Remove fishy odor and taste from used cooking oil

Ah, the many uses of ginger! Garlic might be my favorite spice but I have to admit that ginger is a more versatile spice. Use it for sauteing to flavor a dish, grind it to paste to make a marinade, simmer sliced fresh ginger with water and you have ginger brew. slices of fresh ginger

But did you know that ginger is also very useful for removing the fishy taste and flavor in cooking oil? It’s a trick I learned from my husband. See, I don’t throw away cooking oil after one use. It’s just too wasteful. So, I reuse. But if I’m reusing the oil for cooking something other than fish, I try to remove as much of the fishy odor and taste first.

Pour the used cooking oil in a wok or pan. Heat gently, keeping the stove on the lowest setting.

Take a piece of ginger (a thumb-sized piece for every cup of cooking oil works fine for me) and slice. No need to peel — just slice. ginger slices in hot oil

Drop the ginger slices in the oil and let it soak for 15 minutes. If the temperature of your oil is just right, the ginger slices will not burn but will turn golden brown very, very slowly. drained ginger

After 15 minutes, scoop out the ginger. The cooking oil is now free from fishy odor and taste.


  1. ria says

    wow! I didn’t know that! galing mo talaga ms. connie one of many things I learned from you. I’ll try that, as I don’t throw used cooking oil too I recyle it just like you. Thanks for sharing your trick!

  2. claudine charie says

    my aunt, a home economics teacher said to remove the fishy smell fry potatoes on the oil. :))

  3. Allie C. says

    I don’t practice nor encourage reusing cooking oil because once the oil has reached its high smoke point it starts decomposing, turning rancid or carcinogenic. Looking at the color of your oil, it seems “burnt.” One should take into consideration the kind of cooking oil used and see what the highest smoke point is before thinking of reusing – for health reasons. Frugal practices in the kitchen should never, ever compromise quality and family’s health/well being (which are the main reasons for homecooking, right?).

    • says

      Reusing already RANCID cooking oil is bad. But not every use turns it rancid IF YOU know what to do with it. Throwing away cooking oil just because it has been used, without determining if it is still good or has gone bad, is just plain wasteful.

      Re Looking at the color of your oil, it seems “burnt.”

      Actually, different types of cooking oils have different colors, some darker than others even when unused.

      • Allie C says

        What kind of cooking oil was on the picture? I use grapeseed oil (which is a dark oil) and rice bran oil for high heat/long period cooking like frying because they are two of the few oils with very high smoke points. Heating oil to high temperatures even for a few seconds starts its decomposition. And one of the things that changes in the oil is its smoke point. If you’re lucky, the new smoke point of once heated oil is, at most, half the original. If I were to do what you were recommending – that is gently heating ginger for 15 minutes – you are bringing the oil to yet another high temperature which is probably above 200 degrees, further decomposing it and probably surpassing its new, lower smoke point. By doing so you are now cooking with “burnt” oil and your food is absorbing toxins while cooking. The oil I use at home (and in my profession) has smoke points of 490+ degrees. Vegetable oil, which is commonly used in households, only has a smoke point of 350. That even decreases its second use to under 175 degrees. I doubt if you will fry your fish in just 175 degrees? My job is all about food safety so I do know what I am doing with the oil. I doubt if most households even know internal temperatures when they cook. I just believe safe oil is such a small price to pay to avoid exposing my family to dangerous toxins.

        • says

          You’re amusing. Refined coconut oil which we normally use has a higher smoking point than your grapeseed coconut oil. But that’s not refined coconut oil in the photo which is lighter than most. That’s peanut oil which is really dark to start with. And you don’t know if it was previously used to smoking point, you don’t know the temp when the ginger were dropped in, so your conclusion that it was burnt is based on supposition. I’m trying hard not to laugh now.

          I don’t know what your profession is, your email address says you’re into “organic” which explains the preachiness in your purist approach. Your info is all food for thought (thank you — much appreciated, really), but not all information ought to be believed, everyone here is free to do their own research and make their own decisions.

          • Rose says

            My mum reuses cooking oil for frugal reasons also, and it’s pretty common for households that do a lot of deep frying.

            On the other hand I don’t think Allie’s information on smoke points and the degradation effects of reusing cooking oil is too much off the mark – the smoke point for oils do get lower every time you use it because of factors e.g. bits of burnt food (crumbs etc), salt, exposure to oxygen. Long exposure to heat will also lower the smoke point and make the oil rancid quicker.

            Correct me if I’m wrong though – the ginger thing is done right before frying a new batch of fish, right? I *think* what Allie was saying is that it might be a bad idea if you cook something, store the oil, fry the ginger, store it again *then* reuse.

            I guess it all comes down to being sensible about it. I don’t think many people here will reuse their cooking oil more than a couple of times (or in my case, I don’t deep fry at all). My mum has two containers for fish cooking oil and oil used for other deep frying which may prolong its shelf life slightly.

          • says

            Yep, separate used cooking oil “? one container for that used for fish, another for chicken, etc. And it goes without saying that used cooking oil must pass through a sieve (a piece of cloth is best), twice or thrice, before storing.

            And used doesn”?t have to be reused pure. I usually add at least half of new cooking oil.

            Any good cook can take a look and smell used oil and be able to tell if it is still safe to reuse. BUT saying, like Ms. Preacher above, that there is no room for discernment “? simply use and throw “? is really Land-Of-Waste attitude. A kitchen is a place for adventure, not a church, and preachers belong elsewhere.

          • Rose says

            I also think that people tend to be a bit too paranoid about food poisoning :) Everyone I know who reuse cooking oil filters their oil through a fine sieve before storing too. Like everything else, your mileage may vary with anything you do in the kitchen!

          • says

            Oh I know! The way the food snobs and the purists go wailing, we might as well all stop eating altogether and save ourselves the trouble of deciding which is good and bad for our health.

            I just don’t see how living in constant fear helps. And I am so darn wary too about these “scary” studies when we don’t know if they have been commissioned by food companies that stand to profit.

  4. lemon says

    So this is how we get rid of that fishy taste and smell. ang galing. thanks, Ms. Connie.