How to pair the right oil with the right foods

There’s still no one-size-fits-all oil for every single restaurant use. Certain oils perform—and taste—better in specific applications, so it is crucial for operators to know what oil best suits what purpose.
oils for food
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Oils are the epitome of a workhorse ingredient; restaurants use them for everything from creating salad dressings and sauces to sautéing and deep-frying and more. Versatile as they are, there’s still no one-size-fits-all oil for every single restaurant use. Certain oils perform—and taste—better in specific applications, so it is crucial for operators to know what oil best suits what purpose.

Main types of oils in restaurants

In restaurants, commonly used oils include salad oils, olive oils, flavored oils, and deep-frying oils.  Each of these has its own specific uses.

Salad Oils

Salad oils are known for their neutral flavor, and there are several varieties to choose from, including soybean, canola, and corn. Best used for light frying and making salad dressings, salad oils are perfect for combining with other flavors to enhance the flavor of your carefully selected ingredients.

Flavored Oils

These days, many kitchens rely on flavored oils to do what other oils cannot, butter-flavored oil especially.  Operators looking for a product that they don’t have to babysit when they’re in the weeds turn to workhorse oils like Whirl© Butter-Flavored Oil.  With a high smoke point that outlasts real butter, a consistent buttery taste that browns like real butter and without the messy splatter of milk solids, butter-flavored oil is a cost-effective replacement for other ingredients.

Deep-Frying Oils

Who doesn’t love a hot, crispy snack right out of the fryer?  What some operators may not know is that the type of frying oil you choose matters.  Not all deep-frying oils are created equal, and they don’t produce the same results or even the same flavor.  When choosing a deep-frying oil, make sure you’re selecting an oil that preserves the flavor of your food and stays in the coveted “sweet spot” for longer.  With proper fryer care techniques and the right oil, you can spend money less on frying oil over time, clean your fryer less often, increase safety, reduce labor costs, and extend the fry life of your oil.

What type of oil is best—single source or a blend?

Depending on the intended application or outcome of a dish, operators can choose between single-source oils and blended oils. Consider the final product when selecting which oil to use. When finishing a dish, single-source oils such as olive oils are ideal.  They lend fruity, or nutty notes to food that bolster the flavor of other ingredients.  However, in dishes where the oil’s flavor is less prominent, such as salad dressings or sauteed dishes, blends can be used without impacting the quality of the finished product.

What else should operators consider when choosing an oil?

Operators have a variety of other factors to consider when selecting an oil for any given application.  These include points such as flavor transfer and commodity versus high-oleic oils.

Flavor Transfer

Flavor transfer is important to consider when choosing an oil. When frying foods, some flavors tend to linger, which will begin to affect the flavor of the finished food over time. Operators should look for an oil that reduces flavor transfer.  Nothing is worse than a piece of fried chicken that tastes like last night’s fish-fry or a sweet funnel cake that’s infused with garlic.

Commodity Vs. High-Oleic Oils

The cost-benefit analysis of these different features will be key when determining food cost and menu pricing; long-lasting fry oils may be more costly up front, but their longevity can help operators control costs over time. Additionally, high-oleic oils may cost more than commodity oils, but they offer a healthier oil profile and are great for maximum shelf life.

With all of these factors to consider, operators may need some assistance in choosing the right oils for their needs. To learn more about different oils, visit


This post is sponsored by Stratas Foods


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