Deep Frying in Coconut Oil: Helpful Tips

Use coconut oil to fry everything from sweet potato fries to fried chicken to homemade donuts!

Gearing up for that time of year when most of us throw away our New Years Resolutions (that’s right, it’s almost Super Bowl food time!) I thought I would cover some deep-frying basics. Coconut Oil is great for everything from jalapeno poppers to fried chicken, and to get the best food possible, you’ve  got to make sure your oil is hot enough. If you don’t have hot enough oil (a common mistake by home cooks) your food could come out pale and greasy (gross).

The best way is to use a candy thermometer (duh) or a fryer with a heating dial. You will want your oil to be between 325-375 degrees, depending on your recipe. If you don’t have a thermometer or temperature gauge, here’s a neat trick we picked up from Cook’s Country.

How to tell if your coconut oil is ready to fry:

Wait a few minutes. When you think the oil might be ready, drop a small piece of bread (crust removed) or small spoonful of batter into the hot oil.

Too cold:    If nothing happens when you add the bread, the oil is not hot enough. Remove the bread and wait a few more minutes, then try again with a new piece of bread.

Too hot:     If the oil bubbles furiously or the bread browns instantly, the oil is too hot. Take the pan off the heat and wait a few minutes before adding your food.

Just right:  The bread should sizzle and produce tiny bubbles. Add your food!

Hope you find that helpful. Check back closer to the Big Game for more helpful deep-frying tips! Go Niners!


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53 Comments Post a comment

  1. Cheslee
    May 15, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Ok I have a question I am thinking about using coconut oil in my deep fryer but I have been reading that its not a good idea because you cannot reuse the oil . Is this true?

    • May 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

      You can reuse coconut oil in a deep fryer. When reusing oils it is better to fry at lower temperatures, so just keep that in mind.

  2. Joni Francis
    March 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Can i use unrefined coconut oil in the deep fryer? What is its flashpoint? For how long can I reuse it? Thanks

    • March 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Yes, you can use unrefined coconut oil in a deep fryer, 350 degrees for unrefined and about 500 degrees for refined.

  3. Karlien
    April 6, 2013 at 5:09 am

    I made parsnip fries in coconut oil in the deep-fryer yesterday. Before putting the solid coconut oil in the deep-fryer I warmed it in the microwave so it would become liquid, which worked fine. The result was fantastic. But now that the oil has cooled down in the deepfryer, it became solid again. How should I make it liquid again for when I want to fry next? I’m afraid that the fryer will be riuned if I just plug it in.

    • April 8, 2013 at 9:45 am


      Coconut oil does solidify at about 76 degrees. When you turn your deep fryer on again the oil should liquefy itself again making it easy to deep fry. There should be no issues, but let us know how it turns out 🙂

  4. Frank Turner
    November 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I used coconut oil to deep fry fish last night (for the first time), the fish stuck to the bottom of the pot, never had this problem before with other oils. The temperature was at 350, was using a SS pot. Any advice?

    • November 21, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Frank, we’re sorry the fish stuck. Other than there not being enough oil, about two inches, we’re not sure why this happened. Our team has fried just about everything in coconut oil – hope the next time it works.

    • Dana
      July 22, 2016 at 12:04 am

      I just fried fish in coconut oil and when i noticed it was sticking i just raised it with tongs and then it floated for the rest of the cooking. I wouls just suggest checking on it after a minute or two and doing just that. My fish turned out amazing.

    • Rose
      June 27, 2020 at 3:45 am

      Same here in terms of not understanding the issue but oil if deep frying should be at least 4-5” deep maybe deeper for large items. Someone said 2” — 2” isn’t deep enough for deep frying unless it’s really small items. The items have to have enough room to roll around in the oil and get the heat all around the piece. You don’t flip items in a deep fry method for this reason. Check some charts on how long it takes to cook items at certain temps. If using prepared foods, the package should tell you. Many deep fryers have a basket and as someone mentioned, it usually very quickly floats. But I,do the same thing of holding my breaded meat with the tongs a minute of so in the hot oil before releasing and always stirring the oil gently so as not to splash and that helps. If the oil was 350F prior to putting the meat in and deep enough if deep frying – can’t imagine the issue. Usually, it’s because not enough oil or the oil isn’t hot enough Or the pans isn’t hot enough or the oil temp drops and doesn’t have time to come back up when using frozen foods. If deep frying, I always use a thermometer to check before dropping the next batch.

      If sautéing, you can have the same problem, pan isn’t hot enough, oil isn’t hot or not enough was used. Of course, you don’t use near the same amount of oil. If your pan is cold, meat will always stick. The best thing as long as it isn’t burning is to let it cook until it releases on its own. But if your pan is so hot it’s already burning, then you have the temp too high and the fish or other meat has seized to the pan. However, you did say it was 350 and I assume you meant fahrenheit. Like said before, and others mentioned, if there is enough oil, try holding it until it floats or if sautéing let it cook until it unsticks. If you move it too fast, it will pull your coating off and then make a mess burning. Best of luck.

  5. Katie
    January 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    How do you know when to replace the oil and about how many times can it be reused?

    • January 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Katie, Here’s some helpful information regarding when to change your frying oil. Although it seems there’s not a standard number of times you can reuse the oil, most say you shouldn’t use them past six months, when the smoke point drops, or there is an odor associated with the oil. Hope this helps!

      • Mrs. Muir
        August 6, 2016 at 11:39 pm

        Do you have to refrigerate the unused oil or can it sit in the fryer until next time??

  6. Richard
    March 10, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Used coconut oil to fry chicken. After frying, we put the oil in a glass bowl. We now have small particles of a white substance floating on the surface. Everything below the surface is a clear liquid. The white substance turns to a liquid when touched. Is the oil safe to use again? If this is normal and safe, how many more times can it be used?

    • March 12, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Richard, coconut oil will solidify at 76 degrees. What you’re most likely seeing is a mixture of the oil and the fat from the chicken. You should be able to get one more time out of the oil. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can always start fresh!

  7. July 21, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    We are trying to make donuts in our Belshaw donut maker. Donuts are not coming out good not rsising as they should and are greasy. I’ve try everything to good them right Not sure you can use coconut oil. We use it cooking chicken , French frys and even kettle corn and works well. Must not be right oil for donuts

    • July 22, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Sorry to hear that Marge. Check to make sure your oil is hot enough. I have used to make donut holes before and they turned out amazing!

  8. Glen
    September 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Hi there! Thank you for the website… I’m looking forward to my first attempt frying with coconut oil! Theoretical question: could one partially cool the used oil (say down to 100 degrees Fahrenheit), transfer it to a heat-resistant container, and then let it cool until it becomes solid? I’m feeling sweet potato fries could make a return to the dinner table 🙂 … Do regular potato fries work as well with coconut oil? Thanks for your time!

    • September 26, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Hope it works out how you want it. You could definitely cool down the oil and save it. I would just be careful about how many times you reuse it. All oils have a tendency to break down after a few uses. Coconut oil is amazing on sweet potato fries. It would also work great with regular potato fries. Anywhere you would normally use butter or other oils you can replace them with coconut oil. Enjoy!

  9. dani
    October 8, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Hi there! I am wondering if you have specific tips or recommendations for frying doughnuts in coconut oil– I read that you have done doughnut holes before, and I am looking to sell them in a coffee shop so would be making 20+ daily and am interested in using an organic, unrefined coconut oil.

    • October 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      You can use coconut oil just like you would any other oil. If you are interested in using Kelapo’s organic, unrefined coconut oil you can call 813-887-3030 for more information.

  10. Susan
    October 19, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Hi. I just made plantain fries for the first time and used coconut oil liquid form not solid. Worked great! Questions: Can I pour it back into the jar with the portion unused? And should I refrigerate it now it’s opened?

    • October 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Susan – I would keep the used coconut oil and then unused portion separate. You don’t want to make your unused portion taste like your plantain fries! No you do not have to refrigerate after opening. Coconut oil changes from a liquid to a solid at 76 degrees. So the colder it gets the harder it is to use without melting it first.

  11. Bruce
    December 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Just made yam chips. Cut thin (very important) use a vegetable slicer made for that purpose.
    Put two table spoons of coconut oil in fry pan. Put chips in microwave for a minute then Fry at medium high
    Until brown flip and do other side. Put on paper towel to absorb oil. I like them with an avocado dip.
    Save leftover oil for next time(that stuff is expensive!)

    • December 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Thanks for the great idea Bruce! That sounds amazing! So glad you enjoyed them.

  12. Rachael
    January 13, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I have been deep frying chicken and fish for my toddler using unrefined virgin coconut oil 9 in a saucepan not a deep fat fryer), this is the only way that I can get him to eat! the oil usually goes dark brown during the cooking process but I have not seen smoke. I now read that the smoke point is too low for unrefined coconut oil and that the oil will release toxins into the food. Can I assume that if I haven’t seen smoke, that I have not reached the smoke point, and therefore the oil will not have harmed my toddler. I’m a bit worried now, as we have been doing this regularly for about a year! thank you

    • January 29, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Rachael – Coconut oil is one of the best oils to cook with. You should be ok if you haven’t seen smoke.

  13. February 18, 2015 at 5:08 am

    I’ve always used olive oil but may give this a shot! Trying to be a bit healthier coming up to summer :).

  14. Deb Grossheim
    May 1, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    I love,love, LOVE coconut oil for everything! If you’re concerned about the coconut flavor overpowering the other flavors you’re dealing with, use a 1-1 ratio.And don’t forget about popcorn! Amazing!!! You won’t even need to add butter and it will last for days on the counter, well, it could if you didn’t eat it all.

    • May 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm


      Thank you for this! We LOVE hearing comments such as yours 🙂

  15. May 12, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    When I’m done with the coconut oil and I want to discard it, how would I go about that? I know that pouring down the drain is a bad idea (unless you simultaneously run the hot water for a while). What do you recommend?

    • June 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      When you’re finished with deep frying in coconut oil, we have typically used an empty old glass jar to pour the coconut oil remnants in and then proceed to discard in the trash once full. If you already do this with any other oil after frying, you can mix the two as well. Hope this helps!

  16. merran
    July 6, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I heated organic virgin coconut oil for deep frying and it started smoking – a LOT – before it got to 370 degrees. I fried with it anyway (threw the chips in to cool it down) but the oil looks darker now it’s cooled, than it did before. Have I damaged this oil? Was I wrong to fry with it when it was already smoking? What should I do differently next time?

  17. jo olsen
    August 31, 2015 at 4:06 am

    re discarding used coconut oil. I make fat cakes with birdseed for the wild birds, & have been using lard as a binder, but that is expensive. I wonder if that would be a good use for old used coconut oil .

  18. ken dixon
    September 25, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    where can i purchase coconut oil in a quantity of Approx 5 liters

  19. JayR
    October 4, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I normally deep fry my turkeys in peanut oil. Thinking about using coconut oil this year, so was hoping to get any feedback on taste between peanut oil and coconut oil?

  20. Matthew L
    November 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I have the same question as JayR. I was thinking about using coconut oil to deep fry our turkey this Thanksgiving. Is that a good idea? Any tips? Thanks in advance for your help.

  21. judi
    November 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    can I use coconut oil to deep fry a turkey?

    • January 7, 2016 at 1:33 pm


      You can most definitely deep fry a turkey with coconut oil. Just keep in mind that an unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point around 350 degrees.

  22. ryan dunham
    November 23, 2015 at 10:33 am

    i love using coconut oil, it tastes the cleanest, but im having problems, ive tried multiple brands of coconut oil, and it works fine for the first fry session and maybe the second, but soon as the oil is even slightly dark tinged it starts foaming up like mad! this never happens with vegetable oil,

    whats causing my coconut oil to froth and overflow, makes such a mess, and is a huge waste, coconut oil isnt cheap,


  23. sandra
    December 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I have decided to use coconut oil in my deep fryer at home.. I just started with a small amount because I wanted to see how it heated. It smoked so much I had to turn on the oven fan and open the patio door. Am I doing something wrong? I have the temp set at 375.

    • January 7, 2016 at 1:31 pm


      An unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of about 350 degrees. You most likely used an unrefined oil during this process, which is why this happened. Keep in mind that unrefined coconut oil does have natural health benefits from the medium chain triglycerides. A refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point, so this would be better for deep frying, however, an unrefined coconut oil may be bleached or deodorized, so this is something to remember. Hope this helps!

  24. Michael
    January 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I purchased some unrefined coconut oil for deep frying recently for the first time. Friends came over and we made egg rolls. We started first with plain vegetable oil but then I put in some of the coconut oil (so that it was approximately 1/3 coconut oil) and fried some. I did not expect it to have such a strong coconut taste. Those last egg rolls were pretty awful and no one ate them after the first bite. I was cooking in an iron skillet and used a candy thermometer at 350 degrees. Are there different kinds of coconut oil that don’t have the coconut taste?

    • January 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm


      Sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience with this. A refined coconut oil is usually bleached and/or deodorized, so it won’t have a taste to it. Just keep in mind that with a refined coconut oil, the natural health benefits won’t be the same as an unrefined coconut oil.

  25. Tabatha
    January 11, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I am wondering if I should use different oil for my savory items than my sweet. I am new to deep frying but am excited to try it out. I don’t want to have my donuts taste like onion rings.

  26. vaughan
    January 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I am going to fry some chillies and Garlic and Turmeric powder with Coconut oil as a mixture to put on top of curries, Chinese foods etc, Then going to transfer the mixture into a glass container.

    would this mixture still be healthy ?

  27. Spencer
    March 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    We are just looking at using coconut oil in our deep fat fryer, but looking at these posts we are a bit puzzled to whether to use unrefined or refined as we don’t want to be smoked out and also the food to taste of coconut? Also what are the benefits of unrefined? Any helpful experiences or advise would be much appreciated.

  28. Tony
    April 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I used coconut oil to make tilapia fish tacos and they turned out amazing. The oil temp was at 375. Now, I want to store the oil for next time. Should I put put it in the fridge or back in the cupboard?

  29. Mickey
    July 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Kelapo! I met you at the Expo West last year! I’m opening a bakery and will have donuts and lots of other vegan bakery and need to get large amounts of coconut oil for both frying and baking. Can you give me a contact/email for getting wholesale? Thank you!

    • April 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Mickey, we tried to e-mail you a while back and never received a response. E-mail us at so we can quote you wholesale bulk 🙂

  30. Paul
    October 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    we have used organic coconut oil in a deep fat fryer. and have left it to solidify. around two weeks ago. Is it OK to reheat it and use it again. It is a yellow colour right now/
    any answers please


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