If you're planning to fry food in your home kitchen, you have plenty of oils to choose from. So what's all this you've heard about grapeseed oil, and can you use grapeseed oil for frying? Like other vegetable oils, grapeseed oil is a great source of healthy fats.
It's also important to remember that even though fat is an important part of a healthy diet, it's still calorically dense, and cooking methods that use heavy amounts of oil — such as frying — aren't always the best for people who are watching their weight.
Here are some tips on how you can use grapeseed oil for cooking.
Why Grapeseed Oil?
When you're choosing an oil for frying, it's important that you choose one with a high smoking point — that is, a temperature at which the oil starts to break down and develop a bad taste and smell, according to the USDA. It's also bad to heat oil past its smoking point because, as the Mayo Clinic points out, smoking can destroy some of the oil's nutritional qualities.
Grapeseed oil has a smoking point of about 445 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's higher than that of olive oil or corn oil, which have smoking points of 410 F, but not as high as that of peanut oil or soybean oil, which have smoking points of 450 F.
Grapeseed oil is made from the seeds of grapes that remain after wine production, as explained by the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This oil is high in polyunsaturated fat and rich in vitamin E, and works well because of its mild flavor. Use grapeseed oil for cooking in a variety of ways because it works equally well in frying, in baked goods or in salad dressings and marinades.
Read more: Why You Need to Eat Fat to Burn Fat
Grapeseed Oil for Frying
Once you decide that you'll use grapeseed oil for frying, you'll need to decide which foods you're using it to fry and whether you'll be using a deep fryer or a frying pan. The latter is the smarter choice for several reasons.
First, experts such as those with the Cleveland Clinic and the American Heart Association discourage deep-fat frying because of the amount of fat the food takes on in the cooking process — pan-frying is far healthier. An October 2015 study published in Nutrients points out that frequent consumption of deep-fried food can result in type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart failure.
Additionally, grapeseed oil is a specialty oil, so the American Heart Association notes that it might be available only at specialty grocers. It's not the kind of oil you want to use in large quantities to fill a deep fryer.
Here's how to use grapeseed oil for frying:
- Choose a deep, heavy frying pan or skillet, but avoid using cast iron. As the USDA explains, cast iron breaks down oil far faster than other metals.
- Pour the grapeseed oil into the pan, leaving at least 2 inches between the surface line of the oil and the rim of the pan. This will prevent the oil from overflowing once food is added.
- Measure the temperature of the oil using a frying thermometer. Most food will cook between 320 F and 375 F. Remember that you do not want to heat grapeseed oil above 445 F.
- Cut your food into small, uniform pieces no larger than 1 inch thick. If the food is moist, be sure to pat it dry to avoid causing an oil splatter when you put it in the oil.
- Use tongs, a slotted spoon or a slotted spatula to put the food in the oil. Do not use plastic utensils, which will melt. Use metal utensils instead.
Read more: How to Deep Fry Breaded Chicken Breasts
Other Tips for Grapeseed Oil
Even though grapeseed oil has a smoking point that can handle frying, common oils like peanut, sesame and soybean oil might be better choices because of their lower price. Reserve grapeseed oil for cooking on special occasions and in recipes that require less oil, such as baking or roasting.
And remember that grapeseed oil is only one of several types of specialty oils you can choose from. When comparing grapeseed oil versus avocado oil, both are versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking methods.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics describes avocado oil as having an earthy, grassy flavor and a bit of an avocado flavor to it. Like grapeseed oil, it's rich in vitamin E, but it also has the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Avocado oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats whereas grapeseed oil is higher in polyunsaturated fats.
However, if you do decide to use specialty oils for frying despite the cost, in the debate of grapeseed oil versus avocado oil, grapeseed oil wins out because of its higher smoking point.
- USDA: “Deep Fat Frying and Food Safety”
- Mayo Clinic: “Which Type of Oil Should I Use for Cooking with High Heat?”
- Cleveland Clinic: “Heart-Healthy Oils: What You Need to Know”
- American Heart Association: “Healthy Cooking Oils”
- Nutrients: “Fried Food Consumption and Cardiovascular Health: A Review of Current Evidence”
- Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Avocado, Grapeseed and Walnut Oils – Worth the Hype and Expense?”