Olive oil, which just in case you do not know is the liquid fat gotten from pressing whole olives, is an oil that can be used for so many things. From cosmetics, cuisines, to pharmaceutical products, olive oil is widely used in many areas and recognized because of its health benefits. It is known to boosts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the body and thus may even help to protect from some chronic diseases.
So, can you fry with olive oil? Yes, you can fry with olive oil and there is absolutely nothing dangerous or wrong about it. Olive oil might have a lower smoke point when compared to most neutral oils, but that does not mean it’s too low to be used.
The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is somewhere between 380°F and 410°F. How high or how low depends on the impurities and acid content of the olive oil: the better the quality, the higher the smoking point.
It has a smoke point of around 375°F, and that is good enough for frying. Coupled with its unique taste, health benefits, and aroma, olive oil is ideal for frying. But then, there is a little consideration towards that, which is not exactly a downside.
Olive oil is very expensive, especially extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). And it would be a waste of money to cost yourself a high amount purchasing and using a large quantity of this pricey oil to cook something that you can cook with a more affordable neutral oil.
So why not just opt to use olive oil for dressings, searing or shallow frying. This keeps the taste and aroma intact unlike using it with too much heat which tends to reduce the natural taste.
So frying with olive oil is not bad, has many health benefits and preferably be used in low-heat cooking and for finishing to enhance the flavors in foods.
Is olive oil toxic when heated?
Heat is what usually causes some reactions to take place. So will a high frying temperature cause a reaction that will change olive oil from a ‘good oil’ to a ‘bad oil’? Absolutely not.
The oils and fats we use in cooking are dietary fats of which there are three types. There is saturated dietary fat, trans dietary fat, and unsaturated dietary fat. Saturated dietary fat and trans dietary fats are bad for consumption, while unsaturated fat is not bad for consumption.
Olive oil is unsaturated fat and as such is healthy for consumption. High heat only reduces the taste and aroma of olive oil. Aside from that, the heat that is required to raise the temperature of olive oil high enough to get your food cooked during frying is not enough to change the chemical composition of olive oil. So olive oil is always a good oil.
So, is it OK to use olive oil for frying?
Olive oil is considered to be one of the best oils out there. Not only is it good for cooking, but you can also dip your bread in cold olive oil. The fatty acids and antioxidants present in olive oil offer numerous health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and arthritis.
Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. In other words, it has a lot of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and may even help in fighting cancer.
What is the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
You have heard a lot about olive oil no doubt. But then, you might have also heard about extra virgin olive oil and now you are wondering if they are different names for the same thing or different things altogether. And maybe seeing one on the upper part of the supermarket shelf above the other, with a higher price of course just baffles you why. Olive oil is highly prized no doubt, but then extra virgin olive oil is like an elixir, prized and more expensive than the other.
Extra-virgin olive oil is made directly from pure olives in a very natural way. Extra virgin olive is gotten by grinding the olives into a paste within 24 to 72 hours of harvesting using mechanical or hand pressing methods only to obtain extra virgin olive oil. No heat or chemical processes are used.
The paste is then pressed to separate the oil from the solids. The whole process of extracting extra virgin olive oil does not involve any chemical process or heat from start to finish, hence the term “cold-pressed” is usually used to describe it, seen on the label most times.
Olive oil can only be classified as extra virgin oil depending on the natural acidity level of the oil after production. Extra virgin olive oil has an acidity level that can be no greater than 1%. Depending on acidity level, there are other olive oil types.
There is Premium extra virgin olive oil, which has the least acidity and hence is regarded as the best and most expensive, followed by extra virgin olive oil, fine virgin olive oil, virgin, semi virgin olive oil, and Lampante virgin olive oil, depending on the acidity level of the oil. All of them are still referred to as cold-pressed olive oils since they follow the same process of extraction.
Lampante virgin olive oil, the lowest grade of the cold-pressed virgin olive oils, has a natural acidity level of 3.3% coupled with a taste that is not pleasant and an aroma that is not nice. This makes it not fit for human consumption, so they are usually sent to refineries to be refined to remove the defects that make it not fit for human consumption.
So any cold-pressed oil that does not meet extra virgin standards, in terms of acidity and purity, is refined to get rid of undesirable impurities. These are the oils we refer to as olive oil or refined olive oil. They are usually heated in the purification process and then mixed with a bit of premium extra virgin olive oil.
Colorwise, extra virgin olive oil has a forest-green color, a pigment from the vegetable matter during the crushing process. Coupled with the natural grassy, peppery flavor and a fruity aroma of olives. While olive oil on the other hand has a lighter color and a more neutral flavor as a result of the heat applied during processing.
Cold-pressed olive oils, especially premium extra virgin olive oil, are usually in salads and dressings, or as a condiment when the flavor is of most importance. This is because heating olive oil will cause it to lose some of its flavors. So refined olive oil is usually used for cooking, as it is not necessary to use the most expensive grades for cooking.
Does olive oil ruin non-stick pans?
No, olive oil does not ruin non-stick pans. No oil at all will, or can ruin your non-stick pan, they are called non-stick pans for a reason. They have a special coating that makes them non-reactive to whatever is in the pan and very resistant to high temperatures. So do not worry, the temperature of your olive oil will not damage any coating.
What damages or ruins non-stick pans are not oils, but are the way you clean them and use them. You should be careful not to use hard substances or utensils when cleaning the pan surface as this will remove the coating. Also, be careful when cooking. Use wood or plastic utensils preferably for stirring and turning, and not metal utensils that can scratch the coating off.
Preserving your non-stick pans
Olive oil might not damage your non-stick pan. But you should know some tips on how to make them last longer.
- Avoid cooking sprays so as not to have oil accumulation.
- Add your oil first in the pan before heating up. This helps to prevent the pan from giving out toxic fumes if it is the type of non-stick pan that smokes when heated without oil. Putting your oil first also helps to ensure the pan surface gets the oil and becomes more non-sticky before the food enters to absorb it.
- Do not use very high heat, especially when putting it in the oven.
- Use utensils that do not have sharp strong edges capable of scratching the pan surface. Opt to use utensils made out of wood or heatproof silicone.
- Do not clean with abrasives. Rather use foam or a soft sponge.
Can you fry chicken with olive oil?
You can fry your chicken with olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil sure is tasty and you can also use it to fry your chicken too. But it is really expensive, even more than normal olive oil. Considering the volume that will be required for frying chicken, it seems like a waste of money, since other neutral oils are way cheaper and have a high smoke point.
What is the best oil to fry chicken in?
Having that golden brown and crispy chicken, not the dark burnt and grainy chicken, or the light-looking undercooked chicken; but golden brown looking and crispy to crunch chicken is the goal when frying chicken.
The act of frying chicken does not always have a perfect result. It involves series of cooking processes and many things can go wrong in them resulting in chicken that is unevenly cooked, lacking flavor, or that comes out soggy and leaden, without a crispy exterior.
Achieving a perfect piece of fried chicken goodness is all skill and oil temperature. So the type of oil you use in frying matters to an extent as it affects both the meat and the temperature.
The best oil for frying chicken is the oil that has a high smoke point or burning point. This refers to the point or the temperature at which the oil starts producing smoke and stops shimmering or looking clear in the pan when it is heated. Different oils have different smoke point range. Some have a low smoking point as low as 325°F, while some can be as high as 520°F.
So a good oil for frying chicken should have a smoke point range that is higher than that of the temperature required to get the chicken properly cooked. Even with a high smoke point, some oils, such as walnut oil, are expensive for frying chicken.
So it is a better economical choice to stick with a neutral oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable shortening, lard, canola oil, or peanut oil as good choices for frying chicken. But you can still go ahead and choose other oils, depending on what you want to achieve.
What’s the best oil to fry with?
Knowing the best for frying depends on what exactly you are frying. When frying, the oil used should be one that has a smoke point that is greater than the temperature of whatever you are frying. This refers to the point or the temperature at which the oil starts producing smoke and stops shimmering or looking clear in the pan when it is heated.
If the smoke point of the oil is lower than the temperature required to cook what you want to cook, the oil will break down sooner than later and affect the taste of what you are cooking. And you can end up with burnt food.
The best oil for frying is oil that has a high smoke point or burning point. Different oils have different smoke point range. Some have a low smoking point as low as 325°F, while some can be as high as 520°F.
So it is a better economical choice to stick with a neutral oil with a high smoke point such as Vegetable shortening, lard, canola oil, or peanut oil as good choices for frying.