Sunflower oil is well known for being affordable and for its neutral taste, but can you use it for deep frying?
Yes, you can use sunflower oil for deep frying. However, it is not the most healthy option for regular use.
If you are less concerned with the health benefits/risks and more concerned with how your dish will turn out, then sunflower oil can be a good option for deep-frying.
Is Sunflower Oil Good For High-Heat Frying
The mild flavor and high smoke point of Sunflower Oil make it a great option for high-heat frying.
The two things to consider when deep frying with any oil are:
- The flavor of the oil
- The smoke point of the oil
Sunflower Oil has a high smoke point of around 230°C or 446 Fahrenheit. This means you can heat the oil up to 230°C or 446 Fahrenheit before it starts to smoke and produce toxic fumes and free radicals.
This makes it an excellent option for deep frying, roasting, high heat frying and cooking, and stir-frying. Keep in mind that the basic temperature at which most foods are deep-fried, which happens to be 350 to 375 F.
The flavor of sunflower oil is buttery and slightly nutty which is so mild that it will not overpower the flavor of the food that is being deep fried. When foods are deep fried in sunflower oil, they retain their original and intended flavor.
How Long Can You Use Sunflower Oil In A Deep Fryer
Sunflower oil can be used in a deep fryer for as long as the temperature remains below 230°C or 446 Fahrenheit.
If temperatures get higher than this, the oil will start to burn and will not be suitable or healthy any longer for use.
Related Article: Best & Healthiest Oils to Fry French Fries & Chips
Can You Reuse Sunflower Oil After Deep Frying Foods
Yes, you can reuse sunflower oil for deep frying foods up to 8 times. However, this will vary depending on what kind of deep-frying is done.
Every time sunflower oil is reused, it loses some of its properties that make it functional. Therefore, the more intense the frying, the less it can be reused.
For instance, if you have used the oil to fry battered foods or crumb coated then, you can use the oil three to four times. But make sure you strain it every time you remove the oil from the pot.
On the other hand, if you have used the oil to fry some more clean items such as potato/banana chips or brown onions, then you can reuse the oil up to eight times.
You can even use the oil for a little more if you refill it with some fresh oil.
Benefits Of Deep Frying With Sunflower Oil
1- High Smoke Point
As mentioned previously, the smoke point of sunflower oil is 230°C or 446 Fahrenheit. Since most foods are deep-fried at around 350 to 375 F, sunflower oil can cook foods for longer, and at a higher temperature, without smoking and burning.
2- Mild Flavor
Sunflower oil has a buttery and mildly nutty flavor that is not transferred to the food that is being cooked. It does not mask or overpower the intended flavor of the food.
3- Low in Saturated Fats
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the AHA include sunflower oil in the list of heart-healthy oils since it is much lower in saturated fats than other saturated fat sources such as lard, palm oil, stick margarine, and shortening.
The medical community even sanctions the use of sunflower oil for baking.
Related Article: Frying with Butter: How to Correctly – Ultimate Guide
4- High in Two Types of Fatty Acids
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, two different kinds of fatty acids, are both abundant in sunflower oil.
When used in place of unhealthy fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids (like Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) can lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
Meanwhile, the monounsaturated fatty acids in sunflower oil can help to decrease the risk of heart disease.
5- Good Source of Vitamin E
Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E oil, a fat-soluble nutrient that protects the cells from aging and free-radical damage.
The high levels of vitamin E contribute to the health of your skin, adding that healthy glow. Many researchers also believe that it helps to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The average retail cost of sunflower oil in the US at present is about $5 per liter, making it an affordable option for deep frying and cooking.
Cons of Deep Frying With Sunflower Oil
While sunflower oil is a great option for the deep-frying process, the cons associated with using this oil regularly are more related to health concerns, rather than the cooking process itself.
Therefore, while sunflower oil has health benefits, you will want to avoid overconsuming or using it in unhealthy ways.
Possible risks include:
1- Weight Gain
All fats are abundant in calories, including the healthy fatty acids in sunflower oil. Overeating fats may increase the hazards of obesity to your health. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your consumption of fats, particularly sunflower oil.
2- Too Much Omega-6 Content
Linoleic acid, generally known as omega-6, is present in greater amounts in sunflower oil varieties that are low in oleic acid.
One of the most popular types of sunflower oil used in the US is mid-oleic (NuSun), which contains 15–35% linoleic acid.
Omega-6 is an important fatty acid that people must have in their diets, but there are worries that eating too much of it might cause inflammation and increased symptoms in people with inflammatory conditions (like arthritis).
A common imbalance in the American diet is one that results in an excessive intake of linoleic acid from vegetable oils and a deficiency in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Cooking oil fumes are released by fats used in frying. Aldehydes, which are hazardous compounds found in these fumes, may raise one’s chance of developing cancer.
Sunflower oil creates more aldehydes than other oils regardless of the cooking method, with deep frying producing the most. When using sunflower oil for cooking, experts advise using low heat.
Aldehydes have also been discovered in fried food as well as in the cooking oil after frying.
How To Properly Store and Reuse Sunflower Oil After Deep Frying
Sunflower oil can be repurposed in the same way as your other cooking oils:
- Let the oil cool – Do not try to store your oil before it has completely cooled. When you have finished your frying, turn off the stove and let the oil sit for as long as needed (even overnight).
Be sure to put a cover on it to make sure it is not contaminated.
- Filter with a cheesecloth – Use a cheesecloth as a sieve to filter the oil as you pour it from the pot into a container.
This will separate any residue (leftover crumbs, batter, fat, etc) from the oil.
- Use the cheesecloth to filter the oil a second time – this time, place the cleaned cheesecloth over the storage container you would like to use.
Pour the filtered oil into the storage container through the cheesecloth.
- Seal the container – it is best to use a container with an air-tight lid so that you can keep it sealed for storage.
The best containers for oil storage are glass jars or the bottle the oil initially came in (if it is empty).
- Store your oil away from heat sources – Keep your oil in a cool place away from any possible contact with heat sources – like the stove, oven, microwave, heating vent, or even in direct sunlight from a window. Heat will only make the oil break down faster.
You may even want to consider storing your leftover oil in the fridge if you think you will keep it for more than a week. This will help slow down any potential bacteria growth and allow you to reuse the oil for longer.
If you store your oil in the fridge, let it thaw out a little, and then heat it.
- When you are ready to reuse the oil, try to reuse it with similar foods – It’s important to keep in mind that the food you are preparing in your cooking oil will flavor it.
As a result, you should repurpose cooking oil with meals that have an identical flavor or one that is at least suitable. You can also use it for other forms of cooking other than deep-frying.
- Dispose of oil that shows signs of spoiling – There is a limit to how many times cooking oil may be used before the components start to degrade. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of when your oil reaches that stage.
It’s time to get rid of your cooking oil if it starts to seem thick, gooey, foggy, deeper in color, has froth on top, or starts to smell rotten.
Regardless of the safety measures you take, you should always discard cooking oil that is older than six weeks.
Video: The Easiest Way to Clean and Reuse Frying Oil
Sunflower Oil VS Canola Oil For Deep Frying
Both Sunflower Oil and Canola Oil can be used for deep frying. However, which one is the best?
In terms of smoke points, then sunflower oil has the higher smoke point and will perform better at higher temperatures.
However, in terms of flavor, even though sunflower oil barely has any, and it does not transfer to the food, canola oil has no flavor at all, making it a much safer option to ensure flavor does not change.
Here is a table comparing the flavor, smoke points, health benefits, and health risks of both sunflower oil and canola oil:
|Around 204°C or 400°F
|Neutral – No distinct flavor
|Contains less saturated fats than many other oils.
Contains healthy fats, so is considered heart-healthy
Does not release as many harmful fumes & free radicals
Easy to store and reuse
|May still be related to health issues and inflammation if used
too much and too often.
|Around 230°C or 446°F
|Buttery and nutty – Very slight, does not transfer to food
|Low in saturated fats.
High in two types of fatty acids.
Good source of vitamin E.
Easy to store and reuse.
|When used too much, may cause excess
a lot of omega-6, which is associated with inflammation and may worsen symptoms of conditions like
Associated with a high level of aldehyde fumes, which are linked to come cancers.