Some people worry about using olive oil because they believe that that their cooking temperatures will exceed the smoke point of olive oil. In other posts, we have explained that olive oil is safer to cook with at high temperatures than other oils that have higher smoke points. But the reality is, you don't even need to worry that you will exceed the smoke point when cooking with olive oil. Watch this video to learn what temperatures to expect when cooking and how olive oil performs.
Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point between 350⁰ - 410⁰ F. Olive oil and light-tasting olive oil have smoke points of 390⁰ - 470⁰ F. So if you cook at high heat, you may wonder, will my food exceed that temperature?
Not even close. We used an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of food (here, Brussels sprouts and garlic) being sauteed in extra virgin olive oil. We turned the heat to high on a gas range with a 16,000 BTU "power" burner. As you can see in the video below, the oil and the food did not exceed 180⁰ F -- not even close to the smoke point of EVOO. Even the hottest, bare spots of the pan did not exceed 280⁰. Don't mistake evaporation of moisture in the food you are cooking as "smoke!"
In conclusion, when it comes to olive oil, you don't need to sweat the smoke point (just don't overheat the oil in the pan before you add the food!). Use the olive oil that meets your taste preference and budget and enjoy the great taste and health benefits of olive oil in all your cooking.
- Smoke Point Is Not a Reliable Indicator of Cooking Oil Stability
- Why Olive Oil is the Best Oil for Frying
- The Culinary Institute of America Clarifies Guidance on Cooking With Olive Oil
- Olive Oil Retains Health Benefits During Cooking
- USDA Recommends Olive Oil for Deep Frying
- US News reports on olive oil smoke points