We all have multiple bottles of partially used oil in the kitchen and pantry and the temptation is strong to combine them in the frying pan just to use them up.
When it comes to frying you have to be careful when using up your leftover oils.
Yes, you can mix oils when you’re frying, but there are things to take into consideration. The temperature you’re frying at will have a profound effect on which oils are safe to use. Each oil has a smoke point or the temperature at which it will start to smoke and potentially catch fire.
When mixing oils for frying, make sure to only use oils with a similar smoke point, like vegetable, sunflower, and corn oil.
When you’re pan frying, you’re looking at using temperatures ranging from 325 to 400 degrees F. It’s perfectly okay to mix oils for pan frying, chefs do it all the time. Certain oils have stronger flavors and you can use something like vegetable oil to mellow them down.
When choosing your oils for pan frying, make sure all of them have smoke points higher than 400 degrees F. Each oil you choose should have very close smoke points.
Most deep frying uses some type of vegetable oil. Actually, your average bottled vegetable oil is already a mix of different vegetable oils.
You can add other oils to adjust the flavor of the oil you use for deep frying and even to adjust the crispy crunch of your finished product.
Match the smoke points. It can’t be said enough. You always want to pick complementary oils that carry the same or close smoke points.
For deep frying, you can consider sunflower oil, canola, or corn oil to accompany your vegetable oil.
What are the Pros and Cons of Mixing Oil When Frying?
- Can help adjust the flavor profile
- Different oils will give your dish different levels of crunch
- Mixing oils can mellow out a stronger oil flavor like sesame oil
- Oils with low smoke points can start on fire
- Some oils have very strong flavors that can ruin your dish
- Some oils have harmful compounds that can release into your food
Which Oils Can You Mix and Not Mix When Frying?
There are several oils you can mix. Just make sure you take smoke points and flavor into account. Your smoke points should be within 50 degrees of each other.
Peanut and Canola Oil
While peanut oil has a distinctive flavor, it can be mixed with canola oil for deep frying. They have similar smoke points at 400 and 450. Just make sure your frying temp is under 400. Even if it doesn’t obviously smoke or start a fire, it will give your food a burnt flavor.
Check your peanut oil. The smoke point of your peanut oil will vary a little according to the brand you’re using.
Vegetable and Canola
For deep frying these neutral oils have little flavor and are a great option to mix when deep frying.
Crisco and Vegetable Oil
Crisco is technically a type of vegetable oil. You’ll have to blend the two oils ahead of time as Crisco is a solid at room temperature. This can be done on the stovetop. Melt the Crisco down and add in your vegetable oil. To emulsify the two oils you’ll need to bring them up to the highest possible smoke point and then bring it back down to your cooking temperature.
Sesame Oil and Vegetable Oil
Make sure to use refined sesame oil, but this mixture is great, especially for Asian cooking. Mixing the strongly flavored sesame with vegetable oil is a good way to mellow out the flavor. Having a strong flavor from your oils can ruin the added flavors of any sauces and spices.
Avocado Oil and Vegetable Oil
Avocado oil is a great oil for frying as it has the highest smoke point out there. However, it has a strong flavor and a high price.
You can mix avocado oil with vegetable oil for frying, just follow the smoke point of the vegetable oil you’re using rather than that of the avocado oil. The vegetable oil will help mellow out the flavors of the avocado.
If you’ll note on the chart below, avocado oil has a smoke point over 50 degrees higher than that of most vegetable oils. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing what oils to mix.
|Oil||Smoke Point (° F)|
|Refined Avocado Oil||570|
|Rice Bran Oil||490|
|Light Olive Oil||465|
|Refined Coconut Oil||450|
|Refined Sesame Oil||410|
Oils with low smoke points are the best to mix. The oils below are far better used in other ways like salad dressing. Any oils with a smoke point lower than 400 degrees are not recommended for mixing into your fry oil combinations.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Vegetable Oil
Some say you can mix these two, but it’s best to only do this if you know exactly what you’re doing. Some will claim that olive oil has far too low a smoke point for any frying, but in actuality, olive oils have a range of 300 to 468 degrees F when it comes to smoke points. If you know your olive oil and its smoke points then give it a try.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a much lower smoke point and shouldn’t be used.
Canola and Olive Oil
Much light vegetable oil, it’s not advised to mix canola and olive oil unless you know what you’re doing.
Butter and Vegetable Oil
Beyond the difficult process of mixing a solid oil and a liquid oil, it’s not a good idea to use butter for deep frying. Butter has a smoke point of around 300 degrees and most frying is done well above this temperature.
In fact, it’s almost impossible to deep fry anything at 300 degrees. You’d have to wait quite a long time for it to cook, which increases your chances of burning your dish significantly.
|Oil||Smoke Point (° F)|
|Unrefined Sesame Oil||350|
|Extra Virgin Coconut Oil||350|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil||325-375|
The simple answer is, yes, but it depends. Don’t just dump a bunch of oils together and hope for the best.
Pay attention to two things: what temperature are you frying at, and what is the smoke point of the oils you want to use. As long as the smoke points aren’t lower than your frying temp and they’re within 50 degrees of each other, then give it a try.