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Discover the best oil for frying: EVOO, olive, coconut, sunflower...

frying with low oil

In the search for the ideal oil for frying, we are faced with the question that many consumers ask: What is the best oil for this technique? The diversity of modern opinions supports coconut oil or even avocado oil, while the more traditional ones prefer high oleic sunflower or refined olive (or pomace) oil. And what is our choice for frying? Although we are not frying enthusiasts, we always recommend Extra Virgin olive oil.

Let us explain why this oil is our preference and clear up any doubts about which is the best oil for frying.

coto bajo olive oil

The smoke point, which indicates the temperature at which an oil begins to decompose and produce toxic substances, is vital when choosing frying oil. Keeping the oil or food from burning is essential to prevent the generation of harmful compounds and irritating smoke. Edible fats and oils, mainly made up of triglycerides, begin their decomposition at 260ÂșC. However, the presence of free fatty acids in most oils influences smoke points as they burn even earlier than triglycerides.

Don't miss: Cooking with EVOO instead of butter 

Smoke points of the different oils

The smoke points of oils vary during the cooking process, depending on the moisture content of the food. The data consulted varies, and although it would be ideal to measure the smoke point for each fat and food, these are the most consistent data we have found:

Grease

Smoke Point (ÂșC)

Almond Oil

216

Avocado Oil

271

Butter

177

Coconut Oil

232

Sesame Oil

177

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

160

Refined Olive Oil

240

Sunflower Oil

107

Refined Sunflower Oil

232

High Oleic Sunflower Oil

232

Is it more appropriate to use refined oil for frying?

When looking at any list like the one above, it is evident that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) does not have the highest smoke point (160ÂșC). At first glance, other oils such as refined sunflower oil (232ÂșC) or refined olive oil (240ÂșC) seem more suitable for frying. However, before discarding them, it is crucial to understand the reason behind these data: virgin olive oils are natural olive juices, while the others are refined oils, subjected to a chemical process that almost completely eliminates free fatty acids. Herein lies the trick; generally, the more refined an oil is, the lower its acidity and the higher its smoke point. Does this imply that a refined oil is superior? Not at all, we don't want to claim that at all...

The use of refined oils in cooking presents important negative points worth considering: loss of nutrients, reduced flavor and aroma, possible presence of residual chemical substances, environmental impact, etc.

Returning to the point of smoke, this is not everything when choosing an oil for cooking or frying. The quality of the oil and the quantity absorbed by the food are also determining factors in the final result. Is it really necessary to fry at such high temperatures?

Ideal frying temperature

temperature for frying with olive oil

La fritura es un proceso quĂ­mico en el cual el aceite y el alimento experimentan la ReacciĂłn de Maillard para obtener ese delicioso sabor y aroma. Solo se necesita una temperatura alrededor de los 130ÂșC para lograr este efecto, nada cerca de los 300ÂșC. Incluso un aceite de oliva Virgen Extra estĂĄndar (acidez 0,4% – 0,8%) es suficiente para una fritura adecuada, con un punto de humo alrededor de 160ÂșC. Esto mejora con un aceite de oliva Virgen Extra de calidad superior (acidez < 0,3%), alcanzando puntos de humo superiores a 200ÂșC.

The excellence of extra virgin olive oil for frying

Although we are not fervent fans of fried food, this cooking technique cannot be missing in Andalusian gastronomy. In Cordoba, some typical dishes that include fried foods are flamenquín, fried eggplants with honey or pestiños. However, our oil is also enjoyed raw on toasted bread, salads, pipirranas, gazpachos or salmorejos. This method brings out the flavor and qualities of quality olive oil, transmitting its excellent antioxidant properties.

Although a study by the University of Granada highlights that vegetables fried with olive oil retain their nutritional properties better than when cooked in other ways, we should not forget that fried foods should be consumed in moderation.

Caution with fried foods and excess oil

As for the calories of olive oil, a portion of croquettes absorbs about 100 grams of oil, providing 900 additional calories to the other ingredients. If the oil is not Extra Virgin or is from seeds, its lower density allows a higher caloric absorption. In addition, the excess of omega-6 polyunsaturated acids present in seed oils such as sunflower or sesame should be avoided.

Our recommendation is to limit the consumption of fried foods and, if they are consumed, make sure to use a superior quality olive oil. This brings fewer calories to the dish and more polyphenols and natural antioxidants beneficial to health.

Reuse of olive oil for frying

The key to reusing oil lies in knowing when and why to change it. Extra Virgin olive oil retains its benefits up to 170Âș-180ÂșC; once this temperature is exceeded, it produces unhealthy trans fats. Overheating and excessive reuse should be avoided, as each heating reduces the polyphenols, oxidizing and lowering the smoke point of the oil.

When reusing olive oil, never mix used oil with new oil or other types of oil. The different smoke points of oils can introduce trans fats into foods. Using a cooking thermometer or thermostat setting on deep fryers can prevent temperatures above 170ÂșC from being reached. Avoiding foods with water when frying and straining the oil after use are essential practices, especially after frying foods with flour or batter.

Final recommendations for frying with olive oil

coto bajo olive oil for frying

- Choose a good olive oil for frying due to its high oleic acid content , stable at temperatures below 170-180ÂșC.

- Avoid mixing olive oil with other types of oil and do not reuse the same oil more than two or three times.

- Extra Virgin olive oil transfers less fat to the food, reducing caloric intake by up to 20% compared to other oils.

- Make sure the food is as dry as possible before frying to avoid spoilage of the oil.

- Filter the oil after use and do not reuse it more than once or twice, as its smoke point decreases with use.

- Avoid using unfiltered olive oil for frying, as impurities will quickly deteriorate the oil.

In short, fried foods are not the healthiest choice, but with these practices, enjoying fried foods with the best olive oil can make this indulgence healthier and tastier.

More interesting information >> How to choose the perfect Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Coto Bajo EVOO is an all-purpose oil, stable in terms of attributes over time. Our EVOO in PET 5 liters format is an excellent option to have in the kitchen.

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