What is not to love about Chick-Fil-A? Fresh sandwiches prepared with great sauces, with a great dining experience. However, people have allergies and, at times, may wonder if Chick-Fil-A uses cooking oils that may trigger their allergy reaction. So, what oil does Chick-Fil-A use?
Chick-Fil-A uses primarily 100% refined peanut oil to cook their food, with the waffle fries only using canola oil. Chick-Fil-A believes peanut oil does not over-flavor their food, is healthier, and has a high smoke point, meaning they are excellent for frying. Chick-Fil-A’s peanut oil has also been purified to be safe for peanut-allergic people.
In this post, we explore Chick-Fil-A’s oil, why they decide to use it, and if they use other oils too. We also explore the oil itself, such as what makes it better.
Why Does Chick-Fil-A Use Peanut Oil?
Chick-Fil-A uses peanut oil because that has been its original recipe, as created by its founder, Truett Cathy. Chick-Fil-A also likes peanut oil since it does not alter the flavor or the food after being fried. Peanut oil also exhibits a higher smoke point, making it excellent for frying. Plant oils are also free from gluten and healthier.
To Stay Original
The recipe for the original chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A uses peanut oil for frying, as created by its founder Truett Cathy. Truett Cathy has experimented with many cooking oils before arriving at peanut oil. When the recipe is so successful and has helped Chick-Fil-A make billions, there is no reason to switch to other cooking oil.
Chick-Fil-A is a company with a southern origin, which also helps it source its peanut oil; they source their peanut oil from the southern states of the United States, where peanuts were planted aplenty. Chick-Fil-A is also very committed to the oil that it regularly brings its partners to visit these peanut farms and tour the processing.
High Smoke Point
Peanut oil is one of the most heat-tolerant oils, with a smoke point of 450°F (230°C). This is higher than other popular cooking oils such as olive, soybean, sunflower, or canola oil. A high smoke point means peanut oil can hold a lot of heat before burning out, making it excellent for frying.
Peanut oil is also taste-neutral, meaning it will not impart peanut flavor to the food it cooks. This means if you fry a chicken in peanut oil, it will retain its chicken taste without carrying the peanut taste. This differs from some oils, such as clarified butter, avocado, sesame, or coconut oil.
Peanut oil, being vegetable oil, is healthier than, say, animal-based fat or oil such as grease or schmaltz. Peanut oil contains no saturated fat, nor does it contain gluten or carbohydrates. The peanuts used in Chick-Fil-A’s oil are also non-GMO.
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Is Refined Oil Better Than Unrefined Oil?
Both refined and unrefined oil has their own strengths and weaknesses. Unrefined oil may be healthier as it has more nutrients and flavor. However, it may not last long and may contain impurities that may not be good. Refined oils last longer and are often cheaper but may lack flavor.
Depending on the requirements, refined or unrefined oil may be best for your case.
Unrefined oils are oils that are raw and do not undergo any processing. Examples may include extra virgin olive oils or any other ‘cold-pressed’ oils. The best thing about unrefined oils is their natural state, which retains all the nutrients and flavor. This may be highly desired by some dishes, such as salads.
Refined oils are often raw oils that have undergone processing. Usually, processing removes things such as impurities, allergens, flavors, and nutrients from the oil. These may strip the oil from many of the nice things it has, but as a result, the oil is more stable and has a longer shelf life.
When it comes to Chick-Fil-A, it makes sense to use refined peanut oil.
This is because refined peanut oil removes all its impurities, including allergenic compounds and proteins. This makes the oil much safer for those with peanut allergies. However, if you are extremely sensitive to peanut oil. You should still check with your doctor if you can consume 100% refined peanut oil.
Refined oils also do not contain flavor, meaning the oil will not cause the food to taste differently. Refined peanut oil also lasts longer, meaning less spoilage and losses for Chick-Fil-A as well.
Can You Eat At Chick-Fil-A If You Have Peanut Allergy?
You can eat at Chick-Fil-A if you have a peanut allergy. This is because the peanut oil used at Chick-Fil-A is 100% refined, meaning all the proteins that could trigger allergies have been removed. However, you may want to have a chat with your doctor for complete peace of mind.
If you have peanut allergies, you may feel a little concerned about eating peanut oil, since those with allergies can be very sensitive to it. Some may get into allergic reactions that are so severe that it may be a matter between life or death.
However, you should be fine with Chick-Fil-A’s peanut oil since the oils are 100% refined. This means all the proteins from peanut oil that may trigger your allergic reaction have been removed from the oil. This means even if the oil is peanut oil, it does not trigger your allergic reaction.
However, consider checking with your health provider to see if you can eat refined peanut oil for your safety. Some people may be so sensitive to it that they might not even be able to handle peanut’s derivatives, such as its oils and so on.
Does Chick Fil A Use Other Oils For Cooking?
Aside from 100% refined peanut oil, Chick-Fil-A also uses canola oil for their food. However, canola oil is only used to make waffle fries. Chick-Fil-A initially started cooking their waffle fries in peanut oil but later switched to canola oil, believing canola oil helps to make the potato taste sweeter.
Chick-Fil-A has been using 100% refined peanut oil to cook its food since its founding in 1946. It is believed that peanut oil is the best as it has a high smoke point, is flavorless, and is healthier for cooking.
However, Chick-Fil-A announced they started using canola oil to fry their waffle fries. This initially surprised many due to their commitment to peanut oil. However, it is believed that canola oil helps accentuate the potato’s sweetness, making it tastier.
Canola oil shares many characteristics with peanut oil: a high smoke point and no flavor. It also is plant oil, meaning it has no trans or saturated fat and does not contain cholesterol.
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Do Other Fast Food Restaurants Use Peanut Oil Too?
Most major fast food chains in the US do not use peanut oil but other types of plant oil to do their cooking. These oils include canola, soybean, corn, and rice bran. Most of these companies have their reasons for using a particular oil. Most avoided peanut oil as they wanted to remove as many potential allergens from their food as possible.
|Burger King||Corn, Canola, Soybean, Cottonseed|
|Chipotle||Rice Bran Oil|
|Wendy’s||Palm, Soybean, Corn|
|Taco Bell||Soybean, Canola|
KFC does not use peanut oil, citing issues with keeping the oil allergen-free. It instead uses a blend of canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil. KFC mixed these oils with additives such as citric acid and TBHQ. TBHQ is a type of food additive that can help extend the shelf life of its oil and prevent it from spoiling. Dimethylpolysiloxane is also added as an anti-foaming agent.
Popeyes now uses palm oil, which is directly sourced. The palm oil Popeyes uses is RSPO Mass Balance certified, or covered by RSPO certification. An RSPO certification indicated that palm oil is sourced from sustainable sources. This means the palm oil is farmed responsibly and does not involve slash and burn agriculture.
It seems that Burger King uses various cooking oil to prepare their food. They listed corn, canola, soy, or cottonseed oils. It is believed that Burger King mixes the oils to ensure that their burgers and food taste better and are unique compared to other competitors.
Mcdonald’s uses a special canola oil blend to fry their food, such as friends, nuggets, etc. They do not use peanut oil for similar reasons, such as KFC, to try to keep their food offerings as allergen-free as possible.
Pizza hut uses soybean oil in its cooking. Size their fried dishes. Pizza Hut also uses soybean oil in the preparation of its pizzas. The oils are used to flavor the pizzas. Pizza Hut also uses soybean oil to lubricate the baking pans to prevent pizzas from sticking to the pan.
Chipotle also stays away from peanut oil, possibly due to its potential to trigger allergic reactions in some people. Instead, Chipotle uses rice bran oil. Rice bran oil also comes with a high smoke point, making it excellent for frying. It is also a type of vegetable oil, meaning it is healthier.
Wendy’s also shies away from peanut oil, possibly due to its allergenic potential. Instead, Wendy’s uses a mixture of oil to cook and fry, such as palm, soybean, and corn oil. These oils are plant-based, meaning they are healthier. Their choice of palm oil may also be driven by its very high smoke point. Wendy’s palm oil is sustainably sourced.
Taco Bell cooks with soybean and canola oil. This choice is likely motivated by its high smoke point and the fact that there may be fewer people with soy allergies than peanut allergies. Like refined peanut oil, refined soybean oil also removes the proteins that may trigger allergic reactions. Taco Bell also uses canola oil for its fryers.