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Olive oil Myths

Olive oil has a low smoke point and therefore is bad for frying: False

  • When you are choosing an oil to cook, sauté, or fry with, you should look for one that contains low amounts of polyunsaturated fat. When heated, polyunsaturated fat molecules tend to oxidize quicker and go rancid. Instead, choose an oil high in monounsaturated fat with stability in high heat.

  • The smoke point of quality extra virgin olive oil is 410 °F (210 °C). Which means the smoke point of olive oil is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for cooking in general or frying (which is 375 ºF) making it completely safe to heat.

  • The following are typical maximum temperatures for cooking:

  • Pan frying/sauteing/cooking: 248 °F (120 °C)

  • Deep frying: 320 °F - 375 °F (160 - 180 °C)

  • Here’s a quote from the International Olive Council: "Olive oil is ideal for frying. In proper temperature conditions, without over-heating, it undergoes no substantial structural change and keeps its nutritional value better than other oils, not only because of the antioxidants but also due to its high levels of oleic acid."

  • Not only can you fry with extra virgin olive oil, but you should. It stands up well to heat due to its monounsaturated fatty acid and polyphenolic content; it’s also a safer, healthier, and tastier choice compared to other fats. High monounsaturated fat percentage helps olive oil stabilize better when exposed to high heat. Unlike olive oil, other types of oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats quickly oxidize at high heat and release harmful free radicals.

  • Tip: The pan and the olive oil need to be hot before adding food, otherwise some foods can soak it all up (e.g. nightshades like eggplant). Fun fact, some Turkish dishes are prepared using a cold pan, because we want the vegetables to soak all that wonderful olive oil! Vegetables that soak up the olive oil taste much richer and have much more nutritional value. So, feel free to try both!

  • Olive oil is unhealthy and leads to heart disease: False (

  • According to AHA research conducted from 1990 to 2014 consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day reduced the risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease by 15% and reduced the risk of having coronary heart disease by 21%. Purely replacing one teaspoon of butter, margarine or dairy fat with the same amount of olive oil reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5% and the risk of coronary heart disease by 7%.


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