The 7 best oils for frying turkey
When it comes to cooking turkey, roasting is the most common method. However, if you’re looking for something different and want to avoid the lengthy prep and roasting process, deep frying turkey is an excellent option. Deep frying results in incredibly crispy skin and moist meat. An important factor to consider when deep-frying turkey is the choice of oil. In this article, we will explore the seven best oils for frying turkey and discuss the important factors to consider when choosing the optimal oil.
The smoke point of an oil refers to the temperature at which it begins to break down and produce smoke. Different oils have different smoke points, and oils with high smoke points are better for frying. Deep-frying turkey involves cooking at high temperatures, so it’s important to choose an oil that can withstand the heat. Here are some common cooking oils and their smoke points:
- Avocado oil: 570°F
- Safflower Oil: 510°F
- Soybean oil (refined): 460°F
- Peanut oil: 450°F
- Coconut oil (refined): 450°F
- Sunflower oil: 450°F
- Rice bran oil: 450°F
- Corn oil: 440°F
- Canola oil (refined): 400°F
- Vegetable oil: 400°F
Type of oil (refined and light)
The degree of refinement of an oil affects its smoke point. In general, lighter colored oils have higher smoke points than darker colored oils. The more refined an oil is, the higher its smoke point will be. The refining process removes impurities that can cause the oil to smoke. When frying turkey, it’s important to choose an oil with a high smoke point to avoid off-flavors. Light-colored oils are usually the best choice for frying turkey.
The flavor of the oil can significantly affect the taste of the fried turkey. Fried turkey should retain its natural flavor, and the oil used should either maintain or enhance that flavor. Neutral oils are ideal for frying turkey because they allow the natural flavor of the turkey to shine through. Peanut oil, although it imparts a nutty flavor, works exceptionally well with turkey and is one of the best choices for frying. When choosing an oil for frying turkey, consider its flavor profile and how it complements the turkey.
Frying turkey requires a large amount of oil. Depending on the size of the turkey, you may need between 3-6 gallons of oil. Considering the cost of the oil is important, especially if you are using a significant amount. While some oils have desirable properties, they can be expensive. Peanut oil and soybean oil are inexpensive options to consider for frying turkey. However, it’s important to weigh cost against specific needs and preferences.
The 7 Best Oils for Frying Turkey
Based on their smoke points and compatibility with turkey, here are seven of the best oils for frying turkey:
- Peanut Oil: With a smoke point of 450°F, peanut oil is a popular choice for frying turkey. It has a mild flavor, contains healthy fats, and provides excellent results when used in a turkey fryer. Peanut oil quickly seals the exterior of the turkey, allowing the meat to cook to perfection while retaining moisture.
- Sunflower Oil: Made from sunflower seeds, sunflower oil has a high smoke point and mild flavor. It is suitable for high-heat cooking methods, making it an excellent choice for frying turkey. Sunflower oil is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, making it a relatively healthier option.
- Safflower Oil: Derived from the safflower seed, safflower oil is primarily monounsaturated fat. It has a high smoke point of up to 510°F, making it ideal for frying turkey. Safflower oil can withstand high heat for extended periods of time without affecting the flavor of the turkey.
- Rice Bran Oil: Rice bran oil is derived from the outer layer of rice grains and has a smoke point of approximately 450°F. It is considered a sustainable oil because it uses a by-product of rice processing. Rice bran oil has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the flavor of the turkey. It is also a healthier alternative because it is low in saturated fat.
- Corn Oil: Corn oil has a smoke point similar to peanut oil, about 440°F. It has a light, neutral flavor that allows the flavor of the turkey to shine through. However, corn oil tends to retain the flavor of the food, so caution should be used when reusing it in other dishes. It is an inexpensive option for frying turkey.
- Soybean oil: Refined soybean oil has a smoke point of about 460°F, making it suitable for frying turkey. It has a neutral flavor that won’t overpower the flavor of the turkey. Soybean oil is widely available and relatively affordable, making it a popular choice among home cooks.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil has a high smoke point of 570°F, making it one of the most heat-stable oils available. It has a mild, buttery flavor that can enhance the flavor of the turkey. However, avocado oil tends to be more expensive than other options.
When it comes to frying turkey, choosing the right oil is critical to achieving crispy, flavorful results. Peanut oil, with its high smoke point and mild flavor, is often the first choice for frying turkey. However, other oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and avocado oil also provide excellent results. Consider smoke point, taste, and cost when choosing the best oil for frying turkey. Experimenting with different oils can help you find the perfect one that suits your preferences and produces delicious deep-fried turkey every time.
What is the best oil for frying turkey?
The best oil for frying turkey is peanut oil because of its high smoke point and mild flavor. However, other oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and avocado oil can also be used with excellent results.
Why is the smoke point of the oil important when frying turkey?
The smoke point of the oil is critical for frying turkey because it determines the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and produce smoke. Using an oil with a high smoke point ensures that it can withstand the high cooking temperatures required for frying without giving the turkey a burnt flavor.
Can I reuse the oil after frying a turkey?
Yes, you can reuse the oil after frying a turkey, but it’s important to strain and store it properly. Allow the oil to cool completely before straining out any food particles. Store the oil in a clean, airtight container in a cool, dark place. It is possible to reuse the oil for frying turkey or other foods, but it is recommended that it be used within a few uses to maintain quality and flavor.
Are there healthier oil options for frying turkey?
While frying is generally not considered a healthy cooking method, some oils are healthier than others. Oils such as avocado, sunflower, and safflower are relatively healthier options due to their higher levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These oils also have beneficial properties and can be used for frying turkey.
How much oil do I need to fry a turkey?
The amount of oil needed to fry a turkey depends on the size of the turkey and the type of fryer you are using. As a general guideline, you will need enough oil to fully submerge the turkey with at least a couple of inches of oil above it. It is recommended that you consult the instructions for your specific turkey fryer to determine the exact amount of oil needed based on the size of the turkey.