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Best Oil for The Air Fryer

Wondering about the best oil for the air fryer? This helpful guide outlines the top options, including avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee. Read this before adding oil to your favorite kitchen appliance!

Bottles of different kinds of cooking oil in packaging

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When I first bought my air fryer, I’ll admit that I had a lot to learn about the best ways to use it. I knew it was capable of so much — but I also wasn’t sure what was safe to put in it.

One of the biggest questions on my mind was: what’s the best oil for an air fryer? I didn’t want to have any mishaps that may cause my air fryer to break, and I certainly didn’t want to risk a fire. 

As I’m sure many of my fellow air fryer owners have also wondered about oil in the air fryer, I decided to create this helpful guide!

It’s just one in a collection of my many air fryer tip articles. I definitely recommend reading through them before you start air frying at home.

There are many different types of oils that are perfectly safe to use in your air fryer, but they are not all created equally.

Some are much better than others, and some you’ll want to avoid all together. Let’s explore your options together!

Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:

  • The best oil for an air fryer, plus several others that you can try.
  • Answers to questions like: can you use olive oil in an air fryer? Is canola oil good for an air fryer? Plus many more!
  • Some recipe recommendations that require you to use oil in your air fryer.

Use this helpful article to guide you when using oil for your recipes to prevent burning and smoking. All of your oil in the air fryer questions are answered! 

air fryer bell peppers

Does My Air Fryer Need Oil?

It’s important to keep in mind that not all air fryer recipes need added oil. You typically won’t have to add any to frozen foods like chicken fries, bagel bites, and crinkle fries.

Why? There is already enough oil in these foods that you won’t need to put on anymore. 

If you’re not cooking from frozen, I do recommend adding a bit of oil to get that nice crispy and golden brown outside you’re looking for. 

The good news is that the air fryer requires a lot less oil than you would need in say, a frying pan or in the oven.

It’s one of the reasons why I love this appliance so much — you can avoid all of that excess oil!

You can also read my article on how to use oil in the air fryer for more information on what types of foods require oil and which do not.

What’s a Smoke Point?

As we begin talking about the best oil for the air fryer, it’s important that you understand the concept of a “smoke point.” 

All oils have smoke points, and some are higher than others. The smoke point refers to the temperature the oil can withstand before it begins to burn and therefore smoke. 

If you cook foods in burnt oil, the food will take on a charred and burnt flavor — not in a good way.

While you may want a steak or burger that is “charred to perfection” on the grill, you don’t want to end up with a burnt mess in your air fryer. Trust me!

What’s the Best Oil for the Air Fryer?

I’ll cut to the chase: the number one best oil for an air fryer is by far avocado oil! It has a very high smoke point and boasts a neutral flavor that works with most foods. 

The best oils for the air fryer (with their respective smoke points) are:

  • Avocado oil: 520 degrees F
  • Ghee (clarified butter): 482 degrees F
  • Light olive oil or extra light olive oil: 465-470 degrees F
  • Peanut oil: 450 degrees F
  • Sunflower oil: 450 degrees F
  • Grapeseed oil: 420 degrees F
  • Refined coconut oil: 400 degrees F
  • Vegetable oil: 400 degrees F

Keep in mind that oils like peanut and coconut will add a subtle flavor to whatever you pair it with. If you want to keep things more neutral, stick with avocado oil, ghee, or light olive oil.

When Should I Add Oil to My Air Fryer?

Unlike pan-frying, you will want to add your oil of choice to the food before putting it into the air fryer basket.

While you can add a bit of oil directly to the basket, you need to be extremely careful not to let it come in contact with any of the electrical pieces. 

My advice? As you get a hang of using your air fryer, it’s best to add a bit of oil directly to the food instead.

Asparagus being sprayed with oil in air fryer basket

Where do I Put Oil in My Air Fryer?

Again, put it on whatever you’d like to air fry before placing it into the basket.

For example, if you’re making homemade French fries or chicken breast, toss the main ingredient with oil and any seasonings in a large bowl first.

Then, you can safely place the seasoned and oiled food into the basket!

Can You Use Olive Oil in an Air Fryer?

The best oil for the air fryer in terms of olive oil is the light or extra light varieties. You may be a big fan of extra virgin (EVOO) — I get it, I am too! — but it has a very low smoke point. 

Remember: the higher the smoke point, the better suited it is for your air fryer!

Is Canola Oil Good For An Air Fryer?

Canola oil is super popular for cooking — you likely have a bottle of it at home. It’s not my favorite to use in the air fryer, but you can try it, especially if that’s what you have on hand! 

Canola oil is a vegetable oil, so it has a smoke point of 400 degrees F.

Cooked french fries in air fryer basket

What Oil to Use For French Fries in an Air Fryer?

One of my favorite things to air fry is homemade French fries, and I know I’m not alone! The best oil to use for French fries in the air fryer is avocado oil. As you can see it’s my top choice! 

I’ve also used light olive oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil. 

A Note on PAM and Other Sprays

While PAM works great for baking, roasting, and pan-frying, you should never use a nonstick cooking spray in your air fryer. These types of oils have added chemicals that will damage the air fryer basket lining.

That said, you can absolutely use a non-aerosol oil mister that you can fill with your oil of choice. Below are a few of my favorites:

Other Air Fryer How-To Articles You’ll Love:


samantha

About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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