09/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Secret to Good French Fries

Why are those incredible fries at your favorite burger joint impossible
to replicate? Here's one thing to consider: That burger joint isn't starting
out with fresh frying oil every morning.


I don't care what anyone tells you, deep-fry oil should be reused. You're
going to get more flavor out of oil that you've used before. Plus, it's more

Here's how to reuse frying oil:

1. Turn off the heat under the oil as soon as you're finished frying and let
it cool completely.

2. Strain the oil into an airtight container. (Many people will tell you to strain oil through cheesecloth. I just use a fine mesh strainer when I return it to its bottle. I'm sure there are dedicated foodies out there straining their oil through a double thickness of unbleached Belgian linen and storing it in dedicated, temperature-controlled vaults. Not me.)

3. Store at room temp, away from sunlight, until next use.

After about five uses, it's time for a fresh batch of oil. But before you
toss the old stuff check with your local recycling center to see if they
accept food-grade oils.

The variety of the oil you use to deep fry is important: The higher quality you start off with, the more times you're going to be able to filter and reuse. Choose an oil with a smoke point (the temp at which the oil starts to smoke) that's higher than the temperature at which you will be frying. Usually the higher the smoke point, the better. (Check out's tip on Best Frying Oil. The site's Frying Tips are also good.) href=>Canola oil will work. For years
I've sworn by href=>peanut oil,
with its high smoke point and light, nutty flavor. As part of my effort to
perfect tempura at home (status: not yet) I have begun to use target="_new"
bran oil
. This Japanese import has everything going for it: very high
smoke-point (490 degrees!), light, almost fugitive taste, and lots of
essential nutrients, including a strong dose of vitamin E. It's not always
easy to find; check at Whole Foods or Asian grocery stores.

Along with Bridget Moloney, I am part of on's Project Recipe—cooking my way through the Top 100 Dishes. Last week's featured dish was French fries. To find out what I thought of BA's Twice-Cooked French Fries recipe, you can see the full post on Project Recipe.