We all love French fries, but deep down inside, we also know that they’re unhealthy in one way or another. And the first health concern is the use of partially hydrogenated oils. If hydrogenated oils are bad for health, then what’s the best oil for french fries? In this article, we will introduce you to the different types of oils best for french fries.
The Best Oil for French Fries
Before we discuss the best oil for french fries, let’s understand why we need these alternative oils to cook our french fries. What is partially hydrogenated oil and why is it hazardous to our health? Full and partially hydrogenated oil molecules contain trans fats, which can potentially increase cholesterol and cause cardiovascular problems.
Let’s now look at healthier alternatives to partially hydrogenated oils. Here are seven of the best oils for french fries.
1. Flaxseed oil for french fries
All oils contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The higher the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the healthier the oil.
Of all the oils, flaxseed oil contains the highest ratio with of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (1:0.3). Thus, flaxseed oil is considered the world’s healthiest oil, as well as one among best oil for french fries.
2. Canola oil for french fries
With high omega-3 fatty acids, canola oil is an unsaturated fats oil. Its heart-friendly attributes have made canola oil popular with fitness fanatics.
Canola oil can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. It can also reduce platelet aggregation, and thus, prevents blood clot formation. The ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 in canola oil is 1:2. Its smoke point is 600°F.
3. Olive oil for french fries
Olive oil is revered for its excellent oleic acid content. Oleic acid contains monounsaturated fats that reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol. Therefore, olive oil is beneficial to health, especially the heart.
Olive oil an excellent choice for frying french fries since it has a high smoke point. It is not only one of the best oil for french fries, but also the best one for cooking and sauteing, or just add it to your salads. However, be sure to check if it is pomace oil in case you want to heat it.
Related: Benefits of Olive Oil
4. Peanut oil for french fries
Peanut oil is quite similar to olive oil in properties. It has saturated fats but is free of trans fats and cholesterol. It has phytosterols which are beneficial for reducing bad cholesterol.
Peanut oil has a good amount of omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturated fatty acids, and thus, takes good care of cardiovascular health. Peanut oil also has vitamin E.
5. Sunflower oil for french fries
Sunflower oil is light and odorless and comes from pressed sunflower seeds. This oil is rich in vitamin E and is low in saturated fats.
Although sunflower oil contains both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, refined sunflower oil is high in monounsaturated fats and oleic acid. Its stability and high smoke point of 450°F, make sunflower oil an excellent deep-frying oil.
6. Cottonseed oil for french fries
This oil is not as healthy as the other oils, yet it is the most widely used oil in the American diet. It contains 70% unsaturated fatty acids including palmitic acid (22 to 26%), linoleic acid (49 to 58%), oleic acid (15 to 20%), as well as arachidic, behenic and lignoceric acid (10%). Cottonseed oil has a high smoke point of 450°F and is low in trans fats.
7. Rice bran oil for french fries
One oil that beats the revered olive oil is rice bran oil. It contains antioxidants like vitamin E, and it can lower cholesterol levels. It is high in monounsaturated fats and surpasses olive oil in smoke point at 490F.
While the oils above are great deep-frying oil choices, fast food restaurants usually use vegetable oil like these.
8. Soybean Oil
Like other healthy oils, soybean oil is also low in saturated fats, contains good amounts of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, and has no trans fat. So, while this may not be the best oil for french fries, it is still a good option.
With a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, soybean oil has a significant vitamin E content. Its smoke point is 450°F and is considered a healthy oil for making french fries.
9. Corn Oil
Corn oil is an unhealthy vegetable oil that contains a high amount of saturated fats. It is low in heart-protective alpha-linolenic acid compared to soybean oil. Also, this oil does have traces of trans fatty acids.
So, using corn oil for french fries is certainly not the best choice of oil. Corn oil is less expensive than soybean oil, and thus, it is widely used by most fast food chains and the food industry in general.
So, of all the vegetable oils we compared, flaxseed, rice bran, peanut, and canola, all have a better nutritional profile and are the best oils for french fries. They contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats, good ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and have a high smoke point. High smoke or flash point oils do not burn easily, which makes them ideal for searing meat and frying foods like french fries.
Best Oil Temperature for French Fries
For a long time, making french fries seemed like an art mastered only by McDonald’s. But, it’s not rocket science. So after you know the best oil for french fries, you have to know the best oil temperature for french fries and how long to fry french fries in oil.
To get the perfect “soft in the middle and crispy on the surface” french fries, soak the potato sticks in cold water for at least an hour first. Then, drain the potato sticks and allow them to dry off completely.
Next, heat the oil to 300°F in a pot and fry them for four to five minutes. Transfer the fries to a bowl. Crank up the temperature to 400°F, and fry them again. Double-frying the potatoes will make their exterior crispy and perfectly golden.
Homemade French Fries Recipes
Well now that you know the best oil for french fries and ideal temperature for frying it, here are two easy recipes to make golden and crispy french fries.
Homemade Crispy Seasoned French Fries Recipe
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
- 2 ½ pounds of russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 teaspoon of onion salt
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of water, or as needed
- 1 cup of vegetable oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
Cut the potatoes into thin slices and soak them in cold water.
Pour oil into a large skillet and heat it to 375°F. Meanwhile, sift flour, garlic salt, onion salt, regular salt, and paprika into a large bowl.
Stir in water to make a slightly runny consistency. Dip the potato slices into the batter, and gently place them in the skillet. Fry them until golden and crispy. Drain the excess oil on paper towel.
Serve with tomato ketchup.
French Fried Potatoes Recipe
- ¹⁄3 cup of white sugar
- 2 cups of warm water
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch strips
- 6 cups of vegetable oil for frying
- Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the potatoes into thin sticks. Dissolve the sugar in warm water and place the potato sticks into the bowl. Let them soak for 15 minutes. Drain the water and let them dry off.
Next, heat oil in deep-fryer to 375°F. Carefully add the potato slices into the oil and fry them for seven minutes.
Drain them on paper towels. Season with salt or pepper to taste.
Now that you are aware of the best oil for french fries and easy recipes to make them, you can try these at home and enjoy them every occasionally. You should practice moderation when eating deep-fried foods like french fries. But, potatoes do contain a good amount of potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A and C, and a few other nutrients. However, deep frying has made them notorious. So, while you can enjoy this versatile tuber deep-fried, remember that there are healthier ways to eat potatoes.
- Benefits of Canola, Peanut, Corn and Sesame Oil
- McDonald’s Fries: Ingredients, Nutrition & Recipes
- Disadvantages of Eating French Fries
Warner, J., “Corn Oil Used Most Often for French Fries,” WebMD, January 19, 2010; http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20100119/corn-oil-used-most-often-french-fries, last accessed April 5, 2017.
“Oil, vegetable, industrial, canola for salads, woks and light frying Nutrition Facts & Calories,” SELF NutritionData; https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7947/2, last accessed April 6, 2017.