The best part of Hanukkah? No question: All the delicious fried foods we eat, which commemorates the oil lasting eight nights instead of just one. If you are gearing up for some latke, donut, churro or bumuelo frying, here are some of the best oils to handle the job.
Canola or Vegetable Oil
My go-to oil for frying latkes – or anything that takes a bit of time to fry (like schnitzel or sufganiyot) – is canola or vegetable oil because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor. When you are frying you tend to use a larger quantity of oil, and it’s definitely the most cost-effective choice. You can reuse canola oil for frying – just use a fine mesh sieve to strain out any pieces of food in the oil, store in a container at room temperature, and use 1-2 additional times, depending on how much cooking debris is left in the oil.
Made from sunflower seeds, safflower oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavor, but is pricier than canola or vegetable oil. However, it may be the healthier option for frying, since some research has indicated that there are numerous health benefits to cooking with it, including fighting inflammation and boosting heart health.
Like safflower oil, avocado oil has a high smoke, though it has a much stronger – sometimes sweet – flavor, which may add an unwanted taste, especially when it comes to latkes. It also can be pricey, and since you need a large quantity of oil for Hanukkah-frying projects, that can add up quickly.
Peanut oil has a high smoke point, which is why it’s commonly used for deep frying (hello, Five Guys French fries!). It can add a rich, nutty or buttery flavor, which you may or may not enjoy. While it’s a cheaper option than safflower oil and avocado oil, due to the prevalence of nut allergies, I tend to stay away from using this, just in case.
OK, I wouldn’t recommended frying your latkes exclusively in schmaltz for two reasons: it’s pretty fatty and you will need a large quantity of it. However, if you are into going old-school, my recommendation is to use ⅔ canola oil to ⅓ schmaltz, to balance the flavor.