Sadly it cannot. The manual explicitly states to NOT use solid fats depsite the fact that solid fats(saturated) are the most suitable for deep drying due to their high smoke points and lower amount of omega-6 fatty acids. Vegetable and canola oils are poor choices almost all of the. i would make an exception for peanut oil in small doses. I will be returning this item for this reason. It seems most of the fryers in the $80-$100 range CAN indeed use solid fats and I will look at purchasing one of those.