What Oil Is Best For Frying Chicken?

Fried chicken is delicious southern comfort food that's hard to beat. If you're wondering how to prepare the best fried chicken, choosing the right kind of oil for frying is as important as the chicken itself. But, with so many options to choose from, how do you know which oil is the best? We have found all you need to know to make perfect fried chicken every time.

Since chicken needs to fry at 350 degrees, you'll need to choose a refined oil with a high smoke point. There are several options to choose from that include:

  • Avocado
  • Canola
  • Soybean
  • Peanut
  • Safflower
  • Cottonseed
  • Vegetable
  • Corn

Now that we know which oils are the best options, we'll look at each choice in-depth and see why they will help you achieve the best results. Keep reading to learn why smoke point matters and see the answers to some questions that you may have.

Assortment of vegetable oils in bottles, What Oil Is Best For Frying Chicken?

What Should You Consider When Choosing Oil For Fried Chicken?

Whether you want to pan fry or deep fry chicken, choosing the right oil for the job will make all the difference. Refined oils are better suited for high-heat cooking because they have a high smoke point. The smoke point is when the oil breaks down at a specific temperature and smoke forms. When the oil starts to smoke, it can ruin the flavor of your food.

Another good reason to choose a refined oil is its neutral taste. Some oils, like olive oil, may overpower the flavor of fried chicken. Here's a breakdown of the best oil choices with a smoke point of 350 degrees and above:


Refined avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points at 520 degrees, making it a safe bet for frying chicken. It has several health benefits, such as high monosaturated fats and antioxidants, but it will lend a slightly nutty flavor to your food.


Canola oil is inexpensive, has a neutral flavor, and has a smoke point of 400 degrees. It is low in saturated fat and has healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.


Soybean oil has a smoke point of 453 degrees. Like canola oil, it is inexpensive and contains omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, it has lots of polyunsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol.


Peanut oil has a subtle flavor that doesn't transfer to other foods fried in the same oil. With a high smoke point of 450 degrees, it is a good choice for frying chicken.


Safflower oil has a significantly high smoke point of 510 degrees. It has a very subtle flavor ideal for pan-frying and deep-frying.


Many fast-food chains use cottonseed oil because it enhances the food's flavor. It has a high smoke point of 420 degrees but is high in saturated fat, so it is not the healthiest choice.


Vegetable oil is an inexpensive blend of other oils including, peanut, corn, soybean, and canola. It has a smoke point of around 400 degrees, has a mild taste, and is often recommended for deep frying.


Corn oil is an excellent choice for deep frying because it has a high smoke point of 450 degrees, has a cheap price point, and is low in saturated and monounsaturated fats.

What Is The Healthiest Oil To Fry Chicken In?

If you're looking for an oil with the most health benefits, avocado oil is your best bet. Avocado oil has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels and is heart-healthy due to its high levels of oleic acid. Its high smoke point means that it's entirely safe for high-temperature frying and will make your chicken perfectly browned and crispy.

Click here to see this avocado oil on Amazon.

How To Fry Chicken In A Pan With Oil?

Southern Fried Chicken

To pan-fry your chicken to perfection, you'll need to start with a good pan. Be sure to choose a deep skillet or pot to ensure even cooking and control grease splatter. Cast iron and Dutch ovens are preferred choices amongst cooks. Be sure to read our related post,"What is the Best Pot to Fry Chicken? [3 Great Options!]"

Add your oil of choice to the pan and heat until it reaches 350 degrees. Carefully add chicken that's battered to your liking to the hot oil without overcrowding your skillet. Cook the chicken in batches for about 20 to 25 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

How Much Oil Do You Put In The Pan To Fry Chicken?

Chicken thighs being cooked in a cast iron casserole dish

Chicken can be pan-fried in deep or shallow oil. For a traditional southern fried chicken recipe that is heavily battered, add approximately one inch of oil to your pan. Click here to see a recipe for delicious super-crispy pan-fried chicken.

How Long Does Chicken Take To Fry In Oil?

Chicken drumsticks fried in boiling oil. Thai street food.

When pan-frying chicken in oil, you should let it cook on each side for 10-12 minutes. The batter should be nicely browned, and clear juices should flow from the chicken when poked with a fork.

How To Fry Chicken In A Fryer?

frying chickens in a fryer

Home deep fryers come with convenient wire baskets, just like fast-food chains. Many models have a maximum heat capacity of 375 degrees and have a heat indicator light to let you know when the oil is hot enough for frying. Set the timer for approximately 20 minutes and then check the internal temperature. If the internal temperature has not reached 165 degrees, immerse in the oil and cook for an additional five to seven minutes.

Click here to see this deep fryer on Amazon.

With the rising popularity of air fryers, you may be wondering if you can air fry chicken. The good news is, yes, you can! Click here for some great chicken battering and air frying tips.

What Temperature Do You Fry Chicken In A Fryer?

For optimal food safety, you should fry chicken in oil that's heated to 350 degrees. To keep the oil's temperature from dropping, don't place chicken that's straight out of the refrigerator into the fryer. Instead, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to ensure consistent temperature, even cooking, and crispy breading.

How Long Does It Take To Fry Chicken In A Deep Fryer?

Pieces of breaded chicken frying in hot oil. They are held by a wire mesh basket. Focus on the oil and upper piece.

Breasts and thighs take longer to cook than drumsticks and wings. One method for deep-frying chicken is to place chicken breasts and thighs in heated oil and cook for approximately seven minutes. Then, add thighs and wings and cook for an additional 20 minutes for a total cook time of 27 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.

What Oil Does KFC Use?

KFC was founded by Harland Sanders and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.

If you're wondering what oil KFC uses to fry their delicious chicken recipe, look no further than canola and soybean oil. It's no surprise seeing how both are inexpensive, have a high smoke point, and have a neutral flavor.

What Oil Is Popeyes Chicken Fried In?

Womans hand grabbing piece of Popeyes Louisiana Chicken

Popeye's is a restaurant that specializes in Louisiana-style fried chicken. Popeye's is rumored to use beef fat and a canola-corn oil blend for frying. Beef tallow is an excellent flavor enhancer, especially when paired with the neutral flavors of canola oil, corn oil, and perfectly seasoned Cajun chicken.

In Summary

Whatever way you decide to fry your chicken, choosing the right oil is the first step in ensuring delicious results. We hope that by following our guidelines and recommendations that your chicken will turn out perfect every time!

For more tips and ideas on fried chicken, be sure to read:

What Dessert Goes With Fried Chicken?

How To Flour Chicken [5 Easy Steps To Follow]

Can You Reuse Oil After Frying Raw Chicken?

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