Evaporated vs. Condensed Milk
Blending Hot Liquids

Smoke Point

I recently heard a TV chef say that she prefers a certain kind of oil because it has a high smoke point.  What is a smoke point, and why does it matter?


The smoke point of any oil or fat is the temperature at which it begins to smoke.  This is  important because at or near the smoke point, the oil begins to also undergo chemical breakdown.  The byproducts of this breakdown can ruin the taste of the food being prepared.  Also, at this temperature there is greater risk that the fumes given off could igniting, causing a fire.

Oils with a higher smoke point will withstand higher temperatures for longer periods of time without degrading as quickly.  Chefs prefer certain oils like peanut oil for deep frying because of their high smoke point,  and neutral color and flavor.

According to The New Professional Chef, Sixth Edition from the Culinary Institute Of America the smoke points for some common oils are:

Smoke Point
Oil or Fat °F °C
Butter, whole 300 150
Butter, clarified 300 150
Corn Oil 350 175
Lard 375 190
Olive Oil 375 190
Peanut Oil 440 225
Safflower Oil 510 265
Vegetable Shortening 325 165
Sunflower Oil 440 225

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