What Causes Cooking Oil To Explode When Cooking?

What Causes Cooking Oil To Explode When Cooking?

The causes of explosion from cooking oil should be considered, to prevent such from happening in the home or restaurants, because it can result in kitchen hazards, loss of lives, and property.

The cooking oil is highly essential for most households and restaurants, as it is used for baking, frying, and greasing, among other uses. It is almost an inevitable prerequisite for cooking.

While using the cooking oil, especially when frying, there can be splatters and splashes that can cause injury to the body, or even fire in the kitchen. Worst of all, there can be an explosion of the cooking oil when cooking, if not managed properly.

The cooking oil can explode when the food containing water molecules hits the hot oil, and the high temperature from the oil begins to create tiny pockets of steam that burst. Once many oil-coated drops land on the fire, it can result in an explosion. Also, if too much food is added to the pot at once, the volume of bubbles could cause the oil to rise up and over the sides of the pot.

The splatters from the hot oil around the kitchen itself can be messy and scary, worst of all is when the splash lands on your skin. The pain it gives is second to none.

Oil splattering on the stove can cause an explosion, which is a common kitchen nightmare that both home cooks and professional chefs dread happening when cooking. So, read on to learn the causes and how they can be prevented.

Why Cooking Oil Explodes When Cooking

What Causes Cooking Oil To Explode When Cooking?
Source: Union Trade Info

You should know that water and oil do not mix. When water comes in contact with very hot oil, the result is an explosion, which will cause injuries.

A thermometer is ideal for the fryer to get the right temperature. Once the right temperature is used in frying, the risk of the oil exploding is reduced greatly. Also, cooking oil can explode when ice cubes or frozen foods like turkey and chicken are put in the hot oil.

Naturally, when the wet meat is put in the sizzling hot oil you can be sure to experience the oil splattering and splashing, and if not well managed, fire can erupt. To avoid this, pat your meat or chicken with a dry paper towel before putting it into the pan.

Also, if the food contains much moisture or sauce, putting the food in a colander will allow the excess moisture to drip off before placing it into the oil.

When there is a grease fire, water should not be used to turn it off as it shoots up. Immediately turn off the fuel, cover the frying pan with a lid or use a grease fire extinguisher.

In the case of a small fire, you can also use baking soda. You should note that flour, sugar, and salt should not be used to put out a grease fire as they also contain ingredients that could also cause an explosion.

Avoiding A Grease Fire or Explosion When Using Cooking Oil

Stopping a fire caused by an explosion of hot oil is a lot more stressful than actually preventing the fire from happening in the first instance. To save your skin and home from injury as a result of a cooking oil explosion, follow these tips.

  • Make sure the fryer is away from flammable structures. 
  • Don’t overfill the pot or pan with oil. When the pan is full, it is more likely for the oil to escape into the fire when food is placed into it.
  • It is recommended that you pick a deeper pan with higher sides that are more likely to keep oil contained.
  • The hotter the oil, the more combustible it is; keep the oil under 350 °F. 
  • Thoroughly defrost your frozen food before throwing it into the hot oil.
  • Do not toss your food into the hot oil to prevent splatters and splashes. Move a little close to the fryer and lower the food slowly into the oil.
  • You can turn off the cooker when you realize that the oil is reaching its flashpoints before putting in the food.
  • Make sure you have an approved grease-fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of a grease fire.
  • In as much as experiments when cooking is great, never transfer flaming alcohol from one pan to the other.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Pan Oil Explode?

When the oil gets too hot, and it spills over to the burner, it can cause an explosion. Check the temperature of the cooking oil when frying, to be sure it is still within the moderate temperature, and when turning wet food into the oil, do not toss it over, but carefully turn it in, yet keeping a distance to avoid splashes on the skin.

Can Oil Explode If It Gets Too Hot?

Yes. Once the cooking oil begins to smoke, because of the intensity of the heat, it begins to produce flammable chemicals such as alcohol and acids. If the heat is not reduced at this point, contact with fire will result in an explosion.

Does Oil Explode?

Of course, oil can explode if it gets too hot and is exposed to fire. Oil explosion starts when moisture comes into contact with hot oil, and it begins to splash all over. If it happens to catch fire at that time, the oil will burst out when water is poured into the oil and fire, so rather than stop the fire, it will escalate it. However, oil in itself without any trigger will not explode.


When there is fire from cooking oil that has reached its flash point, be sure not to panic and pour water into the hot oil, because this will result in an explosion.

To put out the fire, firstly, turn the gas off, and then you can use fire blankets or damp clothes to put out the fire.

Also, you can buy a fryer with a thermostat. This is very safe for frying, as you can monitor the temperature of the cooking oil. If the fire is inextinguishable, get out of the house and call the fire department immediately.

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