Can you Deep Fry with Olive Oil? Yes!

can you deep fry with olive oil
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YES. If you're wondering whether or not Olive Oil can be used for deep frying, the quick answer is simply yes. While there are some things to look out for when purchasing olive oil, overall olive oil is actually a pretty solid choice for deep frying. That is due to its decent smoke point and its high resistance from breaking down.

Smoke Point of Olive Oil

The smoke point of any oil is one of the most important factors of choosing your oil when it comes to deep frying. That's because the smoke point determines at what temperature an oil starts to break down. Because deep fryers can typically reach a temperature of about 375° F, it's important to ensure your oil at least goes a little beyond that point.

According to the North American Olive Oil Association olive oil has a smoke point that ranges from 390-468° F. Because deep fryers only reach 375° F, you should most definitely be safe with deep frying with olive oil.

The only thing you need to watch out for is not confusing olive oil with extra olive oil. There is a clear difference in how the two are made, and extra olive oil has a lower smoke point that ranges from 350-410° F according to the North American Olive Oil Association.

The difference between Olive Oil and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

We've already talked about how extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point compared to olive oil, but there are also differences in their flavor and how they're made.

When it comes to their flavors, extra virgin olive oil definitely offers more flavor. This is why extra virgin olive oil is suggested for salad dressings while olive oil is recommended more for cooking and deep frying. Overall, olive oil should offer a slightly bitter yet sweet taste, while extra virgin olive oil may offer a sweeter and fruitier taste.

Extra virgin olive oil is exclusively less made from cold-pressed olives. Comparatively, olive oil uses cold pressed olives and processed oils. This is why extra virgin olive oil offers more flavor and a higher cost.

Flavor of Olive Oil

We've already talked about the flavor of Olive oil being on the bitter/sweet side, but not how this correlates to deep frying. Usually when deep frying, you'll want to use an oil with a neutral taste. This is to allow the food to bring out its own flavor. Any oil with a particular taste could slightly alter the overall experience. Sometimes that may be a good thing, other times it may back fire.

Because of the slight bitterness and sweet flavors of olive oil, it may not always be the best choice depending on what you're trying to deep fry. Fries for example should be altered in taste much. However, many different types of meat may taste better in olive oil.

Health Aspects of Olive Oil

The use of different oils have created hundreds of thousands of different types of studies and experiments. So much so, you can make almost any oil sound healthy in some retrospect. You could also make any oil sound ridiculously unhealthy. Overall, however, olive oil gets a pretty good rep in regards to its health benefits.

According to Healthline, olive oil offers many benefits ranging from lowering the risk of things such as heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. There are also studies that show olive oil is not connected to things such as weight gain. Overall, there are tons of studies that support the idea that Olive Oil is a healthy oil to cook with.

Nutrient Info of Olive Oil

According to the USDA, these are the Nutrition Facts of olive oil based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Olive Oil for Deep Frying

Nutrient Stats are according to the USDA

How Olive Oil is Stable for Deep Frying

How olive oil's high smoke point is ideal for deep frying has already been discussed, however, we have yet to discuss how Olive Oil is extremely stable for deep frying use. Due to the type of fats found in Olive Oil (Mono-saturated fats), olive oil is actually one of the most stable oils to use to cook/fry with. This study confirms that Olive Oil outlasts over 90% of other oils when it comes to its resistance from breaking down due to high heat. This means olive oil is generally safer to use and it may last longer.

We say it may last longer because oils will break down due to heat. If you use the same oil over and over again to deep fry, the smoke point of the oil will slowly decrease. However, olive oil has shown the perplexity to resist heat and resist a breakdown compared to other oils. This isn't to say that olive oil will never break down when deep frying, but it should take longer than most oils.

How to know when Olive Oil goes Bad

Even though olive oil doesn't break down very easily, it can still go bad, especially when left in a deep fryer for extended periods of times. Reusing oil, food particles, and letting the oil sit can all slowly start to break down the oil. Its hard to give an exact shelf life for olive oil because there are too many variables to consider, so its more important to know the signs of when olive oil, or any oil is no longer suitable for deep frying.

The signs of Bad Olive Oil

  1. The oil has considerably darkened.
  2. The oil is beginning to smoke unnaturally (deep frying will always produce some smoke due to steam and heated temperatures).
  3. The taste is altered. Bad Olive oil loses most of its flavor, or may become even more bitter as it goes bad. 
  4. Time. Simply be aware of how long you've let oil sit. deep fryers don't offer the necessary air tight containers to safely hold oil, so if you haven't use your deep fryer for a month or two, you may want to consider changing out its oil. 

Cost of Olive Oil

One of the reasons olive oil isn't highly recommended for deep frying is simply due to its costs. Because you'll need more oil to deep fry with compared to something such as sauteing, it may not be cost effective to use olive oil.

Labeling of Olive Oil

When purchasing olive oil, you'll definitely want to check the labeling. If you're looking at cheap olive oil, you're probably being mislead. This is because a lot of oils will use olive oil mixed with some other oils and simply label it as olive oil or extra virgin olive oil. You'll definitely want to check any certifications, labels, and ingredients on the bottle before making any purchases.

Conclusion

Overall, olive oil can be a great choice for deep frying if it wasn't more expensive than some other oils. It offers great health benefits and has a solid smoke point to fight high temperatures. Its taste offers a bit or bitterness and sweetness to the table, which may not work well with everything you deep fry. It's not the perfect oil to deep fry with, but you can definitely deep fry with olive oil.

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