When should you not use olive oil?

Answered by Jason Smith

When it comes to cooking with olive oil, there are definitely times when it’s best to skip using it. One of those times is when you’re cooking over high heat. Why? Well, olive oil has a lower smoke point than some other oils, which means it starts to smoke at a lower temperature. The smoke point of olive oil typically ranges between 365° and 420°F.

Now, you may be wondering what exactly is the smoke point and why is it important. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil starts to break down and release smoke. When an oil reaches its smoke point, it can develop an unpleasant taste and even release harmful compounds into the air. This not only affects the flavor of your food but can also be detrimental to your health.

So, if you’re planning to cook at high temperatures, such as when searing meats or stir-frying, it’s best to choose an oil with a higher smoke point. Oils like avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil are better suited for these types of cooking methods as they have higher smoke points.

But why does olive oil have a lower smoke point compared to other oils? Well, it has to do with its chemical composition. Olive oil contains a higher percentage of monounsaturated fats, which are more prone to breaking down at high temperatures. Oils with higher smoke points, on the other hand, tend to have a higher percentage of saturated fats or more stable fatty acids.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can never use olive oil for high-heat cooking. If you’re using it in moderation and keeping the heat at a moderate level, you should be fine. However, if you’re cooking at very high temperatures or for an extended period, it’s best to choose a different oil to avoid reaching the smoke point of olive oil.

When it comes to cooking over high heat, it’s advisable to skip using olive oil. Its lower smoke point can lead to the oil breaking down, releasing smoke, and affecting the taste of your food. Opt for oils with higher smoke points, like avocado oil or coconut oil, for high-heat cooking methods. However, for moderate-heat cooking or drizzling over finished dishes, olive oil can still be a flavorful and healthy choice.