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Can You Fry With Olive Oil? Health & Safety Considerations

can you fry with olive oil
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Daria Obymaha

Olive oil is one of the most common cooking oils and is a staple in most kitchens. It is loved for its versatility and health benefits. Wondering if you can fry with olive oil? We’ll take a look at how to do it and what you should watch out for. 

“Can you fry with olive oil?” is a question often asked by home cooks and culinary enthusiasts alike. Olive oil is a versatile ingredient used in cooking, as a salad dressing and even in baking. It’s great just on its own drizzled over vegetables. Frying with olive oil is certainly possible, but its suitability as a frying oil depends on the specific food you plan to cook.

For an in-depth look at the sustainability of this popular ingredient, read: A Deep Dive Into Olive Oil: Sustainability and Health Benefits

Can You Fry With Olive Oil?

frying with olive oil
The high amount of monounsaturated fats in olive oil makes it one of the healthier oils. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Mareefe)

Have you ever heard the myth that olive oil is unhealthy for frying? Many people believe that extra virgin olive oil has a low smoking point, making it unhealthy to fry foods in.

What does the smoking point have to do with it?

The smoking point of oil refers to the temperature at which it begins to break down and burn. Frying typically requires a minimum temperature of 375°F, so the smoking point of your chosen oil should be higher than that. Extra virgin olive oil has a smoking point of around 410°, making it a suitable candidate for frying.

When heated for short periods, the temperature doesn’t have a huge impact on the nutritional value of olive oil, which is why it is actually one of the healthier oils to use for frying. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that protects the oil from oxidation. Additionally, frying with olive oil forms a crust on the food’s exterior, sealing in flavor and preventing the oil from being absorbed.

Technique is an important consideration when asking, “Can you fry with olive oil?” Pan-frying is the ideal method for using this type of oil, but deep frying is also possible. However, due to the cost of extra virgin olive oil and the amount needed for deep frying and getting things nice and crispy, you may want to consider a more affordable alternative.

Frying Tips

  • Heat the oil in the pan before adding food to prevent the cold food from absorbing the oil.
  • Use enough oil in the pan for even cooking.
  • Olive oil can be reused up to four times, as its digestibility does not change when heated.
  • Avoid mixing olive oil with other oils or fats, as this will alter its smoking point and nutritional value.

Olive Oil Health Benefits

Despite the negative connotations associated with oil and healthy eating, extra virgin olive oil is considered quite healthful. Here are some of its health benefits:

  • Nearly ¾ of the total oil content in olive oil is oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat) which is quite resistant to high heat, making it ideal for cooking. Oleic acid may also help reduce inflammation
  • It contains a surprising amount of antioxidants, which may reduce your risk of chronic diseases and may also help reduce inflammation. 
  • It may reduce the risk of strokes, which affects nearly 800,000 people in the US every year.
  • Protects against heart disease — heart disease is not as common among those who follow Mediterranean diets, in which olive oil plays a central role.

In addition to its upsides for health, did you know you can also use olive oil for your face and skin care?

Tips for Purchasing and Storing Olive Oil

can you fry with olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the most unrefined of all types of oil. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Steve Buissinne)

The next time you find yourself wondering, “Can you fry with olive oil?”, remember one thing: quality is incredibly important. Quality influences not only taste but also health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is the best option, but be sure to read labels carefully, as some products labeled as extra virgin may contain a mix of oils. According to a study at the UC Davis Olive Center, some major brands sold in American grocery stores have diluted their olive oil with cheaper alternatives like sunflower or canola oil. To ensure you’re purchasing the real thing, always check the ingredients list.

Can you fry with olive oil? You can if you follow these safety tips:

  • Extra virgin olive oil should display a harvest date and a “best before” date on the bottle.
  • Store olive oil in a dark bottle and keep it away from direct light.
  • Use the oil within three to six months of opening.
  • Store at an optimal temperature of 65-75°, avoiding areas near your stove or oven.

To check the quality of your olive oil, perform a fridge test. Place the bottle in the fridge for around 5 hours at 32°. If the oil starts to solidify, it’s extra virgin olive oil. If it remains liquid, it has been diluted with other oils.


In terms of sustainability, buying organic olive oil produced in the US is your best option. Luckily, there are a few states that grow olive trees, including California, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Alabama and Hawaii. Some great USA-produced olive oils include:

So, the answer to the question, “Can you fry with olive oil?” is a resounding yes. Olive oil is a versatile and healthy option for frying, offering numerous health benefits when used responsibly. By following the provided tips for purchasing, storing, and frying with olive oil, you can elevate your culinary endeavors and enjoy the delicious flavors and advantages that this remarkable ingredient has to offer. Experiment with olive oil in your cooking adventures and embrace the Mediterranean secret to a healthy and tasty lifestyle.

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