The 5 Best Oils For Tempura

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Tempura is one of those delicacies that everyone wishes they can make at home. The crispy texture of the exterior coupled with the soft shrimp makes for a perfect treat. However, to do this, you need to have the right frying oil with you.

So what are the best oils for tempura? Since you are frying, you will want an oil with a high smoke point. As a general rule, it is best to stick with vegetable oil. This includes sunflower, corn, and canola oil. It is also worth noting that sesame oil is traditionally used to fry tempura.

Of course, the prospect of choosing a frying oil for your tempura can be quite challenging. After all, everybody is afraid of messing it up. That said, we are here to help. So, be sure to reading as we delve deeper into the specific aspects of the best oils for tempura. 

Looking for the Best Oils for Tempura

So before anything else, let’s get the most important thing out of the way: frying oils aren’t all the same.

They have distinct characteristics that make them work well with certain ingredients and not so much with others. So, with a myriad of choices, you need to pick the right one for your needs.

Luckily, we are here to help make that task simpler and easier. Presented here are some of the things you need to consider when looking at the different frying oils.

Refined Vs. Unrefined Oils

Let’s start with the basic differentiation: refined and unrefined oils. The difference between these two is immediately noticeable, especially when speaking of their flavors, colors, and fragrances.

Unrefined oils have a stronger flavor and aromas than their counterparts. This may not be something you would want to use when frying tempura. This is because you will want to retain the specific flavor of the shrimp and the batter.

Unrefined oils may inevitably overshadow these qualities. Of course, there is an exemption to the rule as sesame oil is an unrefined oil, and the additional flavor it brings works well with the tempura.  

In addition to this, refined oils are said to be more stable. This makes them better suited for deep-frying food as they are better equipped to deal with high-temperatures compared to their unrefined counterparts.

Smoke Point

Another factor that you need to consider is the oil’s smoke point. This refers to the temperature at which the oil will start starts breakdown, burn, and smoke.

Generally speaking, refined oils like canola have a much higher smoke point than unrefined oils like extra virgin olive oil.

As any home cook would tell you, frying past the smoke point is ill-advised. This is because you will effectively be transferring the burnt flavor of your oil to your food. At the same time, you will be effectively burning off all the nutrients and phytochemicals in the oil. 

Different Kinds of Frying Oil for Tempura

By now, it is clear that not all oils are ideal for tempura. This is because deep-frying requires high temperatures. Some oils are simply off the table for having too low a smoke point.

Presented below is an overview of the smoke points of different frying oils that you can use for tempura. Be sure to remember these so that you can be guided accordingly:

Oil Quality Smoke Point
Canola oil Refined 428–446°F
Sesame oil Semi-refined 450°F
Sunflower oil Refined 441°F
Corn oil Refined 446-460 °F
Avocado oil Refined 520°F

Overall, canola oil one of the best oils you can use when making tempura. It is light, clear, and has a neutral flavor that can work well with your shrimp and batter. It also has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for deep frying. 

Moreover, canola also has a couple of health benefits. For instance, it is rich in omega-3 and contains low levels of saturated fat. Just remember that you shouldn’t reuse it after frying as the prolonged exposure to heat will inevitably make the oil more unstable after.

Of course, if you are trying to recreate the authentic experience, then you can never go wrong with sesame oil.

Remember, sesame oil is the oil that has been traditionally used to fry tempura. This is because of its strong flavor, unlike other unrefined oils, acts as an additive to the tempura as it imbues the dish with additional flavors and aromas that elevate the experience. 

Our Picks for the 5 Best Oils for Tempura

Now that we have covered everything you need to know about frying oils, it is time that we take on the matter at hand. Namely, which oils are best used for tempura? Presented below are our picks for the best oils for tempura.

RankOilBest Feature
1.Happy Belly Canola OilMost versatile oil
2.Happy Belly Vegetable OilMade from soybeans, non-greasy
3.Crisco Pure Vegetable OilMost neutral flavor
4.BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado OilHighest smoke point (520 F)
5.Kadoya Pure Sesame OilMost traditional for tempura

You may end up loving the results of your delicious tempura so much that you make enough to end up with leftovers, and in that case, we have another article about the best way to reheat tempura.

1. Happy Belly Canola Oil

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First, we have the Canola Oil from Happy Belly. Incredibly versatile and light, this canola oil is perfect for any kitchen.

You can use it for a wide array of recipes including deep frying your tempura. Its neutral flavors and high smoke point make it the perfect tool for the job.

As stated earlier, canola oils are considered to be among the most versatile cooking oils around. This certainly applies to the Happy Belly Canola Oil. 

2. Happy Belly Vegetable Oil

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Next, we have the 48 fluid ounces of Vegetable Oil from Happy Belly. This oil is perfect for cooking and frying, not just tempura, but also in general.

This is because it has a light and neutral flavor palate that helps accentuate the natural flavors that come with your ingredients. Needless to say, your tempura will be all the better for it.

In addition to this, the vegetable oil also serves as a viable and healthy cooking option.

It is completely cholesterol-free and doesn’t contain any trans fats, making it the perfect choice for frying.

Interestingly, the oil itself is made from soybeans. This explains why it is so light. At the same time, unlike other frying oils, it is also non-greasy.

3. Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil

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Next, we have the 64-ounce Crisco Vegetable Oil. In all likelihood, you are probably familiar with the brand. After all, it has become almost synonymous with the product itself.

That said, it should come as no surprise that Crisco’s vegetable oil has landed on this list as it is perfect for frying tempuras.

It is also worth noting that the vegetable oil from Crisco is completely gluten-free.

This means that it does not contain any remnants or derivatives of gluten which include things like oats, wheat, rye, and barley. Needless to say, this is a major advantage if you are looking for a healthy frying option.

In terms of consistency and body, this oil is light and flows relatively well. It also has a neutral flavor palate that helps the flavor of the shrimp rise to the top with every bite. We highly recommend that you give this oil try.

4. BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil

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Next, we have the 100% Pure Avocado Oil Naturally Refined Cooking Oil from BetterBody Foods.

Right off the bat, you will notice the flavors that come with this oil – undeniably smooth and mild. It works well with other foods as it perfectly complements their natural flavor. 

That said, you might find it interesting that this oil has a surprisingly high smoke point of 500°F.

It can take the heat. That is why it is perfect for recipes that require high temperatures for the oil – including deep-frying tempura.

Avocado oil also comes with a lot of health benefits.

It contains similar monounsaturated fat which is considered beneficial for your heart health. At the same time, it is also made from non-GMO and gluten-free ingredients.

5. Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil

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Finally, we have one of the best sesame oils in the market today, Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil, 11 Fluid Ounce.

It has a distinctively Japanese flavor that is pleasing to taste, especially when used on tempura. Incredibly rich and deep, its nutty flavor helps complete the flavors of the dish and makes it unforgettable.

Aside from its excellent and deeply satisfying flavor, it also brings an unforgettable aroma. As you are probably aware the culinary experience isn’t just about flavor.

Rather, it involves the combination of multiple senses with our sense of smell playing a secondary, but altogether important role. That said, this sesame oil helps bring your tempura to another level.

Up Next: Is Sesame Oil Good For Cooking?

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