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Can I Reuse Cooking Oil?

One often asked question during hard times is, Can I Reuse Cooking Oil, it’s so expensive, I don’t want to waste it? The answer depends upon who you ask, the kind of cooking oil, how many times it has already been used and what the oil has been used for already.

bottle of vegetable oil

Reusing Fry Oil

If you’ve hung around here any time at all, you’ll know that I often use reserved bacon grease for cooking and I save it in a mason jar in my kitchen.

Reusing fry oil is something that is done in restaurants all over the world (or at least ones where frying happens) but if you pose this question on the internet for home cooks, you’ll likely get a rabid and loud opposite answer.

So, why the big difference? Because there are RULES about reusing fry oil that must be followed or you’ll end up with rancid yucky oil and you could end up sick. So, user beware, follow the tips and instructions listed below.

How To Reuse Cooking Oil

There are some important things to remember before you reuse cooking oil so that your oil doesn’t end up rancid and gross.

  1. Only reuse high temp cooking oils like vegetable, canola, peanut, etc.
  2. Filter the cooking oil before storing it.
  3. Only reuse it a couple of times and then throw it out and start with new.

Does Reusing Cooking Oil Cause Cancer

Obviously, this is a food website and not a health website.

Perhaps using cooking oil until the consistency and the chemical makeup of the oil changes causes a problem, but if you look at several sources, you will see that reusing cooking oil a time or two isn’t going to cause any problem.

oil in cup

How Many Times Can You Reuse Fry Oil

There’s no hard and fast rule about how many times you can reuse fry oil. You can tell when it needs to be thrown out because your foods will brown but not be cooked through.

That’s how you know it’s time to throw it away. That’s easy enough, right?

Can I Reuse Oil After Frying…

Can I Reuse Oil After Frying Chicken?

Yes, you can reuse the fry oil after frying chicken to an internal temperature of 165. Simply strain the oil and then you can reuse.

Can I Reuse Oil After Frying French Fries?

Absolutely! Simply strain the oil and then reuse.

How about Country Fried Steak

Sure! Just cook the meat to an internal temp of 145 and you are good to go. Strain the oil and then reuse.

What You Need to Reuse Fry Oil

You’ll need a few things to reuse fry oil, but not many and some can be improvised.

You’ll need space to allow the oil to cool that is free from bugs (like flies, fruit flies, etc.)

It’s very handy to have a strainer. The photo is an Amazon link and I am an Amazon Affiliate, you can click the photo to go through to Amazon and compare prices.

Coffee Filters also work well to strain the oil and you can use them in conjunction with the strainer or instead of.

You’ll need something to keep the oil in (the container that it came out of works well), but a container like this also works (and this one has a built in strainer!). Just choose a container with a lid that seals well.

A tray like this that you can put under the whole thing also helps, but you can also use newspaper, parchment or wax paper or just use your sink (be careful not to pour much (if any) oil down your sink. It could cause a clog.

Where Do I Keep the Oil?

Just keep the oil at room temperature. I store mine in my pantry but a kitchen cabinet works fine too.

You do not have to keep it in the fridge, but it won’t hurt anything if you do.

Will People Think I’m Gross for Reusing Oil

I guess that depends on what kind of friends you have. If you have friends who are offended by your thriftiness, then maybe you should rething your friends?

Perhaps your friends just don’t know that you can save the cooking oil and reuse it and you’ll be doing them a favor by referring them to this article!

How to Strain Cooking Oil

Before saving your cooking oil, you’ll want to remove all of the little crunchies that collect in the oil.

If you leave these in the oil, it can cause the oil to go rancid quickly.

The best way to do this is to pour it through a strainer and/or a coffee filter. I often use both.

Here’s How…

  1. Place a coffee filter in the strainer.
  2. Pour the oil into the strainer (be careful not to pour too quickly, it takes a second for it to drain through).
  3. Repeat if you notice that any of the crunchies got through.
vegetable oil

How To Get the Oil Back In the Container

Sometimes the challenge is getting the oil back in the container, especailly if you are reusing the container that the oil came in.

There are several ways to address this issue. You can…

  1. Use a funnel to pour the oil back in the container.
  2. Use a liquid measure carefully pour the liquid.
  3. Find a container with a larger mouth that lends itself to pouring from a larger container.
fried food on cutting board

What Can I Cook With Previously Used Cooking Oil?

You can cook anything you would cook in oil!

It’s possible that you’ll like cooking with used oil better than with new oil. Often, you’ll notice that things brown up more nicely and cook very evenly in lightly used cooking oil.

I like to use my used cooking oil for…

  1. Frying french fries.
  2. Making Fried Chicken
  3. Country Fried Steak

And much much more!

What Should I Avoid Using my Used Oil for?

You can use your reused oil for nearly anything. If you are frying something that is super important to have a light colored breading, then you may want to use fresh new oil or only very lightly used oil.

Used oil can give the appearance of a darker fry that isn’t accurate to the level of “doneness” of the item.

fried things in vat

Is There a Hazard to Reusing Cooking Oil?

Some sources indicate that reused cooking oil can cause a hazard. Of course, check out this information and see if it applies to your kitchen.

Many of the resources I checked indicated that these warnings were for commercial kitchens. As you know, a commercial kitchen isn’t changing out the entire vat of deep fryer oil every time they fry a batch of french fries.

Take this information and apply it to your own uses.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Many Times Can I Reuse Oil

You can reuse oil several times, when the oil begins to darken significantly, you’ll know that it’s time to change the oil.

Do I Always Need to Put the Oil Back in the Container?

You can leave the oil in the fry pot that you use, however, you’ll need to be careful about the fry bits that come off during frying. These can become rancid.

What Kind of Oil Can I Do This With?

You’ll want to stick to the lighter flavor oils and higher temp oils like Canola, Vegetable and Peanut Oil.

pouring oil

Tips and Tricks

  • Be sure to strain the oil if it will be more than a day or so before you use the oil again to remove the small fry bits that can accumulate in the oil. These can go rancid.
  • When you plan to reuse oil, be sure to use the higher cook temp oils like vegetable, canola and peanut oils.
  • You can reuse oil until it darkens and changes colors. This is a good way to know that the oil is finished.
  • The oils that reuse the best are ones that have been used for clean frying like fondues, frozen french fries, etc.
  • Keep the reusable oil in a cool dark place for storage.

Watch Saving Cooking Oil

Can You Give Me a Hand?

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Can I Reuse Cooking Oil?

bottle of vegetable oil

Learn how to save cooking oil for reuse to help you save money in the kitchen!

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $0.00

Materials

  • cooking oil

Tools

  • Strainer
  • Container

Instructions

  1. Allow Cooking Oil to Cool to Room Temp.
  2. Set strainer over bowl or container with coffee filter in the strainer basket.
  3. Carefully pour the used cooking oil into the strainer. Be sure to allow time for the oil to process through the filter.
  4. Restrain if any bits or crusties get through the strainer.
  5. Pour the strained oil into the canister that you will keep the oil in.

Notes

  • Use high temp oils like canola, vegetable or peanut oils for reuse.
  • Once the oil becomes dark, it's time to get new.
  • Keep oil in a dark cool place.
  • Be sure to strain the oil if it will be more than a day or so before you use the oil again to remove the small fry bits that can accumulate in the oil. These can go rancid.
  • The oils that reuse the best are ones that have been used for clean frying like fondues, frozen french fries, etc.

A Verse To Share

Maybe someone needs this today? It’s where my Bible fell open. The whole passage is worth a read. Just after this, the little children come to Jesus.

Matthew 18: 8-9

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

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