Frying with olive oil


I love it when people write in with questions. Recently, someone asked if you can fry with olive oil and if it was a healthy choice. First of all, no matter what oil you use, fried food is probably not the healthiest choice (but it is oh so good). That said, olive oil has its ups and downs for frying. Compared to grape seed oil or other seed oils, olive oil has a relatively low smoking-point (375-400F), which means that you will get a lot of smoke if you aren’t careful about the temperature and this could give your food a burnt taste. The other issue of frying with olive oil is that olive oil loses some of its properties when fried: those lovely green tastes are the first to go. However, there are no real negative effects of frying with olive oil  and there are certainly few health risks (other than the usual health issues of fried foods). Olive will not become a trans fat on your kitchen stove.
There are not many people who use extra virgin olive oil to fry; this is mainly due to the cost and the fact that it loses a lot of its delicate flavours when heated too high. In Italy, olive oil is still the first choice for frying but often virgin or pomace oil is used (low grades of olive oil). Olive oil also imparts a strong flavour to whatever it is you are frying. This can work really well with some types of fish, for example.

My recommendation is to save your good extra virgin olive oil for finishing dishes. I use it as a condiment to add a little something to soups, pasta, salads as well as grilled meats and vegetables. I have also been known to put it on my toast in the morning, but that is quite extreme.

5 thoughts on “Frying with olive oil

  1. Olive Oil

    Our family has always treated olive oil as a fruit juice. Your recommendations for using oil for frying provide good advice for people wanting to live healthier lives. We look forward to following your blog in the future.

  2. Costas

    It is extravagant to use fine extra virgin olive oil to fry foods. You can easily accomplish a similar taste with a lesser, cheaper grade of olive oil. Yet, one trick my Greek grandmother uses is to save her olive oil that she used in frying, and re-use it several times. A hearty olive oil can withstand such treatment, particularly if you’re using it to fry such staples as potatoes.

    And I’ve never tasted any problems with my grandma’s Greek french fries!

  3. javaid

    the best olive oil is extra virgin and then virgin olive oiluse it in your curries and salads. if you want to fry use the pure olive oil and pommace. these are cheaper qualities but still much much better than other oils.

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