See how peanut oil and canola oil play an important role in the preparation of Chick-fil-A menu favorites
Every so often, Chick-fil-A takes a group of Team Members on a South Georgia “peanut tour,” where they walk through family-run fields, chat with farmers and learn about harvesting and processing techniques. As Jodie Worrell, Chick-fil-A’s senior culinary lead for menu and packaging, says, “It’s cool to think about what affects the peanut crop—this whole other dimension you don’t think about when you eat food.”
Peanuts might not be quickly associated with Chick-fil-A. But those hourglass-shaped legumes, beloved by generations of Americans, are very much a part of the Chick-fil-A menu.
Well, not the peanuts themselves, but rather the oil that’s extracted from them.
Every piece of pressure-cooked chicken that comes out of a Chick-fil-A kitchen has been cooked in peanut oil. It’s an ingredient that Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy vouched for ever since he invented his famed Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, says Worrell.
Counterintuitively, it’s not the oil’s taste that makes it such a good — It’s often known for its light and nutty flavor, according to The Peanut Institute, so it doesn’t overwhelm the palate.
Benefits of cooking with peanut oil
Chick-fil-A peanut oil has several benefits beyond flavor. As a plant oil, it is free of gluten and carbohydrates, says Worrell. Peanuts used to make peanut oil are also a non-GMO crop.
“In terms of unsaturated fats and healthy fats, peanut oil has a very similar profile as other oils, but it performs better in the fryer,” says Worrell.
Some worry that the oil might be dangerous to people with peanut allergies. However, the FDA has exempted highly refined peanut oil from being labeled as an allergen because during the refining process, peanut proteins and impurities are stripped away.
And ever wonder why Chick-fil-A® chicken is so moist on the inside but delightfully crispy on the outside? You can thank peanut oil and its high smoke point (when oil starts to smoke and break down) for that.
What about Waffle Potato Fries®?
Chick-fil-A is now one of the largest peanut oil buyers in the United States, Worrell says. But what kind of oil does Chick-fil-A use beyond peanut? For several years, Chick-fil-A cooked its Waffle Potato Fries® in peanut oil, too. Then several different options were tested, and in the end, Chick-fil-A opted to cook its Waffle Potato Fries® in canola oil, says Worrell. Similar to peanut oil, the seed-based canola oil has a neutral flavor, allowing the sweet taste of the potato to be savored by the palate.
“It’s a fat that’s has a moderately high smoke point, a clean flavor profile, and it fries up really well,” says Worrell.
Ready to grab an Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich and side of Waffle Potato Fries® of your own? Download the Chick-fil-A® App now!