What Is The Best Oil For Frying Donuts?

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We’ve all had those days when we want to stuff our faces with sweet treats and there are few things better than fresh donuts out of the fryer.

However, there isn’t anything worse than biting into the donut and being greeted with an overly oily taste.

This is because a lot of donuts are cooked in the wrong kind of oil which then affects the overall taste. So if you’re wanting to make your own donuts, what is the best oil to fry your donuts in?

The simple way to think about it is that any oil with a neutral flavor is going to work best. This is because you’re not going to have that oily aftertaste when you eat the donuts. 

Some of the best options on the market are canola oil and sunflower oil as they are neutral oils that are widely available and sold at a great price point.

Canola oil specifically is the one of the best choices because it has a light color, mild flavor and a high smoke point making it ideal for frying donuts.

However, we’ll be taking you through the best oils that you should consider, what their qualities are and concluding the guide with some information on what oil the top donut companies in the world use when frying their donuts. 

How donuts are fried

The first thing that you should learn is how donuts are fried. This will ensure that you know what to expect and how the process works. It can be quite a complicated process so it’s important that you follow the recipe you are using thoroughly.

If you are frying donuts, it’s highly recommended to make your donuts from scratch rather than buying premade ones that are ready to fry. This means you’ll have a fresher taste and will be much more satisfying.

The first step is activating the yeast which will help to create the fluffy texture that donuts have. 

The next step is to combine the ingredients given in your recipe to create a dough then knead and shape the dough into individual donuts.

Now you have created the donuts and it’s time to fry them. 

It’s important to know that frying donuts helps to make the outside of the donut crisp. Contrary to popular belief, making sure the dough is airy before frying is going to ensure that the inside is fluffy rather than actual frying itself. 

When frying your donuts, make sure that they are cooked all the way through and are lightly crisp on the outside with a golden brown color. When you taste it, you shouldn’t be able to taste a lot of oil. Of course, this will all depend on what oil you use.

Oil requirements when frying donuts

As mentioned before, it’s important to make sure that the oil that you choose has a neutral flavor. This means that the flavor of the donut is not being overpowered by the oil whilst it is frying or ruining the crisp texture on the outside. 

To test the oil, simply dip a teaspoon into the oil and taste it to determine which one has the most neutral flavor. This will save you any disappointment once the donuts have fried. 

When frying the donuts, the oil will have to reach temperatures between 345-390 degrees without smoking or reaching the point of ignition, often referred to as the flash point.

Make sure the oil that you choose has a smoke point of at least 400 degrees to prevent any accidents or damage occurring in your kitchen. 

This factor doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the donuts will be fried to perfection but if you are wanting to use the oil regularly, especially to make donuts then you have to do it as safely as possible. 

Bear in mind that frying donuts requires a lot of oil use each time as it will need replacing, especially if you are making a large amount. It’s not advised to spend too much money on your oil because it will end up costing a lot.

The best oils for frying donuts

Now is the section that you’ve come here for.

We’ve gathered some of the best types of oil that you should use and the functionalities and qualities that they have. This will help you to come to a decision to see which one is best for you. 

Refined sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is made from pressed sunflower seeds as you may have expected. Refined sunflower oil means that it has been through a refining process which strips it of the naturally intense flavor and color which is ideal for frying donuts.

If the sunflower oil isn’t refined then you may find that it has a bit of a flavor and natural coloring in comparison to refined sunflower oil. 

Refined sunflower oil provides a very neutral flavored oil which won’t incorporate any additional flavors into the donut whilst frying and the light color means that you can fry your donuts for longer periods of time without burning it. 

It’s always best to check the smoking point of the individual oils that you are looking at to make sure that it can handle the high temperatures.

Refined sunflower oils tend to have an extremely high smoking point with an average between 450-500 degrees making it perfect for frying donuts. 

Another advantage of refined sunflower oil is that it is very affordable and accessible for all households and you can purchase individual bottles or buy it in bulk making it great for businesses and recreational use alike. 

Refined canola oil

Our second recommendation is canola oil which is available in both refined and unrefined forms.

Both can technically be used for frying donuts but the refined canola oil is particularly great for frying as it has a very high smoke point, light color and can allow your donuts to cook thoroughly on the inside before giving that golden brown color on the outside.

On the other hand, unrefined canola oil has a lower smoking point, darker color and tends to be more expensive on the whole as well which makes refined canola oil the better of the two options. 

Another factor that comes with refined canola oil is that it has even less flavor than unrefined sunflower oil which means that your dough will be even more unaffected by the oil if you decide to use this. 

If you plan on frying your donuts for a longer period of time then refined canola oil is the best choice as it has a lighter color than sunflower oil meaning that you can fry the donuts on a lower heat for long periods of time. 

Although both sunflower and canola oil are cheaper options, refined canola oil is even cheaper because it has been made from flowers that can be found around the world and the extraction process isn’t as tedious.

Oils that you should avoid

Here are some other options that you should consider that are not as beneficial as sunflower or canola oils but are good alternatives.

There are also some options that you should completely avoid which we will begin with. 

Vegetable shortening

Vegetable shortening refers to a fat that becomes solid at room temperature with margarine being the most common example.

There are many reasons as to why vegetable shortenings are not suitable for frying anything with the main factor being that they burn at high temperatures and can become black or brown.

When frying donuts, you’ll be setting the heat to a high temperature which means your donuts will be frying in a brown oil which will then seep into the dough and burn the outside of the donut before the inside is thoroughly cooked. 

Another reason that vegetable shortening should be avoided is that it needs to be melted down right before using it which is time consuming and will also mean that the oil will have turned brown before putting the donuts in to fry.

Also, there is no way to store the oil effectively afterwards as it will solidify when not in use meaning that you’re also wasting supplies. 

Although vegetable shortening is available at great price points, it has a much shorter shelf life than other oils meaning that you have to use it quickly after purchasing. Also, you will need a whole lot more vegetable shortening than oil because of the amount of oil that is required when frying donuts. 


One of the worst options available is butter.

Not only is it extremely expensive due to the amount that you would need to purchase for frying but it also has a smoking point of 250 degrees before it completely burns meaning that you wouldn’t even have the opportunity to fry any donuts in it before it has burned.

If that wasn’t enough to put you off, it also has a distinctive flavor and color meaning that your dough is going to be affected if you were to dip the donuts in. 

Flavored Oil

The third option to avoid are flavored oils which refers to oils that have been obtained from flavorful ingredients such as coconut oil, sesame oil and olive oil which means that your donuts are going to be affected when frying and have an aftertaste that may not taste great when frying. 

These options can also be expensive depending on what flavor oil you choose meaning that you’ll be spending a lot of money for an option that isn’t going to give you the best tasting donuts. 

Unrefined Flavored Oils

We have discussed the many benefits of refined oils in our recommendations, but we haven’t delved into why unrefined oils should be avoided.

Most of the time, the oils you will see in the supermarket are unrefined flavored oils that haven’t been processed so they still retain their natural flavor and color. 

The majority of these oils are an intense gold which will give you donuts that desired golden brown color way before the inside has been thoroughly cooked. If you wait until the inside has been cooked properly, the outside will be dark and possibly burned which will affect the overall taste. 

Another factor to understand is that the flavors of the oils are going to be imparted into the dough which is going to give you an odd tasting donut since it will be overly cooked on the outside as well. 

On average, unrefined oils have an extremely low smoking point meaning that it’s more likely that accidents and damage can occur when you’re setting the heat to the high temperature required.

They also are expensive to purchase and are not a viable deep frying option because their harvesting and processing methods are more complex. 

Refined Flavored Oils

Refined flavored oils are not as readily available but like our recommended refined oils, they have a less intense color then unrefined flavored oils, however, they are still a lot darker than refined canola and sunflower oils meaning that you’re still likely to have the issue with the outside burning. 

Even though these flavored oils will have gone through the refining process, they will still retain a small amount of flavoring which will affect the final taste and may leave a bit of an aftertaste once you bite into the donut. 

Non-traditional flavored oils such as avocado oil and coconut oil are not as naturally accustomed to our pallets meaning that the taste will seem more intense and strange, especially when paired with a sweet item like donuts.

Even if you are a fan of the flavor separately, it’s not quite the same when fully cooked and added into another food. 

Depending on the flavor, not all refined flavored oils have a high smoking point meaning that there can be potential damage caused to the kitchen. You want to be sure that it is even capable of being set at the high temperatures before trying it out. 

Lastly, refined flavored oils tend to be sold at higher prices meaning that even if they could perform at the same level as sunflower oil or canola oil, you’re going to be spending a whole lot more because of the amount of oil needed when frying donuts and replacing the oil at frequent intervals. 

What oil does Krispy Kreme fry their donuts in?

Krispy Kreme is one of the most successful donut shops in the world and they have been open about how their donuts are prepared and the oil that they use. When frying their donuts, they use various fats depending on the specific donut.

This is because there are healthy options and crispy options among others plus the goal that Krispy Kreme has to create a donut with 0g of trans fat per donut. 

They use a blend of palm oil, soybean oil, cottonseed and canola oil. It isn’t publicly known what the ratios are but it is highly likely that they are being manufactured by a third party rather than the company themselves. 

What oil does Dunkin Donuts fry their donuts in?

Unlike Krispy Kreme, it isn’t publicly known what Dunkin Donuts fry their donuts in but it is highly likely that they have shifted to palm oil. This is because their donuts used to contain a lot of trans fats per serving.

Although the specific oil isn’t known, it is highly likely that they are using a combination of different oils and fats like Krispy Kreme and that this is achieved by a third party manufacturer. 

What kind of oil do bakeries use to fry donuts?

When it comes to what bakeries use to fry their donuts, it’s dependent on that particular business. However, it’s safe to assume that they don’t have the same access to the best manufacturers that Krispy Kremes and Dunkin Donuts have.

This means that they are more likely to go for a more cost effective option including sunflower oil and canola oil which eliminates the chances of it being any refined or unrefined flavored oils. 

Another factor to think about is that bakeries focus on the quality of their dough and want that to stand out so they don’t want to add any flavors whilst they are deep frying.

This means that it is likely to be refined palm oil, sunflower oil or canola oil which are among the best options to create the best taste. 


If you are wanting to make your own perfect donuts, you could try to buy a blend from a supplier who specializes in this. However, as most suppliers tend to businesses, it is unlikely that they would sell in smaller quantities. 

The best options that you should consider outside of a supplier is either refined sunflower oil or refined canola oil because of the light color and neutral flavor.

They are also extremely cost effective making them perfect for those who want to try and make donuts for the first time or those who want to make donuts in the comfort of their own home. 

You can buy sunflower and canola oils in a variety of different quantities meaning that you can easily buy the amount that you need. The high smoking point means that it is unlikely to burn and you’ll get that golden brown exterior whilst the inside is thoroughly cooked.

Once you’ve made your first batch of donuts, you’ll find that it is an easy process and want to make even more. 

What Is The Best Oil For Frying Donuts?

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 1 vote


  • Refined sunflower oil
  • Refined canola oil


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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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