Ask LH: What Can I Do With Used Deep Fryer Oil?

Dear Lifehacker, The oil in my deep fryer needs replacing. Rather than throw out the oil, is there a way to repurpose it? Thanks, Chiptastic

Dear Chiptastic,

The question of just how long you can keep using the same oil in a deep fryer before you have to replace it has always been contentious amongst cooks. Nonetheless, there inevitably comes a time when it's time to drain the deep fryer, and that leaves you with a substantial quantity of mildly unpleasant liquid.

Don't be tempted to pour it down the sink: you'll pollute the waterways and quite possibly block your sink in the process. If you're just looking to get rid of it, wait for it to cool, pour it into a disposable container (a milk carton is a popular choice) and pop it in the rubbish.

That might seem wasteful, but there aren't too many obvious alternative uses accessible to home users, with one big exception: composting. If you have a compost heap, you can add used vegetable oil quite safely. (The same isn't true of animal fats; check out this handy list from Clean Up Australia for more details on what you can and can't compost.)

There are anecdotal accounts online of people passing on their oil to farmers for use in feed and commercial operations which repurpose oil to produce biofuels, but both options are more realistic for restaurants and takeaway food joints than for individual cooks. (If you're producing industrial quantities of used deep fryer oil, it's time to look at your diet.)

If readers have additional hints on what to do with household quantities of used deep fryer oil, I'd love to hear them in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    I use 'katameru tenpuru', a powder that solidifies the oil which makes it easier to dispose. It's a Japanese product bought from the Japanese cheap stores like Tokuya or Daiso.

    Donate to a biodiesel distiller, or see if your local takeaway joint sells used oil to a biodiesel distiller.

      You don't need to do anything to it to run a diesel engine with it. just filter the chunky bits out and pour it in to the tank. Been doing it for ages. used to get drums of the stuff for free from a couple of the local fish and chip shops until they started getting paid to have it collected.

    Heat the oil and remove any water.
    After it is cool moved to a suitable container and use the oils to lite a lamp in the summer.
    Add heaps of citrus oils from orange peels to keep the mossies away
    I haven't done it but its an idea.

    Make sure the final thing you cook in the deep fryer is bacon, then make soap out of the oil.

    I haven't made it, but Bacon-scented soap would be different...

      For a second there I read "make soup out of the oil". Bacon-scented soup mmmmm

    You can pour the oil over your firewood in your wood fire to make the wood burn longer and hotter. Works a treat for stretching out the life of your last piece of redgum.

      ...and making your fire smell like chicken nuggets.

    My local council resource recovery centre accepts used cooking oil along side used motor oil. Not sure what they do with it.

    Turn it into soap, you only need the addition of water and Sodium Hydroxide, (caustic soda).

    Use it to burn your kitchen down. Then claim a new kitchen from GIO.

      I lolled

    See if your local take away has a oil collection system out the back. Ask if you can dispose of it there. Most of that will end up as stock feed, biodiesel feedstock or maybe soap manufacture (mostly o/s).

    Bottle it and then set up stall in the middle of your local Westfield, find strangely attractive women with foreign accents to harass anyone walking pass and tell them its a secret skin product from the dead sea that has been used for 2000+ years.


    I pour a little of my used cooking oil over my dog's dried dogfood each day. They love it, and it helps keep their coats shiny. My dogs are Border Collies, with lots of energy. They burn the extra kj's without a problem. I probably would not recommend this for more sedentary breeds.

    Use it to get rid of onion weed. you squirt a bit at the base of the onion weed and it seeps down and stops the roots working. Pulling the stuff out only makes it worse.

    Oh my goodnees, the chips!

    Is it just me ? Or, has anyone else noticed ? All the Deep Fried Fast Food and fried Junk Food ( like potato chips ) have an unpleasant taste, now (PLZ, GOD. NOOO ! ). I'm speculating, it's some new, money-making , "green", industrial, bio-diesel, cooking oil. I've noticed, in the last year or so, everything's been changing over (even beef jerky and breakfast burrito bacon and some, they're using it for stove top frying , too ). And also, I really must mention (at the risk of T.M.I. ), We're talking , UNBELIEVABLY SMELLY DUMPS, FOLKS ( you know... human waste...courtesy flush...air freshener spray...). I think, I'm even beginning the smell it, down wind, at low tide. I say, If it even makes raw sewage smell worse, it can't be good to eat. Then again, I could be mistaken. Maybe, I've just got the leading symptoms of a major brain decease....Or perhaps, it's Irritable Bowel Syndrome.... anyway , we shall see ..... we .... shall ..... see..... ( smell, too ).

    The burn your kitchen down was gold. I'm still laughing

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