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Using the wrong oil in your air fryer negatively impacts the taste and texture of your meals. Long-term consumption of vegetable oils can also harm your health. So what is the best oil for air fryer?
This post goes through everything you need to know about the different oils for air fryers. I’ll cover the best oils to use while answering some frequently asked questions.
1. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has the highest smoking point of all oils, making it the best option for air frying. You can heat avocado oil up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts smoking. This high smoke point prevents oil from breaking down and becoming rancid.
You could use this for air fryer recipes that require high heat.
Here’s the nutritional value of 100 grams avocado oil:
- 70 grams of monounsaturated fats
- 13 grams of polyunsaturated fats
- 12 grams of saturated fats
Avocado oil is one of the most nutrient-dense oils available. It offers vitamins and minerals like:
- Omega 9
- Vitamin E
Everyone talks about omega 3 and 6. But omega 9 is also essential. These monounsaturated fats are effective at balancing and regulating cholesterol in your body.
Avocado oil contains ample amounts of vitamin E. But not just the tocopherols. Avocados have tocotrienols also. This way, you’re consuming the entire vitamin E complex. The high lutein content is also found to protect eye tissue against oxidation.
So air fryer avocado oil doesn’t just have the highest smoke point; it offers potent benefits like better heart and eye health.
Companies produce ghee by separating proteins in butter, leaving behind a pure oil. It has a smoking point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit, making it perfect for cooking foods in your air fryer at low to medium heat.
Ghee is over 50 percent saturated fat, so it’s a stable cooking oil that won’t oxidize.
In addition to being heat-stable, ghee also offers health benefits like:
- It contains a lot of butyrates
- The fat decreases insulin resistance
- It boosts energy
Ghee has the highest butyrate concentration out of all foods, including butter. This makes it beneficial for those with irritable bowel syndrome or any colon issue.
When you suffer from bowel problems, you can’t make the necessary amount of butyrate. So consider using ghee, and after a few days, check if your symptoms have disappeared.
Another benefit to ghee is that it decreases insulin resistance because it’s pure fat with zero carbs. This makes ghee a must-have for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
You’ll also notice ghee boosts energy because your colon cells prefer butyrate as their primary fuel source.
3. Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is the holy grail of healthy oils, and it has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use it for cooking on medium heat. 100 grams of coconut oil contains:
- 100 grams of fat
- 87 grams of saturated fat
- Zero carbs
You might worry that the high amounts of saturated fat in coconut oil can lead to heart issues. However, several detailed studies like the Minnesota Coronary Survey and Sydney Study show the opposite is true.
Those who avoid saturated fats in favor of polyunsaturated fats have an increased risk of mortality and lower quality of life.
So feel free to use coconut oil when air frying your favorite meals. You’ll also find that coconut oil has no taste, so it won’t impact the flavor of your food.
But coconut oil offers additional benefits like:
- It boosts brain power
- The medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs fight dementia
- It keeps you fuller for longer
However, keep the temperature below 450 degrees Fahrenheit because even though coconut oil is healthy, it’ll break down and oxidize if it starts to smoke.
4. Extra Light Olive Oil
Extra light olive oil has a smoke point of 470 degrees Fahrenheit which is 95 degrees higher than regular olive oil. This makes it a better option if you’re cooking with an air fryer. Here’s the nutritional profile of 100 grams extra light olive oil.
- 100 grams of fat
- 15 grams of saturated fat
- 74 grams of monounsaturated fat
- 11 grams of polyunsaturated fat
Like avocado oil, extra light olive oil also has a high monounsaturated fat content, making it perfect for anyone looking to lose weight.
And unlike coconut oil, it doesn’t solidify below 74 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t have to microwave it before use.
This type of olive oil offers unique health benefits like:
- It’s packed with vitamin E, K and antioxidants
- The high antioxidant content reduces inflammation and fights oxidation
- It doesn’t contain trans fats or other harmful chemicals
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Although extra virgin olive oil has many heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, its a low smoke point oil. It starts smoking at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. So avoid using it for cooking on high heat. Only air fry meals at low temperatures because it turns rancid quickly.
100 grams of extra virgin olive oil contains:
- 12 grams of saturated fat
- 74 grams of monounsaturated fat
- Five grams of polyunsaturated fat
- Zero trans fat
Apart from its low smoke point, the only problem with olive oil is that most companies add canola oil and other dangerous ingredients to save money. So it’s essential to read the label and ensure you’re getting organic olive oil.
When shopping, check the bottle. Extra virgin olive oil must come in a dark glass bottle to block light since light has an oxidative effect. If it comes in a plastic bottle, it probably contains canola oil.
Also, taste your oil before cooking with it. If your olive oil gives a slight kick in the back of your throat, it’s the real deal. If your oil has a more neutral flavor, it contains unhealthy oil like canola or grapeseed oil.
Olive oil offers health benefits like:
- It protects against heart disease
- The monounsaturated fats makes weight loss easy
- It helps prevent strokes
Even though butter has a lower smoke point, it’s still a good option for air frying. So if you’re cooking food in avocado oil and it’s almost ready, toss in a few sticks of butter. This gives your air-fried meals extra flavor while ensuring your butter doesn’t burn.
100 grams of butter contains:
- 81 grams of fat
- 52 grams of saturated fat
- 21 grams of monounsaturated fat
- Three grams of polyunsaturated fat
But what sets butter apart from the other oils on this list is the flavor it gives your food. Regardless if you’re air frying steak, fish, eggs or frozen French fries, adding some butter takes the taste to another level.
Not only is butter healthy, it also offers health benefits like:
- Strengthened bones and teeth due to the high vitamin K and D content
- The butyrate supports digestive health
- It boosts immune function
7. Beef Tallow Or Lard
With a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, beef tallow and lard is another good fat for air frying.
Here’s the nutritional value of beef tallow:
- 100 grams of fat
- 50 grams of saturated fat
- 45 grams of monounsaturated fat
- Zero trans fat
- Zero carbs
The best thing about beef fat is it’s super affordable. When preparing fatty cuts of meat and fish, use the remaining fat to make beef tallow.
If you live near a farm, you could even contact them to buy beef tallow or lard in bulk. Many local farmers throw this away, and if you can build a relationship with them, you can get pounds of beef tallow for cheap.
But beef tallow is also healthy. It has essential fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A, D, E and K2.
Now that we know the best oil to use in an air fryer basket, let’s answer some commonly asked questions.
Why Do You Need Oil When Using An Air Fryer?
Isn’t the point of an air fryer not to use oil?
Well, you won’t have to use as much oil as deep-frying, but you still need some because it gives your food that golden, crispy color.
How Much Oil Do You Need When Using An Airfryer?
You only need one tablespoon of oil in an air fryer. This has the same effect as when you deep fry foods, without the negative consequences.
But the amount of oil you use depends on the meal. If you’re making fried eggs, you’ll need more oil compared to a vegetable salad.
What Does The Term Smoke Point Mean?
The smoke point refers to when oil stops glistening and starts burning.
Avoid bringing oils to this point because the heat breaks fats down; it becomes unstable and turns rancid. This rancid oil has a sour taste that’s apparent after cooking.
Alongside omega 6 polyunsaturated fat content, an oil’s smoke point is the most critical factor to consider. The higher the smoke point the better because you can heat it up without turning rancid.
Will Cooking Spray Work With An Airfryer?
Avoid air fryer oil spray since it causes chipping. These oil sprayers often contain harmful chemicals that don’t mix with the coating of your air fryer, causing food to stick.
Instead, invest in an oil sprayer and a healthy oil with a high smoke point. This could be coconut or avocado oil. An oil mister also won’t damage your air fryer.
What Are The Healthiest Oils For Air Fryers?
The healthiest oils for air fried foods are:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
They have a high smoke point and neutral taste. So you won’t have to worry about it affecting the taste of your food.
You could even opt for beef tallow, ghee or lard. These fats have a smoke point of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, similar to canola oil, but without all the negative health consequences.
Another benefit to using animal fat when air frying food is the extra flavor. With oils like canola, sunflower or soybean oil, companies make it taste bland, so it doesn’t interfere with the taste of your food.
But sometimes, a little bit of natural animal fat adds loads of flavor.
What Oils Should I Avoid When Airfrying?
Avoid air fryer oils that are high in omega 3 polyunsaturated fats like:
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Grape seed oil
- Corn oil
These low smoke point oils cause inflammation in your body. This can lead to adverse health effects like cancer and heart disease.
These oils are dangerous because companies put them through a long industrial process that crushes, bleaches and heats seeds to extract oil.
Studies even show that eating soybean oil made mice fatter than fructose.
So instead, opt for high smoke point oils like avocado, coconut and olive oil. These oils don’t go through a refinement process, so they won’t wreak havoc on your body.
Don’t forget to check out our list of the 99+ Best Keto Air Fryer Recipes!
Final Word On The Best Oil For Air Fryer
Choosing the best oils for air fryers is crucial because going beyond the smoke point negatively affects your health and the taste of your food. Even healthy fats like coconut oil can turn rancid after the smoke point.
Stick to avocado, coconut and olive oil when using an air fryer basket since they are stable and have a high smoke point.
Avoid refined vegetable oil like canola, soybean, grapeseed and peanut oil because it’s high in inflammation-causing omega 6 fatty acids.