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Frying with olive oil is better: let's see why
Frying with olive oil is better: let's see why

Frying with the right oil can make a difference when it comes to seeking the highest quality version of a recipe, such is the case when making spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. Often, the choice of oil can become a matter of debate among cooking enthusiasts, but extra virgin olive oil always proves to be the best alternative. This oil contains antioxidants, and fatty acids beneficial for health, and can reach high temperatures without burning. In this article, we will explore the advantages of frying with extra virgin olive oil, examining the science and best practices to achieve excellent results in the kitchen.

What is the best olive oil to fry with?

The suitability of an oil for frying depends on its ability to resist high temperatures without burning or degrading. The temperature at which this degradation process begins is called the smoke point. Sunflower seed oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and corn seed oil are often recommended for frying as they have a high smoke point and a neutral flavour. However, some experts suggest that high-quality extra virgin olive oil is an excellent choice for frying, as it contains antioxidants and fatty acids beneficial for health, which allow it to reach high temperatures without burning.

Ultimately, the best oil for frying depends on personal preferences and nutritional needs, but it is important to choose a high-quality oil if one wants to create dishes of a high standard, and for this reason, extra virgin olive oil is the best alternative.

Why should you fry with olive oil?

Many cooking experts believe that extra virgin olive oil is the ideal oil for frying in the kitchen because it is very rich in polyphenols, naturally occurring antioxidants that can withstand the high temperatures of frying. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil can impart added flavour to fried foods, improving their taste and texture. This is mainly due to the fact that this type of oil is not chemically refined, making it healthier than other alternatives. Its low acidity and high stability, caused by a higher content of monounsaturated fatty acids compared to polyunsaturated fatty acids, which tend to denature more easily, make this oil highly resistant to oxidation and rancidity, making it a healthy and sustainable choice for cooking. However, it is important to select a high-quality, fresh, and unrefined oil to ensure maximum flavour and health benefits.

What is the smoke point of olive oil?

The smoke point of olive oil can vary depending on the quality of the oil and the production process, but generally, it is around 190-207°C. This means that extra virgin olive oil can be used for frying at high temperatures without burning or degrading.

Here is a table showing the smoke points of the most commonly used oils for frying:

Palm oil 223
Extra virgin olive oil >200
Peanut oil 207
Canola oil 200
Soybean oil 190
Sunflower oil 170

It can be easily noticed that olive oil is one of the oils with the highest smoke point, while palm oil, despite having a very high smoke point, does not offer the same advantages in terms of flavour and health.

How to fry with olive oil

To fry with olive oil, it's important to use high-quality and fresh extra virgin olive oil to ensure maximum flavour and health benefits.

Here are the steps for frying with olive oil:

  • Choose a large and deep pan or pot to accommodate the food you want to fry;
  • Pour extra virgin olive oil into the pan or pot, filling it to about halfway up the food;
  • Turn on the stove and use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the temperature of the olive oil. The ideal temperature for frying with olive oil is around 180-190°C. Alternatively, you can test the temperature by dipping a wooden spoon or a toothpick into the oil, and if bubbles start forming around it, the oil is ready to fry. It's important to avoid overheating the oil, as this could compromise its flavour and make it harmful to health;
  • Completely immerse the food in the hot oil and fry until golden and crispy, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking;
  • Once the food is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the oil and place it on paper towels to remove excess oil;
  • Let the food cool slightly before serving.

Some recommendations to avoid the oil becoming harmful to health are to not reuse the same oil for frying, once it begins to darken, it is advisable to change it and replace it with completely unused oil. This is important because exhausted oil releases substances that are harmful for health. Additionally, it is important to use oil in moderation and maintain it at an appropriate temperature, as with all cooking oils. 

In conclusion, frying with olive oil can be a healthy and tasty choice when preparing fried foods. Thanks to its high smoke point and the presence of natural antioxidants, extra virgin olive oil can withstand high temperatures without degrading or burning, ensuring maximum flavour and health benefits. However, it is important to use it in moderation and keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil has a stronger taste when compared to other cooking oils, which makes it suitable for all types of preparations but also subject to personal preferences. 

With the right precautions and high-quality olive oil, such as Laudemio olive oil, you can prepare healthy and tasty fried foods in your kitchen.