This Is What Happens When You Heat Olive Oil Too Much

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Use olive oil for frying – yes or no? Here comes the scientific answer. Olive oil is a healthy and tasty Mediterranean cooking oil. It must not get too hot. What you should pay attention to when heating olive oil, we tell you here.

Olive Oil Is Not Cold Pressed for Nothing

A liter of oil – that’s how much each German consumes per year. In Mediterranean countries, Greece, Spain or Italy, it is more than ten liters per capita. There it is almost considered a staple food and is used everywhere, even for frying and baking.

In fact, especially naturally cloudy olive oil should not be used for frying: The aromatic substances, i.e. the typical taste of this oil, evaporate if overheated. Furthermore, the naturally cloudy oil contains fruit water and small pieces of olives, which change their aggregate state at about 100 degrees. Then it starts smoking in the frying pan. It is not for nothing that these oils are cold pressed. They were obtained in the oil factory without heat, in a purely mechanical way.

If the oils start burning, not only does the taste suffer, it can even be really dangerous. The food must then be disposed of. Acrolein has formed. This substance is suspected to be carcinogenic.

The Smoking Point Is Crucial

Therefore, the following applies: Overheating should always be avoided. Each oil has its own smoke point. This is a parameter used mainly by experts. The smoke point describes the temperature at which the volatile components of the oil – e.g. water or free fatty acids – evaporate. These then become visible as smoke. As a general rule, cold pressed oils have a smoke point of 120 to 190 degrees, while refined oils, i.e. more highly processed, have a smoke point of more than 200 degrees.

Clear oil can be used for frying, for example, as long as the temperature in the pan remains below 180 degrees Celsius. Some oils are also specially developed for high temperatures, but are generally intended for lower temperatures. Those who still want the taste of olive oil in their food should first fry it in vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil or rapeseed oil. Olive oil can then be added immediately before serving.

Which oil is suitable for frying: the smoke point table

Oil nameSmoke point in °C
Argan oil250 °C / 482 °F
Soybean oil234 °C / 453.2 °F
peanut oil230 °C / 446 °F
sesame oil230 °C / 446 °F
Olive oil, refined230 °C / 446 °F
Palm oil220 °C / 428 °F
Palm kernel fat220 °C / 428 °F
Sunflower oil220 °C / 428 °F
Coconut oil200 °C / 392 °F
Clarified butter200 °C / 392 °F
Grapeseed oil190 °C / 374 °F
butter175 °C / 347 °F
margarine170 °C / 338 °F
Rapeseed oil, native160 °C / 320 °F

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