Keep your oil at the right temperature


  • Raising the temperature of the frying oil higher than 185°C causes it to breakdown more rapidly.
  • High levels of acrylamide (which has been associated with cancer) have been measured in fried foods. The World Health Organisation recommendation to reduce acrylamide: “Set the temperature of the oil at the start of frying to no more than 175°C and cook to a golden-yellow rather than a golden brown colour (WHO, 2008).
  • If the temperature is too low, a greasy product is produced.

Survey (1998)

  • A wide range of frying oil temperatures was recorded: 136 – 233°C
  • Just before the basket of chips was put into the fryer, 57% of outlets had frying medium temperatures outside the survey reference range of 175 – 190°C (this temperature range was used to allow for 5°C variation either side of the recommended range which is 175-180°C).
  • Temperature differences of greater than 20°C between the fryer temperature setting and the temperature of the frying oil were found in 26% of outlets.

Workshop Discussion

  • A digital thermometer should be used to regularly check the actual temperature of the frying oil.
  • The majority of independent fast food outlets have older fryers. Newer fryers have better temperature control.
  • Cooking time is affected by potato variety and the sugar content.
  • The amount of food cooked at one time will influence the frying oil temperature, therefore use 1:6 food:oil ratio to avoid overloading the fryer.
  • The 175-180°C range is a realistic goal, taking into account World Health Organisation recommendation and current foodservice practice.


Cook your chips at a temperature of 175°C for between 3 – 4 minutes.
Use a digital thermometer to check the accuracy of the oil temperature every week.