How To Light Charcoal With Cooking Oil

How To Light Charcoal With Cooking Oil

You may have set up a barbeque in an area where you don’t have any starter to light charcoal. But you have cooking oil as a substitute. Now what? You need to know the proper steps to light charcoal with cooking oil. Without knowing the proper way to light charcoal, using cooking oil can be dangerous.

To ensure lighting charcoal with cooking oil safely, you need to remember the following points:

  • Moisture 
  • Wind Direction
  • Maintain Heat 

In this article, I will discuss everything on how to light charcoal with cooking oil. You will get all the steps and tips for using cooking oil in this article.

How To Light Charcoal With Cooking Oil ( 3 Factors)

Lighting up the charcoal with lighter fluid is very easy. Lighter fluids are designed to light charcoal but it’s not healthy to use. However, if you want to light charcoal with cooking oil, it’s necessary to maintain three basic factors as follows: 


 Before lighting charcoal with cooking oil, it’s necessary to check the moisture of the charcoal. Charcoals won’t light if there is any moisture on the charcoal pieces. So it’s mandatory to check all the charcoal pieces at first.

If you see any moisture on the pieces of charcoal, make sure to make them moisture free and don’t use them until they are dried up. 

To make the charcoal humidity free, spread the charcoals on a big plastic bag or old bed sheet, and dry charcoal in the sun heat.

Wind Direction: 

Cooking oil isn’t highly flammable like other charcoal lighters. As a result, wind direction puts a great impact on lighting up charcoal. If the wind is too strong, you won’t be able to light charcoal. As a consequence, choose a place where the wind is not too high.

 If it’s not possible to choose a suitable place for a barbecue, take some big sized cardboard pieces and cover the area of the chimney. Cardboard will help in controlling the wind until the charcoals aren’t lit up. 

Maintain Heat:

To keep the charcoal hot until it is finished cooking the barbecue.

To keep balanced heat of the charcoal, follow these 3 steps, such as:

  • Take a piece of paper napkin and soak it into the cooking oil. Dry newspaper can also be used instead of paper napkins.
  • Place over cooking oil soaked napkins on the hot red charcoal.
  • The oil will help the charcoals to keep up their heat last long. 

9 Steps To Light Charcoal With Cooking Oil

Lighting charcoal with cooking oil is a very healthy and safe option. But it’s important to use cooking oil in the right way. Thereby, I am describing 9 steps to light charcoal with cooking oil:

  1. At first, take 4 to 5 pieces of paper napkins or towels thereafter, crumble them into a ball. 
  1. Take a charcoal chimney and fill it up with charcoal briquettes. And set up the grill appliance for barbecue.
  1. Pour cooking oil over the paper ball until it’s completely soaked. 
  1. Give fire to the paper ball and quickly place the charcoal chimney over the top of the paper. 
  1.  In 3 to 4minutess, smoke will come out of the chimney and the charcoal will turn into bright red.
  1. Don’t move the charcoal chimney until the smoke is cleared up. It may take 20 minutes to clear the smoke from the chimney.
  1. Remove the grill from the top, and thereafter transfer the red hot charcoal from the chimney inside the barbecue grill. 
  1. Drizzle cooking oil over the hot charcoal to keep the charcoal warm

until the cooking is finished.

  1. At last put over the grill and barbecue food as desired.

Tips For Lighting Charcoal With Cooking Oil

Some people however, can’t light up charcoal with the help of cooking oil by following the steps. I know some important tips that can help you to light charcoal with cooking oil easily, such as:

  • Don’t overfill the chimney with charcoal. Overfilling, charcoal won’t let the air pass out the chimney.
  • Don’t use hard paper for lighting charcoal. Normal dry facial tissues are suitable to light charcoal using cooking oil. 
  • Don’t use charcoal with moisture as it can’t hold up the heat.
  • Let the smoke of charcoal come out the chimney. Meanwhile don’t stir the charcoals from the top.

4 Advantage Of Lighting Charcoal With Cooking oil

Cooking oil takes a bit of time to start a fire than a normal charcoal starter. It has a lot of advantages for lighting charcoal, such as:

  1. Cooking oil doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.
  1. Don’t have to carry or buy lighter fluid.
  1. Cooking oil is inexpensive.
  1. Cooking oil isn’t extremely flammable like kerosene.

Comparing Between Cooking Oil And Lighter Fluid For Lighting Charcoal 

I am comparing cooking oil and lighter fluid for your better understanding in choosing the right one for lighting charcoal.

Cooking OilLighter Fluid
Cooking oil isn’t explosive.Lighter fluid can be explosive if it’s used more than needed.
Cooking oil doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.Lighter fluid contains chemicals which can enter food while cooking.
Cooking oil is available in the kitchen.Lighter fluid isn’t available in the house and it needs to be brought separately. 

Can You Light Charcoal With Canola Oil?

You can light charcoal with canola oil. Canola oil is usually used for cooking so it’s healthy to use canola oil to light charcoal. Any kind of vegetable oil is suitable for lighting charcoal. You can light charcoal with canola oil and some dry paper. Just drizzle over canola oil on the top of the charcoal and put light weighted dry papers along. Wait for a few minutes and the charcoal will heat up soon. 

Can You Light Charcoal Using Newspaper With Cooking Oil?

You can light charcoal using newspaper with cooking oil. Crumble at least 10 newspapers into a ball and soak it with cooking oil. Newspapers are a bit harder than tissue paper so it takes a bit of time to soak up cooking oil. Put fire on the ball up newspaper and quickly put the chimney above. After a few minutes, smoke will be produced from the chimney and the charcoal will be lighted. Put one piece of dry newspaper on the hot charcoal to keep the charcoal warm for a long time.

Is Cooking Oil Flammable Enough For Lighting Charcoal?

Cooking oil is flammable enough for lighting charcoal. Some people might think that cooking oil isn’t flammable as it is used for cooking. But actually cooking oil is flammable and dangerous if one doesn’t use it properly. Cooking oil is used as a substitute of lighter fluid in lighting charcoal. As cooking oil can hold up fire it’s flammable enough to light charcoal.

Final Verdict:

Don’t worry while using cooking oil to light charcoal. It’s completely safe and efficient to use cooking oil. I think it’s the best option to use cooking oil to light charcoal as it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.

You may also want to read

6 Alternatives To Newspaper To Light Up A Charcoal Chimney Starter

What Can I Use To Light My Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid

Raymond Brown

This is Raymond Brown. I have created this website to share kitchen hacks and to teach easy recipes. You can use these kitchen hacks to improve your cooking skill. By profession, I am a Michelin chef from California. From my teenage years, I had a keen interest in cooking. I took a diploma in Culinary Arts to start my career as a professional chef.

Recent Posts