Is it safe to reuse cooking oil

There is a lot written in the media about not to save the oil or ghee that has been used for frying for re-use. As it is, frying once changes the composition of the fat/oil so it seems that twice used fat must be horrible. There is an even greater health risk when you cook with pre-cooked oil/ghee.


Actually, reusing cooking oil has been done for ages. There isn’t really is any problem, if done properly. The greatest hazard is allowing the oil or ghee to become spoiled to the point that it produces undesirable flavours and odours. When oil becomes spoiled, it appears dark and thick. Besides ruining what would have been a perfectly good meal, spoilt oils also contain free radicals that are potentially carcinogenic.

To understand how to best re-use oil, it is important to know about smoke points – the temperatures at which oil begins to decompose. If you heat oil to a temperature that is too high, it produces smoke fumes. Acreolin, a substance that makes your eyes burn, is given off as well. To re-use oil safely, use these tips: strain it through a few layers of muslin cloth to catch any food particles. Be careful with hot oil, though, because you can easily get burned. Shake off excess batter from food before frying it. Turn off the heat after you are done cooking. Also exposing oil to prolonged heat accelerates rancidity. Do not ever mix different types of oil. Store all oils, fresh or used in a cool, dark place. Avoid iron kadais for frying oil that is to be reused. The metal also accelerates rancidity.

The optimal temperature to fry foods at is 190°C At higher temperatures, the food will burn on the outside and at lower temperatures, the food absorbs too much oil and tastes greasy. Different oils have different smoking points. Oils with higher smoking points are better for frying. For example, safflower, sunflower, soyabean. The more popular ones like groundnut oil have a lower smoking point. And olive oil has the lowest. This explains the reason why olive oil is never used for deep frying.

But olive oil, thanks to its goodness, adds more to Indian food! How about some daily recipes that can be cooked with olive oil….



Subzi aur tamatar ka pulao


Paneer keema

Batata nu shaak

Happy Cooking!

Sanjeev Kapoor.

4 thoughts on “Is it safe to reuse cooking oil

  1. Anusha's Mom

    thank you these tips are helpful! I do-reuse oil and as you suggested I take it out of the kadai in a clean stainless steel utensil and then use that for 'tadka' in sabjis and other.Keep more of similar tips coming :)!

  2. Neha

    very helpful post indeed…I was looking for this info as most of us say not to reuse oil, but I was reluctant to throw it every time I deep fried..

  3. M

    Fried food is tasty, but the truth is that it is very bad us. Frying food at high temperatures (350 degrees+) produces all sorts of dangerous, cancer causing, toxic chemicals. That's a fact. The science has been around for years, please take the time to investigate.Additionally, cooking foods at these temps, unless using a 'wet' method (boiling, steaming, etc.) produces the same negative results.Reusing oil that food has been cooked in at high temperature is a VERY bad idea; it may contain concentrations of certain toxic substances that you cannot smell, see, or taste, but will surely damage to the body. Eating fried food at a restaurant is especially damaging because of the volume of food that is cooked, at the fact that restaurant oil is frequently filtered and reused. Just because something has been done for a long time doesn't mean that we should continue to practice it! We have been given, as humans, the faculty to learn from our mistakes, and apply what we know to benefit future generations. We KNOW that frying is bad for health, and we KNOW that reusing oil is not worth the risk to our health, so why do it? There are SO many wonderfully delicious dishes that can be prepared that don't involve frying or cooking anything at high temperatures. Is it difficult to refrain from eating fried foods…of course! Is it worth it…absolutely!

  4. Avik

    While I like Sanjeev Kapoor and just bought his recently published book, How To Cook Indian, I am disappointed that he lifted almost word for word the contents of this answer from another article withput giving any credit to his source of info. Here's where the original content can be found dating back to November '02 – http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/2277.html

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