Can You Reuse Olive Oil? Your Questions Answered

You just fried up a delicious meal, and now you have all this used olive oil left over. Understandably, you are probably wondering if you can reuse the olive oil, or if you need to throw it all out. Read on to discover everything that you need to know about safely reusing olive oil for frying.

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Can you reuse olive oil?

Yes, you can reuse olive oil for deep frying — under certain conditions, that is. Extra virgin olive oil does not degrade nearly as fast as some other oils do when exposed to heat, which makes it a great choice for using more than once. However, if you accidentally turned the heat too high and the oil has already begun to smoke, it is a good idea to start new.

Keep in mind that the oil will retain the taste of whatever you have previously fried in it. So if you do not want your homemade French fries to taste like the fish you fried a few days ago, then you will need to start with a fresh batch of oil. Learn more about frying with olive oil in our separate guide.

How many times can you reuse olive oil?

The number of times you can reuse your olive oil depends on the type of items that you are frying as well as how carefully you managed your heat during the frying process.

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If you are cooking a lot of breaded or battered foods that drop a lot of food particles into the oil, you might only be able to reuse the oil once or twice (or not at all) before it goes bad. If you cook at very high heat, then you might only be able to use the oil once before it starts smoking and breaks down too much to be reused.

However, if you are frying a lot of “clean” foods that do not drop a lot of food particles — such as homemade potato chips — or cooking at a lower heat, you might be able to reuse the olive oil as many as three to four times if you are very careful.

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How to safely reuse olive oil

Once you are done with the oil, let it cool and then strain it through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to remove any food particles. The frying oil should be stored in an airtight container, ideally a dark-tinted glass bottle to protect it from sunlight and heat. Also, keep it away from condensation and other sources of moisture which will cause the olive oil to break down further.

Always conduct a look and smell test before reusing olive oil for frying. If the oil looks dark or foamy or smells rancid, then it is a good idea to throw it out and start fresh to avoid the risk of contaminating the food.

Even if the oil still looks and smells fine, it is not a good idea to keep used oil for more than a week or two before throwing it out and starting fresh. Any exposure to heat, even if you keep the temperatures low, will kickstart the deterioration process and significantly shorten the oil’s shelf life.

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How to dispose of used olive oil

Eventually, you will need to get rid of the oil no matter how many times you have managed to reuse it. Small amounts of oil can be sopped up with a paper towel and disposed of in the trash. If you already have waste in the trash can that can absorb a small amount of oil, you can also put it directly into the bin.

Larger amounts of oil should be placed in a leakproof container with a tight-fitting lid and ideally recycled at the appropriate facility. Never pour oil directly into the sink or another receptacle. The oil can clog pipes and lead to expensive repair bills.

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Higher quality olive oil will result in a more even fry and will also last for longer, too. Grab our olive oil gift set to experience both of our top-selling extra virgin olive oil flavors. Order $80 of Brightland and get free shipping in the U.S.!