What is the best oil for air fryer? I come across this question too often. In this article, I am going to guide you to find the perfect oil that you can use for cooking with the air fryer. We prepare food keeping two objectives in mind. We want to prepare them tasty and healthy. To fulfill these objectives, people resort to many ideas. In ancient times, we cooked foods in the earthen pot. Foods prepared in this system are very tasty. In the present time, we are preparing our foods with the air fryer too often. To make our foods tasty and healthy, we need the perfect cooking oil. Although you need a very little amount of oil, it has a significant effect on the taste and hygiene of the food.
Top 5 oils for air fryer
- Refined avocado oil – by Betterbody Foods
- Extra light olive oil – by Pompeian
- Refined peanut oil – by Native Harvest
- Refined sunflower oil – Native Harvest
- Sesame oil for Chinese food – by Kadoya
Although I know there are so many options to choose from, I have selected these five oils as the best options for air fryer based on the smoking point and health benefits. I am going to give you a short description of these oils in the later section. There will be a detailed discussion about other options as well so that you can learn about all the available choices.
Refined avocado oil for air fryer [Betterbody Foods]
Avocado oil is one of the best options for cooking in the air fryer. Betterbody Foods produces top-notch cooking avocado oil. When choosing avocado oil for your air fryer, you should keep in mind that it has to be refined. Unrefined version of this oil has a lower smoke point and strong flavor that you may not like. Advantages of avocado oil by Betterbody Foods include the followings –
- It has a higher smoke point of around 500°F that is good for cooking in the air fryer.
- The monosaturated fat present in it will give you similar health benefits like olive oil.
- This avocado oil is good for cooking at high temperature and for cold salad as well.
- This Betterbody Foods avocado oil is naturally refined and free from gluten and non-GMO.
- Because of the refinement, it is free from unwanted taste and smell.
Extra light olive oil for frying [Pompeian]
Do not be confused with extra virgin olive oil. You need extra light olive oil for your air fryer. After the research, I have found that Pompeian extra light olive oil will be a great choice for any kind of frying. The smoke point of 470°F of this oil is also just perfect for high heat cooking. Advantages of Pompeian extra light olive oil include the followings.
- The extra light olive oil from Pompeian is free from allergens. It is non-GMO as well.
- It is lighter in taste. Therefore, it is suitable for cooking at high temperature and can be consumed raw with salad as well.
- You can use it for frying, baking and any other cooking modes in the air fryer.
- Although it is not virgin, it maintains the fatty acids of the oil. Therefore, it is as good as the virgin olive oil in terms of health benefits.
Refined peanut oil for cooking in air fryer [Native Harvest]
Refined peanut oil has a higher smoke point. It is also free from unwanted compounds that are not good for our health such as allergens and so on. Therefore, it is one of my favorite options for air fryers. Refined peanut oil by Native Harvest can be a better suggestion apart from other manufacturers. Benefits of getting this oil from this supplier include the followings.
- It is refined by high heat treatment and free from GMO.
- The exact refinement will provide you allergen free mono-saturated fat that is good for the health.
- Refined peanut oil by Native Harvest has a higher smoke point that is suitable for air fryer during high-temperature cooking.
- It is naturally expelled pressed peanut oil. There is no extra chemical for better taste and flavor.
- It has a nutty flavor that is good for Asian and African recipes.
Refined sunflower oil for air fryer [Native Harvest]
Refined or expeller-pressed sunflower oil has a high smoking point. The food value of sunflower oil is also great. Therefore, it is a good choice for cooking in the air fryer at high temperature. After my research, I have found that sunflower oil by Native Harvest will be a good option for you because of the following advantages.
- The smoking point of this oil will be around 500°F. Therefore, you can use for air fryer.
- It will provide mono-saturated fat that is food for heart health.
- It is expeller pressed. Therefore, it retains the food value of the oil.
- It is free from genetically modified organisms that are bad for our health.
Sesame oil for Chinese food [Kadoya]
If you want to prepare a Chinese or Japanese dish, then sesame oil will be necessary. You can also use it for other air fryer recipes as the smoke point of this oil is considerably high. Although we know it as a seasoning ingredient, you may also try it for air fryer. After my research, I have found that sesame oil by Kadoya will be the best option. It is a product sourced from Japan and has good users’ reviews. The advantages of sesame oil by Kadoya include the followings.
- The taste of this sesame oil has been slightly modified to make it taste better. You can use it for salad, noodles and other recipes.
- If you like to prepare Chinese or similar dishes, then it is going to be a must for you.
- It is suitable for preparing rice, vegetable and even for baking.
- It is just perfect for salad and dressing but can be used for frying and roasting as well.
How to use less oil when cooking with air fryer
People tell that you have to use only a tablespoon of oil in the air fryer to cook a batch of food. It is very difficult to distribute this little amount of oil throughout the whole cooking basket and food. To make sure the perfect utilization of oil, you have to either use air fryer oil sprayer or the basting brush. Of these two simple tools, I prefer the sprayer or mister. There are some air fryer cooking spraying oils in the market that are not of good quality. Therefore, I would suggest you get an empty sprayer and then put the oil separately.
Use the best air fryer oil brush
As I have mentioned earlier, basting brushes can be a good option to minimize the use of oil in the air fryer. You can brush the oil only the places whether you want to put oil. Brushing is more appropriate for baking, marinating, grilling and roasting recipes. You can also brush the oil on the food basket. Silicone Pastry Brush is a good example of a silicone cooking brush. I prefer this one because of the heat resistant property. You can use it when you are cooking at high temperature and putting oil on hot food such as BBQ. It is hygienic and dishwasher safe as well. This one can withstand heat up to 446°F.
Get a suitable air fryer oil mister
Oil sprayer or mister is the perfect tools if you want to use less oil of your air fryer. I like these little useful tools because of a few reasons. You can choose the oil as per your wish. You are not confined to cooking sprays where you are not sure about the quality of the oil in it. One of my favorite options for oil sprayer is ‘EVO’. The interesting thing about it is that you have so many variants to choose from. They have stainless steel and glass variations with different colors as well.
Isn’t air fryer oil-free?
Have you purchased the air fryer because you do not want to use any oil? But the reality is that you will have to use a little amount of oil when cooking in it. Foods that have less or no fat in it, tend to stick together when cooking in the air fryer. It will stick to the air fryer basket as well. Therefore, it is necessary to spray some oil when cooking this kind of foods such as chicken breast, potato chips and so on. When you are cooking frozen foods, you may not use any oil. Frozen foods have already oil in it. Therefore, it will not stick together if cooked in the air fryer without oil.
Smoking point – Why is it important?
The smoking point of an oil is the temperature at which it will get burnt and create smoke. This term is important for choosing the right oil for your air fryer. We know that the highest temperature an air fryer may produce is 400F. Therefore, if the smoking point of an oil is below this temperature, it will get burnt and create smoke. Why smoking is bad? When smoking starts, the oil gets decomposed and the nutrition facts of the oil get damaged. Not only that, but it may also produce unhealthy compounds after decomposition. Therefore, the rule of thumb is that we need to choose the oil for our air fryer that has a smoking point above 400°F.
Types of suggested oils based on smoking point
Now we know that we need to choose oils for our air fryer that have higher smoking points. Let’s find out some good options.
Avocado oil is a good option for air fryer. The smoking point of 520°F of this oil has made it stable at high temperature. Avocado oil is rich in oleic acid and lutenin. It is good for heart health and effective in gum diseases. It is also good for wound healing and skin health. The price of avocado oil is higher than other good options because of the above-mentioned benefits of it.
Sunflower oil is another good choice for air fryer. The smoking point of this oil is 440°F. Therefore, it will not get decomposed even if you cook it at the highest temperature with the air fryer. Sunflower oil is also good for heart health. It has a lower cholesterol level. It also improves the digestion system and repairs body cells if there is any damage.
Extra light olive oil can be a good solution as the best oil for air fryer. The smoking point of extra light olive oil is around 460°F to 470°F. Therefore, it will not get burnt when cooking in the air fryer. Do not get confused with extra virgin olive oil which has a smoke point of only around 370°F. Olive oil has numerous health benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are good for heart health.
Refined coconut oil has a smoking point of around 450°F. It may seem that coconut oil is a good choice for the air fryer. But refined coconut oil is high in saturated fat which is not good for health. Coconut oil also comes in the solid form which is called coconut butter. Although it has a higher smoke point, I do not suggest you use coconut oil for the air fryer.
Peanut oil can also be a suitable option for air fryer. It has a smoke point of 450°F. Peanut oil is high in unsaturated fat. Some people may have allergies with peanuts. In this case, I will suggest using refined peanut oil instead of cold-pressed one.
Soybean oil is the most widely used oil for cooking. You can use it for your air fryer as the smoke point is around 450°F. Soybean oil is good for health if we intake it in a limited quantity. It contains both omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acid. Consuming excessive omega 6 fatty acid is not good for health.
Therefore, from the above discussion, now we know that higher smoke point is the most important factor for an oil to be considered good for the air fryer. Below is the list of oils that have a considerably high smoke point. Therefore, you can use any of these for air frying.
- Refined avocado oil – 520°F
- Extra light olive oil – 470°F
- Refined peanut oil – 450°F
- Refined sunflower oil – 510°F
- Semi-refined sesame oil – 450°F
- Mustard oil – 480°F
- Clarified butter – 480°F
- Soybean oil – 450°F
Types of oils to avoid when air frying
There are some common types of oil that we should avoid in the air fryer. Butter is the most common name when we cook delicious dishes. But unfortunately, it has a very low smoke point. Therefore, it is not good for the air fryer. But you can use it for air fryer and cook at a temperature of around 300°F. If you like then you can use clarified butter that can be a good alternative. Canola oil is also not suitable for air fryer. If you only can manage expeller pressed canola oil, then it has a higher smoke point that can withstand in the air fryer. Virgin or extra virgin olive oil is good for salad but not for air fryer. Although extra light olive oil is my favorite for high-temperature cooking. Similarly, safflower oil is good for air fryer only when it is refined.
Air fryer oil buying guide
When you intend to purchase the best oil for air fryer, I would suggest you know your taste and choose the oil accordingly. For example, people from Indian subcontinent would like to consume mastered oil which may not be widely used in the USA. On the other hand, if you are of Chinese origin, you may like sesame oil that may not be the best option for others. Therefore, when you are going to purchase any specific oil for the air fryer, you need to be sure about the taste of the oil. Otherwise, you may waste it.
The second important thing to consider for purchasing the right oil for air fryer is the smoking temperature. I think I have discussed a lot about it earlier. When you are sure about the taste of any specific oil, then you must be sure about the smoke point of that oil as well. For example, butter has a smoke point of around 300°F. Therefore, if you like the taste of butter, it will not be suitable for the air fryer. But if you cook it at low temperature, then it is different.
The third point that I want to mention is the type of oil. Specific cooking oil may have variations such as extra virgin, extra light, refined, partially refined and so on. All the variations have a different smoke point. Therefore, be sure about the variant you need. For example, unrefined corn oil has a smoke point of around 350°F that is not suitable for the air fryer. But the refined version of it has a smoking point of around 450°F. It is good enough for withstand high temperature in the air fryer.
Finally, check whether the oil you are purchasing is free from allergens and GMO. If there are allergens in the specific oil, then the refined version of it may be suitable for you. Refining is not always bad. But you have to sure about the refining process whether it is healthy or not. Also, make sure that the manufacturer does not add any harmful element during the refining process.
Could you find the best oil for air fryer now? I know it will be different for different individual. Therefore, I have tried to discuss this topic comprehensively. I think it will help you get a proper idea about air fryer oil. My final suggestion will be choosing multiple options. Different air fryer recipes have different tastes that may require different cooking oil. Therefore, keep as many options as you can and use accordingly.