Why Peanut Oil Is Great for Deep-Frying

That's Nuts

A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.


[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Edit: This post has been edited for content to remove allergy advice related to peanut oil.

As summer approaches, so does the season for carnivals and festivals, which continue to prove that anything can be thrown into a deep-fryer. Ever wonder what kind of oil the "fry guys" use? More often than not it's peanut oil.

That's no surprise considering that a number of restaurant chains including Chick-fil-A and Five Guys swear by peanut oil, prominently advertising that they use it exclusively for all of their deep-frying needs. Peanut oil has a high smoke point and neutral taste which makes it perfect for frying foods. It's also low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, making it healthier than frying with shortening or lard.

Cooking with peanut oil isn't an exclusively American thing. Peanut oil has been used throughout Asia for years. In fact, most Chinese restaurants in the U.S. use peanut oil exclusively in the kitchen.

One interesting thing about refined peanut oil, the kind used for most cooking and frying, is that it is made from raw (not roasted) peanuts and is processed under high heat, which eliminates all of the protein. Cold pressed, or roasted aromatic peanut oil, on the other hand, does contain peanut proteins.

And while it's a little early to start thinking about Thanksgiving, peanut oil is every turkey fryer's best friend!

Do you use peanut oil to deep fry at home, or prefer another oil variety?