In this article, we will answer the question “Can you put olive oil in the oven?”, and how to use olive oil for baking and cooking safely?
Can you put olive oil in the oven?
Yes, you can put olive oil in the oven. However, you need to be careful with the temperature. Olive oil is only suitable for low to no cooking food. When using it in the oven for baking, keep the temperature at or below 350°F. Most of the cooking oils have a smoke point higher than 400°F. Olive oil especially extra virgin olive oil has a way lower smoke point than 400°F.
Read on if you want to know when and how to use olive oil in different recipes.
What happens if you overheat olive oil?
When olive oil reaches above its smoke point in the oven, it experiences oxidative damage and results in the following.
It starts to smoke
A very obvious and apparent indication of overheating olive oil is the release of a lot of bluish smoke. This is just the starting point and if this continues it results in the following two more harmful consequences.
It will lose flavor and nutrients
Olive oil does not lose flavor and nutrients easily due to the powerful anti-oxidants present that protect it from oxidative damage. However, when exposed to extended periods of heating above the smoke point, it may lose some of its essential nutrients and intricate flavor.
It will release toxic compounds
Any cooking oil including olive oil, when exposed to temperatures above smoke point, will start releasing toxic compounds in the form of aldehydes and free radicals.
When not to use olive oil
Do not use olive oil for searing your steak. While the charring crust with olive oil might look like a tempting idea but the toxic fumes that result from doing so are not worth it.
Similarly searing pork chops; tenderloin or lamb chops, grilling meat patties, roasting chicken, sauteeing or stir-frying vegetables, deep-frying chicken legs, potato fries, or fritters with olive oil is not a good idea due to its low smoke point.
Alternatively, you can use canola oil or vegetable oil with quite high smoke points and a neutral flavor that does not overpower the flavor of any other ingredients.
How to select the right type of olive oil for the right job?
Olive oil has a lot of varieties and each variety has a distinctive flavor and a specific smoke point that decides its intended use.
Extra virgin olive oil is extracted by cold pressing from olives. As the name indicates, this variety has the rawest and hence the fruitiest and the most intense flavor. It works well with salad dressings, cold sauces, dips, and sauteeing. It has a smoke point ranging from 375 to 405°F.
It is extracted as a result of the second pressing of olives and has a comparatively milder flavor to the extra virgin variety. It goes well for sauteeing on low-medium heat and for pan-frying. It has a smoke point of 390°F.
It is extracted via the second pressing of the olives or the chemical extraction process. It has a mild to neutral olive taste and can be used for roasting, baking, and frying. It has a smoke point of 410°F.
It is made by combining virgin varieties of olive oil with the refined commercial varieties of vegetable oils. Hene, it lacks the flavor, aroma, and health benefits of the raw olive oil. It has a smoke point of 470°F.
How to bake with olive oil?
- Olive oil can be used in place of butter or vegetable oil to make muffins or quick bread. Some baked products are conventionally made with olive oil including biscotti, Mediterranean-style fruit cakes, and olive bread.
Olive oil especially works best for muffins or loaves with a nutty and earthy flavor like the pumpkin bread. Olive oil provides richness in taste and moistens the crumb.
- To substitute butter in baking, replace each ¼ cup of melted butter with 3Tbsp of olive oil. To replace vegetable oil, substitute an equal amount of olive oil in batter or dough.
- Do not use olive oil with a more pungent flavor in baking. Moreover, when the butter is supposed to be creamed with the sugar as in cakes, substituting it with olive oil is not a good choice.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you put olive oil in the oven?”, and how to use olive oil for baking and cooking safely?