The best oil for air fryer

Wondering what is the best oil for an air fryer? This helpful guide outlines the best options, including avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil and ghee. Read this before adding oil to your favorite kitchen appliance!

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When I first bought my air fryer, I will admit that I had to learn a lot about the best ways to use it. I knew it was capable of so much, but I also wasn’t sure what was safe to put in it.

One of the biggest questions on my mind was: what is the best oil for an air fryer? I didn’t want any accidents that could break my air fryer, and I certainly didn’t want to risk a fire.

Since I’m sure many of my fellow air fryer owners have also wondered about oil in air fryers, I thought I’d put together this helpful guide!

This is just one in a collection of my many articles on air fryer tips. I definitely recommend reading them before you start air frying at home.

There are many different types of oil that are perfectly safe to use in your air fryer, but not all are created equal.

Some are much better than others, and some you’ll want to avoid all together. Let’s explore your options together!

Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:

  • The best air fryer oil plus a few others to try.
  • Answers to questions like: can you use olive oil in a deep fryer? Is canola oil good for an air fryer? Plus many more!
  • Some recommendations for recipes that require you to use oil in your deep fryer.

Use this helpful article to guide you when using oil in your recipes to prevent burning and smoke. All your air fryer oil questions answered!

deep fryer peppers

Does my air fryer need oil?

It is important to note that not all deep fryer recipes require added oil. You usually won’t need to add any to frozen foods like chicken fries, bagel bites, and French fries.

Why? There is already enough oil in these foods that you won’t need to add any more.

If you’re not cooking from frozen, I recommend adding a little oil to get that nice crispy and golden brown exterior you’re after.

The good news is that an air fryer requires a lot less oil than you would need in, say, a pan or the oven.

This is one of the reasons I love this appliance so much – you can avoid all that excess oil!

You can also read my article on how to use oil in the deep fryer for more information on which types of food require oil and which do not.

What is Smoke Point?

When we start talking about the best oil for air fryer, it is important to understand the concept of “smoke point”.

All oils have smoke points, and some are higher than others. Smoke point refers to the temperature an oil can withstand before it starts to burn and therefore smoke.

If you cook food in burnt oil, the food will taste charred and burnt – not in a good way.

While you may want a steak or burger that’s “charred to perfection” on the grill, you don’t want to end up with a burnt mess in your fryer. Trust me!

What is the best oil for an air fryer?

I’ll break the thread: the number one best oil for an air fryer is definitely avocado oil! It has a very high smoke point and boasts a neutral flavor that works with most foods.

The best air fryer oils (with their respective smoke points) are:

  • Avocado oil: 520 degrees F
  • Ghee (clarified butter): 482 degrees F
  • Light olive oil or extra light olive oil: 465-470 degrees F
  • Peanut butter: 450 degrees F
  • Sunflower oil: 450 degrees F
  • Grape seed oil: 420 degrees F
  • Refined coconut oil: 400 degrees F
  • Vegetable oil: 400 degrees F

Keep in mind that oils like peanut and coconut will add a subtle flavor to whatever you combine it with. If you want to keep things more neutral, stick with avocado oil, ghee, or light olive oil.

When should I add oil to my air fryer?

Unlike frying in a pan, you will want to add oil of your choice to the food before placing it in the fryer basket.

Although you can add some oil directly to the basket, you must be extremely careful not to let it come into contact with any of the electrical parts.

My advice? When you learn to use your deep fryer, it’s best to add a little oil directly to the food instead.

Asparagus is sprayed with oil in the fryer basket

Where do I put oil in my air fryer?

again, put it on whatever you want to fry before putting it in the basket.

For example, if you’re making homemade fries or chicken breasts, first mix the main ingredient with oil and any seasonings in a large bowl.

Then you can safely place the seasoned and oiled food in the basket!

Can you use olive oil in an air fryer?

The best oil for the deep fryer in terms of olive oil are the light or extra light varieties. You might be a big fan of extra virgin (EVOO) — I get it, me too! — but has a very low smoke point.

Remember: the higher the smoke point, the better it is for your fryer!

Is canola oil good for an air fryer?

Canola oil is super popular for cooking—you probably have a bottle of it at home. I don’t like using it in the deep fryer, but you can give it a try, especially if that’s what you have on hand!

Canola oil is a vegetable oil, so it has a smoke point of 400 degrees F.

Boiled French fries in a basket with a deep fryer

What oil to use for deep fryer fries?

One of my favorite things to air fry are homemade fries, and I know I’m not alone! The best oil for deep fryer fries is avocado oil. As you can see, this is my top pick!

I have also used light olive oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, and canola oil.

A note on PAM and other sprays

While PAM works great for baking, roasting, and pan-frying, you should never use non-stick cooking spray in your air fryer. These types of oils have added chemicals that will damage the fryer basket lining.

That said, you can absolutely use a non-aerosol oil mister that you can fill with the oil of your choice. Below are some of my favorites:

Other Air Fryer How To Articles You’ll Like:

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