We all know that extra virgin olive oil is healthy. However, many of us mistakenly believe that you can't cook with extra virgin olive oil because it has a low smoke point. But not only does extra virgin olive oil have a high enough smoke point for cooking, smoke point isn't even the most important factor to consider when choosing a cooking oil.
Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point between 350 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you do a lot of cooking on high heat, you may wonder, "Do I need to worry about the smoke point of olive oil while cooking?" The answer is no because smoke point is not a good indicator of a cooking oil's safety when heated. Unless you burn your food, you are not likely to ever reach the smoke point.
Need more convincing? Check out this video where we look at some common cooking methods and check the temperature of the oil. We sautéed, fried and oven baked food in extra virgin olive oil and measured the food and the pan to make sure we did not exceed the smoke point.
Even the hottest parts of this pan where there is no food are nowhere near the smoke point. What looks like smoke escaping from the pan is actually the evaporation of the moisture in your food (i.e., steam). Even using an instant read thermometer shows that the internal temperature of our ingredients is lower than the smoke point.
In conclusion, don't worry about the smoke point. As the video shows, you simply won't reach it in your ordinary cooking at home. Moreover, the smoke point of oil is not the best indicator of its stability. A recent study showed that extra virgin olive oil is indeed the most stable oil for cooking when compared to other oils, even those with higher smoke points.
Video by Aneela Maharaj