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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What oil should I use for fondue?

Should I use grapeseed oil, or is there a better choice out there? I fondue meats and veggies (in hot oil), not cheeses and chocolate.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

A fondue pot filled with oil - a cube of meat is held on a fondue fork, ready for dipping

This is a tough question to answer because deep frying is not the healthiest of cooking methods. There is the issue of getting extra fat from the deep frying, but also many questions about what happens to oils when they are heated to very high temperatures.

Fondue is great and should be for special occasions.

If you are going to fondue, using a monounsaturated oil would be a better choice. Canola oil has very little flavor and a high enough smoke point. Extra virgin olive oil is acceptable but virgin olive oil will have fewer impurities and thus an even higher smoke point.

Grapeseed oil would be a good choice because it has a very high smoke point and, in its raw state, is very good for you. It will give the food a very nice fruity flavor.

Letting the meat and veggies cool and drain some of the oil will help to make fondue healthier as well.

Good luck—and be careful with the hot oil.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet