Myth Busting: Cooking with Olive Oil


February 2018

Myth: Olive oil can’t be used for deep frying.

Fact: Olive oil has many uses in the kitchen, from flavoring dishes in its raw form to sautéing, baking and even deep frying. This promise of versatility is what makes olive oil a staple in any kitchen.

When using olive oil for cooking, keep in mind the “smoke point,” the temperature at which oil will start smoking and potentially impart a burnt or smoky taste to foods. A high smoke point means an oil can be heated to a relatively high temperature without compromising flavor. According to a report published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, the smoke point for olive oil is about 468°F (242°C) and for extra virgin olive oil is 410°F (210°C). The temperature for pan-frying is normally between 350–375°F (177–191°C), making olive oil and extra virgin olive oil suitable options.

But how does olive oil compare to other popular cooking oils? Olive oil’s smoke point of about 468°F (242°C) exceeds that of cottonseed oil, soybean oil, grape seed oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, corn oil (refined), sesame seed oil, peanut oil (refined), safflower oil (refined), lard and butter. In other words, olive oil is one of the best oils to select for deep frying. Myth busted.