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TIP OF THE DAY: Deep Fat Frying In EVOO

Deep frying occurs when the fat in a pot or pan completely envelops the food.

You may have read tips on deep frying that advise against cooking with extra virgin olive oil. The advice is that the smoke point is too low.

But that’s not so, says California Olive Ranch, producers of fine EVOO in “everyday,” single varietals and reserve blends.

Every oil has a temperature at which it begins to break down, referred to as the smoke point. It’s a common myth, says California Oil Ranch, that olive oil has a low smoke point that renders it inadequate to deep fry with.

It’s also a myth, they say, that oil needs to reach extreme temperatures in order to fry food. In many regions around the globe, cooks have long been frying with extra virgin olive oil.

We always fry our morning eggs in EVOO, but that’s not the same as deep frying. So we pass along to you California Olive Ranch’s tips for frying in EVOO.

But first, let’s start with a tip from us.

EVOO is costlier than regular olive oil and other oils used to deep fry: canola, sunflower and vegetable, for example. And single varietal EVOO and reserve blends are even pricier.

We wouldn’t normally recommend that you use a pricey bottle of EVOO to fry.

But there are less expensive “everyday” EVOO blends.

Or you might end up with too much EVOO, or EVOO that’s been on yourself for too long (friends typically gift us with fine olive oil, and sometimes we can’t use it fast enough).

Of course, you want to use it up before it goes rancid (a sniff will tell you if that’s about to happen—or already has happened*).

While different olive cultivars have a longer or shorter freshness timeline, all olive oil should be good for two years from bottling. If your bottle is older than two years, get ready to fry.

And a reminder: All cooking oils should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from light.

In order to deep fry food, the oil must reach a temperature that:

  • Dehydrates the surface of the food and quickly forms a crust, but…
  • Doesn’t cause the food to burn before the inside of the food is cooked.
  • Typically, successful deep frying occurs when the oil is between 350°F and 375°F.
  • High-quality extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point upwards of 425°F, well beyond the desired 350°F to 375°F range.
  • A good rule of thumb to follow is that the higher the quality of oil and the fresher it is, the higher the smoke point.
  • Here’s a scientific report on frying with extra virgin olive oil.
    And, EVOO is the most heart-healthy cooking oil.

    In sum: Not only does extra virgin olive oil stand up to the task of high heat cooking, it also aids in bringing out the flavors of your dish—in a more healthful way.

    TRIVIA: Both olive oil and wine are fruit juice—pressed from fresh fruits.


    Sweet Potato Fries
    [1] Use EVOO for tastier sweet potato fries (photo © California Olive Ranch).

    Fried Chicken
    [2] Make tastier fried chicken, too, with this recipe from Volpi Foods (photo © Volpi Foods).

    EVOO California Olive Ranch
    [3] A bottle of California Olive Oil’s Everyday Olive Oil, an EVOO for everyday baking, roasting and sautéing (photo © California Olive Ranch)


    *How to tell if your olive oil is over the hill: Pour a bit of room temperature oil into a small cup or 1/4 cup measure. Place your hand over the cup to trap the aroma, and sniff. If it smells musty or like fermented fruit, it’s rancid. If it smells normal to you, you can next do a small taste test. Slurp a teaspoon of oil into your mouth and slosh it around. If it tastes good to you, it’s good to use. By the way, if it smells and tastes redolent of olives, it’s fresh.


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