Deep frying fish is a delicious way of preparing a crispy, mouth-watering meal. That’s right!
You can deep fry fish and it can be cooked using the same cooking oils as other meats. However, sometimes, the fish may not turn out as you desired it. This could be down to the oil you are using.
If you want to get the best fried fish results, you will need to look for oil that has high-smoke points and a flavor that combines perfectly with fish without taking away its unique taste.
Examples of compatible oil with fish are peanut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and safflower oil.
Choosing the right oil to deep fry fish can be a difficult task. There are many considerations to take into account and that is exactly what we have done.
After thorough research, we have dangled our rod and caught the 5 best oils for deep frying fish.
Keep on reading to discover the best oils for making your crispy fried seafood the tastiest you’ve ever had!
OUR TOP PICK
For a neutralized taste that blends perfectly with your fish, one of the best oils for deep frying fish is canola. Made from the rapeseed plant, this is a very light oil that is easily found in most stores.
This Amazon Brand Happy Belly Canola Oil will add versatility to your cooking and will help your fish become crispy while maintaining its seafood taste.
It is important to use quite a lot of oil when deep-frying food. Thankfully, this canola oil comes in a large 128 fluid ounces container which should last a while. With its neutral flavor, Happy Belly Canola Oil won’t dominate any taste from your fish.
The best oils for frying fish need to have a high smoke point and, fortunately, this has a very high one of 400 °F. This means the oil is very stable and refined and can withstand high heast when cooking without ever breaking down.
- Neutral flavor - Won’t overshadow fish’s taste
- Large quantity - 128 fluid ounces available for long-lasting use
- Inexpensive - One of the cheaper oils on the market helping to save you money
- Bottle has no handle - Can be a little difficult to pour out resulting in possible overspillage
Peanut oil is one of the go-to choices for deep frying fish, as well as a whole host of other food. Coming in a large 1-gallon container, Snappy Popcorn peanut oil will be your number one choice of oil when cooking fish for a long time to come.
Although it is peanut oil, you won’t find the taste of peanuts overwhelming due to its supreme lightness.
This has a very high smoke point of 400 °F so there will be no need to worry about the oil burning and leaving your kitchen encompassed with smoke. Just ensure you keep an eye on the temperature.
Thanks to a neutral flavor, we found Snappy Popcorn peanut butter is the perfect companion for deep frying your delicious fish.
- High smoke point - At 400 °F, you shouldn’t have to worry about the oil burning up or smoke appearing
- Neutral flavor - Won’t overpower the fish taste
- Large 1-gallon container - Should last a long time for many meals as well as fish
- Very little taste - Some customers have found the taste isn’t very strong and could hardly experience any peanut flavor
Grapeseed oil is another fantastic choice to deep fry your fish and leave it crispy and delicious. If you want to pan-fry or saute your fish, La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil could be the ideal choice for you.
While some Canola oils are heavily processed, Grapeseed oil is more natural and tends to be a healthier option.
Not only is it tasty with an array of foods but it has a high smoke point of 420 °F so you can cook with the confidence that it shouldn’t burn. Its taste is very mild and its versatility will suit many meals in your kitchen.
As this bottle is a little smaller than many on the market, it is best for pan-frying fish and may not be the most cost-efficient choice for deep pan fryers.
- Versatile - Can be used on a variety of different foods
- Mild flavor - Won’t overwhelm the taste of fish thanks to a neutral flavor
- Healthy - Proven to be good for your heart and healthier than options such as canola oil
- Smaller bottle - May not be the most cost-efficient choice for deep frying
We’ve seen canola, peanut, and grapeseed oil but now is the turn of sunflower oil. Spectrum Natural Organic Hi Heat Sunflower Oil is derived from the seeds of sunflowers.
These seeds are pressed and the oil is regularly used for frying foods. Sporting a natural flavor, this sunflower oil won’t interfere with the taste of your fish.
If you’re in the mood for some fish and chips, Spectrum Naturals sunflower oil is the best option. Sunflower oil is perfect for producing light and crispy fried fish as well as potatoes. You should be careful which sunflower oil you purchase, however.
It is advised you opt for refined sunflower oil as it typically has a higher smoke point than unrefined varieties. Refined sunflower oils usually range from 440 to 450 °F while unrefined oils have a smoking point of around 225 °F which isn’t suitable for deep-frying fish.
- Ideal for frying fish - One of the most common and favorite choices for deep frying fish and potatoes
- Neutral taste - Won’t interfere with the fish flavor
- Great packaging - Has an excellent pouring filter to prevent over pouring and is easy to hold
- Thicker texture to other brands - Tends to be a little thicker than other oils which is not to everyone’s taste
Last, but not least, is Spectrum Organic Safflower Oil. With the highest smoke point of all at 510 °F, this safflower oil is the perfect choice for deep frying appetizing fish. As a refined product, you will be getting the best quality oil that will not burn and ruin your meal.
Safflower oil, such as Spectrum Organics, has a neutral flavor that won’t bury your fish’s bright and unique taste at all.
This refined safflower oil is also high in monounsaturated fats which has a number of health benefits such as helping with weight loss and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Other oils that are higher in these fats are always a better and healthier choice, especially when cooking with high heat.
- Very high smoke point - Very little risk of burning up and creating a smoke storm with a smoke point of 510 °F
- High in monounsaturated fats - Very beneficial to your health, supporting weight loss, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and decreasing inflammation
- Neutral, bland taste - Bland is a good thing when it comes to oil as it doesn’t overpower the flavors of the food you’re cooking
- Includes traces of gluten - Some customers with gluten allergies have become ill after using this oil
Best Oils for Deep Frying Fish Buying Guide
Now you have seen the 5 best oils for getting your fish crispy and delicious, there are some key considerations to look out for when choosing the right oil.
The Smoke Point
If you don’t consider anything else, you should definitely look at the smoke point of the oil. For deep frying, it is recommended you find an oil with a high smoke point. This is because deep-frying temperatures generally reach 350 to 375 °F.
Oil with a lower smoke point than these temperatures will begin to break down and become useless for deep frying any food, let alone fish. Always ensure the oil you are purchasing for deep frying can handle the extreme heat necessary.
It is recommended you choose an oil with a neutral flavor as these won’t interfere with the taste of the fish, especially when deep-fried.
The oil should have one primary job, to make your fish crispy. If it overpowers the flavor of the fish, you could spoil the meal. Therefore, it’s important the oil is light with a mild or neutral taste so you can still tell what fish you are eating once it is fried.
Choosing an oil that impedes the flavor transfer is also something to consider. If you’re not sure what flavor transfer is, it’s when oil absorbs all the flavors of the food you are deep frying. The oil then keeps that food’s flavor and transfers it to the next batch of food that needs to be fried.
You shouldn’t use the oil you deep-fried fish in with other foods anyway as the combined flavors could be terrible. It’s advised you avoid mixing different types of fish with the same oil but, if you have to, choosing an oil that doesn’t transfer such flavors will help you the next time you have to fry something tasty.
Refined vs Unrefined
Refined oils are the types you want to use when deep-frying fish. These usually have a much higher smoking point so can, therefore, withstand higher heat than unrefined oils.
Refined oil has better oxidation stability which helps it withstand heat and, at the same time, maintain its original flavor and fat content.
Olive oil has strong stability and a high smoke point so is an ideal choice for deep frying fish. Refined oil is also more pure meaning that there is more oil and fewer impurities in the ingredients when compared to unrefined oil.
Although most oils are labeled as refined, you can tell if it’s truly refined by its bright gold color. This usually points to the oil having less of a flavor which is perfect for deep frying.
There are some drawbacks of using refined oils as several are highly processed and lose a lot of their healthy fats once past their smoking point. Many oils also come from GMO (genetically modified organism) plants which can be unhealthy due to toxic fertilizers and pesticides that they are sprayed with.
Always check the ingredients and whether the oil has come from GMO-plants if you are against this.
What are the best oils to use when deep frying a fish?
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, 100% peanut oil or non-GMO cold-pressed vegetable oil are the best choices. These usually herald great results and don’t take anything away from your fish’s flavor.
Another option is to use blended oils including a premium oil. Oils such as these can have a premium blend of olive oil and canola oil which are an ideal combination for getting your fish light and crispy without losing any flavors.
If you’re looking for the healthiest option, you should go for coconut oil. This oil has a high resistance to heat due to its high amount of fatty acids. As well as this, coconut oil has a neutral, slightly sweet flavor that can complement many meals.
Lastly, you could opt for straight premium oil which is either refined or cold-pressed olive or avocado oil. Although these oils tend to be costlier than others, they usually last longer than refined vegetable oils.
What is the best way to deep fry fish?
Not all fish are suitable for deep frying such as salmon or tuna. However, catfish, halibut, and trout are some of the best fish for this type of cooking.
For the best deep-fried fish, you should:
- Maintain a high heat - Wait for the heat to rise before submerging your fish into the oil. If you put it in too early, your fish will soak up a lot of the oil and leave it heavy and greasy. The ideal temperature for frying any fish is around 360 to 380 °F.
- Fry smaller pieces of fish - Never put too much fish in to deep fry as this can result in unevenly cooked fish. You should fry smaller quantities of fish, no matter what oil you are using. Check on the fish as it fries and before long, it will be ready to serve up!