Keeping costs down is vital, so keep these causes of oil breakdown in mind as you establish procedures for your kitchen staff. A little bit of forethought and careful execution can help save you money and make your oil last much longer.

Food Coatings

The more food and particles in your oil, the faster it breaks down. Ideally, you should clean your fryer regularly to remove bits of food and breading. If you allow food to sit in your fryer, especially close to the heat source, they burn and transfer that taste and smell to your oil.


Oil is hydrophobic. Mostly. The older oil gets, and the more water it encounters, the less hydrophobic it becomes. Once oil is no longer hydrophobic, it seeps into your foods and makes them greasy and less moist. Try to keep ice and water off your foods before they enter the fryer.

Type of Oil

Like most things, you get what you pay for. More expensive oils last longer. Also, oils with higher smoke points last longer. Oils with low smoke points are full of minerals and enzymes. Because of this, as the oil is heated they tend to go rancid faster.


All oils have a temperature at which they will burn and go rancid, so you want to find a sweet spot that cooks your food quickly, but doesn’t burn your oil. This smoke point is different for each oil, so do your research and adjust your fryer temperatures accordingly.


Exposure to the air can cause your oil to break down. Try to avoid shaking the bottle or jostling it before putting it into the fryer. Signs that your oil is full of air are sputtering, bubbling, or foaming.


When your oil is exposed to light, it begins to lose nutritious antioxidants and will go rancid sooner. Try to remember that light is also triggering chemical reactions in your oil. Keep your fryer covered when not in use to keep air and light out. Also, store your unused oil in dark, cool places to help prolong it’s life.


Never, ever, ever salt your food in or over the fryer. Ever. Salt triggers a chemical reaction that begins the breakdown of your oil.

Everyone wants a hard-and-fast set of rules to optimize fryer oil efficiency. Unfortunately, with so many varying factors, it’s next to impossible to give one answer. Keep in mind these factors that cause fryer oil to degrade. Determine the right steps you can take to lengthen the life of your oil for your restaurant.

Hans Nelson

Author Hans Nelson

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