For Deep Frying, Robert Irvine Swears By This Oil

There are so many cooking oils: canola, vegetable, olive, coconut, peanut, just to name a few. At times, it's hard to know which to choose. Who better to take your questions to than your favorite Food Network star? One fan tweeted to Robert Irvine, asking, "Can I use olive oil to deep fry in?"

Irvine, who has more than 403,000 Twitter followers, was kind enough to reply that yes, you can deep fry with olive oil because it has a high enough smoke point. However, you might not want to use olive oil in this application.

But first, what is "smoke point," and why is it important? MasterClass explains that smoke point is the temperature at which an oil "stops shimmering and starts smoking." Also sometimes referred to as the "burning point," this temperature can range from 325℉ to 520℉, depending on the oil. Smoke is "a sign that your oil is breaking down," says the website. When this happens, the oil releases chemicals that can impart "a bitter, burnt flavor" into whatever you're cooking. That's why it's important to choose an oil that can stand up to deep frying temperatures.

Since, according to Epicurious, most deep frying recipes call for heating the oil to about 350⁰, you need to choose an oil that won't smoke at this temperature. Olive oil fits this bill, according to The North American Olive Oil Association, with extra virgin's smoke ranging from 350⁰ – 410⁰ F and regular and light-tasting olive oil smoking at 390⁰ – 470⁰ F. That being said, there are other oils cooks can choose from, too.

What are the best oils for deep frying?

Irvine responded to the great olive oil question by stating that he prefers other oils for frying. "I use grape seed or vegetable oil as they get hotter and have no flavor to taint the food ... but your choice," Tweeted Irvine. On his website, Irvine points out that grapeseed oil has added health benefits some other oils don't. "' "Cold-pressed' grape seed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, Vitamin E, Omega 3&6," making it a good choice, says the health-conscious chef.

Like Irvine, Epicurious says vegetable oil works well for deep frying because it can handle extremely high heat with a smoke point between 440° and 450°F. Moreover, the website points out, it is more cost-effective, and as Irvine stated, and is flavor-neutral. Peanut, canola, sunflower, or rice bran are also flavor-neutral options that can stand up to high temperatures.

Of course, none of this means you should stop using olive oil. In fact, it has health benefits that can make it a valuable part of your diet, including reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. It even has antioxidants and antibacterial properties and can reduce inflammation, according to Healthline. So keep a bottle of extra virgin olive oil in your pantry, and use it for pan-frying, adding a light olive oil flavor to vegetables, and in salad dressings (via Spoon University).