower and canola oil.
Let us know what you think and which neutral cooking oil you prefer using for deep frying! And remember to have a look at our other informative articles too!
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.