Heating extra virgin olive oil? No problem!
The story that it is better not to heat olive oil has been circulating for years, but in principle it is a myth. It is fine up to 207 degrees Celsius and it is even healthy(er). You can even deep fry with (extra virgin) olive oil!
Is heating extra virgin olive oil healthy?
Extra virgin olive oil is the purest and most natural oil among the different types that exist. The oil is very healthy thanks to the bioactive substances, fatty acids and antioxidants present. The taste and smell are strongest when consumed cold in, for example, a salad or on bread, but with warm dishes such as vegetable fries in the oven, the taste also comes into its own. Even the most insensitive tongue cannot deny this.
We Dutch are used to frying in butter or fat. But actually baking in (extra virgin) olive oil is healthy(er) and just as ‘permitted’. This is apparent from the study ‘Effect of cooking on olive oil quality attributes’ by scientists Santos, Cruz, Cunha and Casal. Among the vegetable oils, olive oil, but also sunflower oil are very suitable for this. The story that carcinogenic substances are released when heating olive oil is true to a certain extent, but only when the olive oil is heated one or more times to higher than 207 degrees Celsius can PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) be released. These are substances that may have an unhealthy effect.
Smoke point of extra virgin olive oil
As mentioned before, the smoke point of olive oil is a whopping 207 degrees Celsius! So it easily wins the competition over butter, where the combustion point is only up to 180 degrees. So with olive oil you have extra margin during baking and roasting. Just like butter, the olive oil can smoke when heated for a long time. At that point you have to turn the gas a bit down because then the oil risks burning and that is of course to be avoided.
Heating olive oil: all ins & outs
In any case, we can say that heating extra virgin olive oil is no problem at all and not only that, it is also super tasty! As long as you don’t let the oil burn, of course!