Skip to Content

What oil can I use to fry turkey besides peanut oil?

When it comes to frying turkey, peanut oil is often considered the best choice. It has a high smoke point, meaning it can withstand the high heat of frying without burning. However, some people need to avoid peanut oil due to allergies or other dietary restrictions. Luckily, there are several good alternative oils that can also be used for deep frying turkey.

Canola Oil

One of the top recommended peanut oil alternatives is canola oil. Like peanut oil, canola oil has a high smoke point of around 400°F. This makes it suitable for deep frying at the temperatures required to cook a turkey thoroughly without burning the oil. Canola oil also has a mild flavor that won’t overwhelm the taste of the turkey. When heated, it forms less oil foam compared to some other oils. The light color of canola oil won’t negatively impact the appearance of the fried turkey either.


  • High smoke point around 400°F
  • Neutral taste doesn’t impact turkey flavor
  • Less foaming when heated
  • Light color doesn’t darken turkey skin


  • More expensive than vegetable or corn oil
  • Not always easy to find in large quantities for deep frying

Vegetable Oil

Plain vegetable oil, often a blend of canola, corn, soybean, and/or sunflower oils, is readily available and budget-friendly. With a high smoke point and neutral flavor, it performs similarly to canola oil. Vegetable oil is less prone to foaming up compared to peanut oil as well. The main drawback is that the color of vegetable oil may be darker than canola oil. So it could potentially cause the turkey skin to darken more during frying.


  • Inexpensive and widely available
  • High smoke point around 400-450°F
  • Neutral flavor
  • Low foaming


  • Darker color may cause skin darkening
  • Generic blend, not a specific oil

Corn Oil

Another affordable, readily available option is corn oil. It has a high smoke point of around 450°F, so it responds well to high frying heat. Corn oil is also lighter in color than vegetable oil, so it may cause less skin darkening. The flavor is relatively neutral too. The main drawbacks are that it may foam more than other oils during frying. Some people also feel the flavor has a slightly stronger taste compared to the other oils, though not overwhelmingly so.


  • Inexpensive and accessible
  • Very high smoke point of 450°F
  • Lighter color than vegetable oil
  • Mostly neutral flavor
  • Cons

    • Tends to foam during frying
    • May impart slight taste

    Sunflower Oil

    Sunflower oil is growing in popularity for frying turkeys. It has a light color and doesn’t absorb flavors easily. With a smoke point around 440°F, sunflower oil holds up well to the high heat. Availability in large quantities for deep frying may be limited in some areas. But overall sunflower oil is a good peanut oil alternative if you can get it. The mild flavor will let the turkey shine.


    • Light color doesn’t darken turkey skin
    • Doesn’t absorb flavors
    • High smoke point of 440°F
    • Neutral taste


    • May be less available in large quantities
    • More expensive than vegetable or corn oil

    Soybean Oil

    Soybean oil is also suitable for deep frying turkey with a smoke point of around 450°F. It has a lighter color that won’t considerably darken turkey skin. Soybean oil doesn’t have a very strong flavor either. The drawbacks are that it tends to foam more during frying compared to other oils. Availability in large amounts for deep frying may also be less compared to something like vegetable oil.


    • Light color doesn’t affect turkey appearance
    • High smoke point around 450°F
    • Relatively neutral flavor


    • Tends to foam during frying
    • May be less available than some other oils

    Peanut Oil Alternatives Comparison

    Here is a comparison of some of the key characteristics and considerations when choosing an alternative frying oil to peanut oil:

    Oil Smoke Point Flavor Color Foaming Availability Price
    Canola oil 400°F Neutral Light Low Moderate Moderate
    Vegetable oil 400-450°F Neutral Darker Low High Cheap
    Corn oil 450°F Slightly stronger Lighter Higher High Cheap
    Sunflower oil 440°F Neutral Light Low Moderate Moderate
    Soybean oil 450°F Neutral Light Higher Moderate Cheap

    Tips for Frying Turkey in Peanut Oil Alternatives

    When frying turkey in oils besides peanut oil, keep these tips in mind for best results:

    • Use a large stock pot or turkey fryer to allow room for the oil to bubble up during heating without overflowing or causing a fire hazard.
    • Monitor the oil temperature carefully and maintain it around 350-375°F for even cooking.
    • Lower the turkey slowly into the oil using a lift, pulley system or sturdy utensils to prevent oil splatter.
    • Cook for around 3-4 minutes per pound to fully heat the turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part.
    • Remove turkey slowly and carefully from the hot oil and let drain/cool before carving.
    • Dispose of used oil properly. Do not pour down drains where it may clog pipes.

    The Bottom Line

    While peanut oil may be the most popular choice for deep frying turkey, several healthier, more budget-friendly oils make great substitutes. Canola, vegetable, corn, sunflower, and soybean oils can all withstand the high heat. With their neutral flavors and light colors, they will produce a delicious fried turkey. Just make sure to take proper safety precautions when frying with any hot oil.