When we think about frying, olive oil is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. Peanut, vegetable, canola and soybean oils are standard fare for frying endeavors. Why? First, these are relatively healthy oils that are easy to obtain. In that regard, they are just like olive oil. So why does olive oil get blacklisted when it comes to frying? The truth is that many people are under the impression that olive oil has a low smoke point and that its flavor could be altered at higher temperatures. In reality, those are common misconceptions and olive oil is a versatile, flavorful option for frying.

Olive Oil is a Healthy Frying Opton

Olive oil actually has a relatively high smoke point and is a safe, reliable option for frying. On top of that, it is one of the healthiest cooking staples around. Olive oil has been named “the healthiest fat on Earth,” in part because of its unique ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. If you want to keep fried foods a part of the rotation, make sure to use a good fat, such as a high-quality olive oil

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Understanding Smoke Point

Whether pan-frying or deep-frying, you want your oil to be able to withstand high heat and not break down too soon, affecting the flavor or smoking up your kitchen. The point at which the oil begins to degrade — and the flavor begins to change — is referred to as the “smoke point.” Olive oil has a higher smoke point the closer it is to harvest. Because Brightland extra virgin olive oil is so fresh, the smoke point is over 400 degrees F.

So Can You Fry with Olive Oil?

Contrary to popular belief, you absolutely can — and, we would argue, should — fry with olive oil. There are many myths surrounding olive oil and frying, many of which have to do with its reaction to high temperatures. But the truth is that extra virgin olive oil is actually the most stable oil when heated, meaning it will not change drastically when exposed to high temperatures. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil does not change chemically as much as other oils do when exposed to high heat.

The smoke point of our olive oil is over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. A normal temperature for pan-frying (sautéing) is around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, while a normal range for deep-frying is between 320 and 356 degrees Fahrenheit. So do not worry too much about olive oil’s ability to handle the heat because it will stay in good shape even when exposed to high temperatures. So yes, in general, it is safe to both sauté and deep fry with olive oil.

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Tips for Frying with Olive Oil

Now that you know frying with olive oil is safe, healthy and beneficial, here are some of our favorite tips for using it in your next set of culinary adventures.

  • Go with fresh olive oil because it has a higher smoke point. Did you know that fresh olive oil has a higher smoke point? That means it will better withstand high heat from regular sautéing or deep-frying. Make sure to choose fresh olive oil by quality manufacturers like Brightland for the best results. Try our AWAKE Olive Oil to see what cooking with a premium olive oil is all about.
  • Try flavored olive oils to add depth to your dishes. Using olive oil instead of another oil is on its own a great way to infuse a warm, nutty, earthy flavor into whatever you are cooking. But you might consider punching things up with an oil infused with a pop of flavor, such as basil or red chili peppers
  • Do not reuse olive oil when frying. In addition to smoking up your house and causing a bitter flavor, some people worry that heating up oil beyond its smoke point triggers a chemical reaction that could be carcinogenic. The reality is that even if your oil does smoke, you probably are not at any serious risk. The real risk comes from reusing cooking oil. To be safe, only use the same batch of olive oil once when frying. 

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Give It a Try the Next Time You Fry

No need to add fried foods to your no-go list. Instead, try frying with a healthier oil next time. Brightland offers a variety of top-notch olive oil sets to help you discover options and pairings that suit your culinary style.