Can You Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Wondering if you can cook with extra virgin olive oil? You are not alone! Many people are nervous about cooking with olive oil because they have heard that it cannot handle high temperatures. In this quick guide, we will explain whether or not you can cook with extra virgin olive oil (spoiler alert: you can) and offer tips for getting started cooking with olive oil.

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Can You Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The quick answer is yes, you can cook with extra virgin olive oil. The long answer is a bit more complicated than that. Many people are hesitant to cook with olive oil because they have heard that the oil does not have a very high smoke point. Thus, they are concerned about overheating the oil and adversely affecting the taste of the dish and the health benefits of the olive oil. However, olive oil has a higher smoke point than you might think, making it suitable for most home cooking applications.

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Fresh extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of around 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Part of this is because extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are relatively heat stable. As a result, it does not produce high amounts of harmful polar compounds when heated, which is beneficial. Extra virgin olive oil is also high in polyphenols and antioxidants that also help keep it stable — not to mention, they provide great health benefits as well.

tomato in oil

Most home cooking situations do not require a temperature above 400 degrees, making olive oil a great cooking oil to reach for in most recipes. For the most part, olive oil can absolutely be used to cook at home, which is why it is considered a go-to pantry staple by chefs everywhere.

How to Cook with Olive Oil

We recommend keeping at least one bottle of extra virgin olive oil on hand for all of your cooking purposes. If you are cooking frequently with olive oil, you may want to have several different varieties of olive oil that are made from different olives and thus have different flavors. You can also choose flavored olive oil if you want to add even more flavor to your dishes.

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Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil does have its own flavor, even if it has not been infused with herbs or other items. The more olive oil you use, the more flavor it will impart to the dish. Sometimes, the olive oil flavor really enhances the dish, while other times it can clash with the ingredients. If olive oil will not complement the flavors of what you are cooking, it may be wise to choose another cooking oil with a more neutral flavor.

Olive oil can be used for pan frying, sauteing, roasting and even baking. These many applications will help you use up the olive oil while it is still at peak flavor. When properly stored, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil usually lasts 12-18 months in the pantry, so we recommend trying to use it up within that time frame. If you cannot use the olive oil up by that deadline, then try buying a smaller bottle or freezing some of the olive oil in herb bombs that you can use later.

If you are not sure how to get started cooking with olive oil, then one easy way to begin is to browse our selection of recipes on our website. Many of these recipes were specially crafted to feature Brightland olive oils, making them a convenient way to experiment with flavors that complement olive oil. Our recipes span breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, so you can always find one for every occasion, whether it is a lowkey weeknight dinner or a fancy party for a group.

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Ready to cook with high-quality olive oil? Browse our selection of extra virgin olive oils to find your new favorite pantry staple. We offer several versatile extra virgin olive oils, as well as several flavored oils, such as lemon olive oil. Start shopping today and give your pantry an upgrade.