What Kind of Oil Should I Use to Deep-Fry Wings?

Close-up of a plate of fried chicken wings

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The only hard and fast truth when selecting deep-frying oils for chicken wings is that you select one with a high smoking point. There are many options that fall into this category and your final decision may be based on your pocketbook more than the oil itself. You need at least two to three cups of oil for deep frying, though if handled and stored properly this oil can be reused several times.

Oil Basics

Deep-frying is performed in hot oil at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing many options for oils. Choose an oil that has a high smoke point to ensure that the oil is suitable for frying and does not begin smoking at these temperatures; once an oil has reached its smoke point its quality is markedly decreased and the oil can no longer be reused in future batches. Use a deep-fry or instant-read thermometer to maintain a steady temperature throughout the frying process to ensure that you are able to cook your wings thoroughly while creating a crisp, browned coating. Cool, strain and transfer your oil to a storage container to reuse for frying. Store oil in a dark, cool location.

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is the best oil that is often used for frying because it doesn't absorb flavors of the foods cooked in it. For this reason, it is a great oil to use when frying multiple different types of foods with each maintaining its particular flavor. Peanut oil is low in saturated fat, is trans-fat and cholesterol free and has a smoking point of 470 F, making it an ideal choice for frying foods. Choose refined peanut oil when using it for frying wings for the least flavor, highest smoking point and non-allergenic option.

Vegetable, Soy, Canola and Corn Oils

Vegetable oil, soy oil, canola oil, and corn oils are all commonly used for frying, as they are inexpensive and the most readily available types of cooking oils. All highly refined, these oils have a smoking point around 450 F. These oils are high in polyunsaturated fats which are believed to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. However, vegetable oil is made up of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain trans fats, which can be harmful to your health. All are a suitable choice for frying wings and impart no strong flavors on finished foods.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a suitable choice for frying wings, especially when using pure olive oil as opposed to the more expensive extra virgin olive oil. To fry in olive oil, use a thermometer to closely monitor the temperature of the oil; keep the oil between 350 and 365 F, as the smoke point of olive oil is 375 F. Because there is less room for temperature spikes when frying with olive oil, always use a thick-bottomed pot to ensure an even and constant temperature.

Other Oils

Other oils that are ideal to use for frying include safflower oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. These oils can stand up to high heat and don’t have a flavor that will ruin the chicken wings recipe and are ideal to use to deep fry chicken wings. Because of its slightly sweet flavor, it’s not a good idea to use coconut oil for this type of fast food.

In Conclusion

Getting crispy fried chicken wings that are the perfect golden brown color using your deep fryer is the goal, but usually the type of oil matters less than the breading, high temperature and cook time. Just be sure to not use an oil with a low smoke point and to use one with a neutral flavor or neutral taste – and be sure to get rid of the excess oil at the end with paper towels. And don’t forget to top your delicious appetizer off with some hot sauce, blue cheese, buffalo sauce, bbq sauce, or other wing sauce!