Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Cooking with premium grade Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is a joy. It’s extremely healthy and totally natural with no added chemicals and nothing taken away. Packed with nature’s goodness.
Contrary to what you may read in many online articles, it is perfectly suited to all cooking methods, including baking, roasting, frying, stir frying and even deep fat frying.
It’s pretty obvious that many people who write about cooking with olive oil have never personally tried good quality EVOO.
We are talking here about extra virgin olive oil and NOT other olive oil products
Can I stress two important points:
I am talking only about good quality EVOO that is cold pressed with no heat used
Olive oil labelled “pure” or “light” is a highly refined product, and totally different from EVOO
First, let’s talk about temperatures and smoke point
Smoke point means the temperature at which cooking oil starts to break down. The fats change their chemical composition, the flavour become unpleasant, and it’s unhealthy.
The reality is that when you are cooking food, the cooking oil rarely, if ever, reaches the smoke point. Even then, EVOO is more stable than many other oils under high temperatures.
The smoke point of good quality EVOO is about 220°C (428°F).
Pan frying (sautéing) on your stove or cooker is about 120°C (about 250°F)
Deep frying most food is carried out mostly between 160 to 180°C ( say 320 to 392°F)
Oven roasting a joint of meat is typically done at about 180°C to 200°C (about 360°F to 392°F)
Stir-frying is carried out mostly between 176 to 204 °C (350°F to 400°F)
So you can see that EVOO suits all normal home cooking methods.
"It’s Safe, Healthy and Affordable to Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil"
Be aware that EVOO does contain some water that exists naturally in the olives. When you heat it in the pan, or in the wok, this produces steam, which will appear much earlier than any possible smoke effect. Do not confuse this and think you are damaging the oil!
Vapours released when cooking
Several studies have examined the fumes that all cooking generates. The vast majority are harmless but it’s always advisable to do frying, stir-frying and deep fat frying in a well ventilated area.
Some cooking oils, notably rapeseed oil and linseed oil, create fumes that have been linked with lung cancer. There is a significant body of research that points to this possible hazard that cannot simply be ignored.
Nutrition and health facts about cooking with extra virgin olive oil
Fats are a vital part of our diet but some are more healthy than others.
The acknowledged health benefits of EVOO made it a central element of the Mediterranean diet for many thousands of years. It is an abundant resource for antioxidants and contains mainly monounsaturated fats. Consuming EVOO has been linked with:
Reduced occurrence of heart disease
Lowered cholesterol overall including of the dangerous kind (LDL)
Decreased blood sugar
All of that indicates that cooking with EVOO makes perfect health sense for you and your family. Millions of healthy Mediterranean people down the ages have demonstrated its value (here's a guide about the proven benefits of EVOO).
Learn tips for cooking with olive oil from the experts at the American Heart Foundation. They know a thing or two about what cooking oils are the healthiest!
What’s the take-away from this information?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not only safe during heating at regular cooking temperatures, but is the desirable cooking oil when compared with others
There is no scientific evidence that might suggest otherwise.
The best action to take is to try it for yourself and your family. They will certainly enjoy the fabulous flavours that EVOO adds.