Can You Put Olive Oil in The Oven? (And Can it Catch Fire?)

olive-oil-bottle

Olive oil is one of the most versatile cooking ingredients. The use of olive oil goes far beyond mere cooking. You can use it for the dressing of food and as a substitute for butter. As a marinade agent, the olive oil is highly rich in flavor.

Beyond its versatility, you cannot overemphasize the health benefits and nutritional importance of olive oil. However, you might wonder how safe it is to use olive oil either for flavor or as a non-stick agent in your oven.

Well, you’re in the right place if that’s your concern. In this article, we’ll answer in detail if you can put olive oil in the oven. Afterward, we’ll consider other relevant questions. This way, you can stay safe in the kitchen.

So, are you ready? Stay glued as we carefully consider these questions in detail.

Can Olive Be Oil Used in The Oven?

Regarding the use of olive oil in the oven, there are quite a number of dissenting opinions. Some are of the strict view that your olive oil has no place in your oven. The reason for this assertion is not farfetched.

It is a common belief that olive oil, compared to the other vegetable oils, has a lower smoking point. The average cooking oil has a smoke point well above 400F, while the olive oil’s smoke point ranges from 325-375F. In turn, thoughts against it believe this makes it undesirable for your oven.

However, does this fact translate to a strict policy of total avoidance of the olive oil in your oven? The answer is No! If you can adhere to the safety measure, then you’re good to go. On the other hand, if you cannot adhere, you will be missing out on one of the most exciting oil flavors.

You can use your olive oil safely in your oven, but the temperature must be kept low. The purpose of using your oven at a relatively low temperature is to prevent the olive oil from degradation. The cause of the olive oil’s degrading state is due to oxidative damage done to the olive oil property.

Toxic compounds are released when oxidative damage is completed. It is a result of these poisonous compounds that many people kicked against olive oil in the oven.

From what we have stated above, the answer to whether you can use the olive oil in the oven is Yes! However, you must ensure that the smoke point does not pass 350F.  

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What Happens When Olive Oil Reaches Its Smoke Point?

For beginners, you can also refer to the smoke point as the burning point. It is the state where the temperature causes a bluish smoke from which fire can arise if exposed to air.

As earlier stated, you should not use olive oil at a temperature that is above 350F. The purpose of this is to prevent the olive oil from getting to the smoke point. You might as well be wondering why we keep emphasizing the prevention of the olive oil from reaching its smoke point.

If you place olive oil in an oven with a temperature well over 350F, what will happen? Here are some of the things that will occur when an olive oil reaches its smoke point:

1. Smoking

The first thing that will happen is smoking. This will arise as a result of heating the olive oil to its smoke point. However, the bluish smoke is not the primary problem. Our main concern is what happens next after the smoking begins.

2. Release of Toxic Components 

Once the olive oil reaches its smoke point, it releases volatile chemical compounds such as aldehyde. These toxic chemical compounds will have become volatile with time, and as the oil temperature increases. The toxins produced from this process can harm the ecosystem by causing air pollution.

As a result of this, we recommend that when getting your cooking oil, you should consider its property. The purpose of this to know whether the oil is of higher smoke point or a low smoke point. This will help, particularly when you need oil for cooking at a high temperature for a lengthy amount of time.  

3. Loss of Nutrition and Flavor

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants when compared to its counterparts. This unique feature makes it capable of holding up exceptionally well when introduced to heat for a long time.

However, you should know that it will lose its nutritional values when it reaches its smoke point. Again, its flavor will drastically reduce overtime when heated for a long time.

You should note that the average temperature for baking in an oven is 375F. This is well over the smoke point of the olive oil. It is, therefore, advisable not to use olive oil for baking in the oven. This will not only prevent the olive oil from losing its flavor and nutritional benefits.

Even worse, as we stated earlier, it will also cause the release of toxins.

Will Olive Oil Catch Fire in the Oven?

Yes! Olive oil tops the list of common mistakes that leads to a fire outbreak in the oven. As mentioned above, olive oil is volatile, and it can catch fire. The olive oil will catch fire when it reaches its flashpoint. The flashpoint of the olive oil is estimated to be around 410F.

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Before olive oil can catches fire, you must have heated it to a very high temperature. There are also some early signs that your olive oil is about to reach its flashpoint. The most significant indicator is when the olive oil starts to boil and pop.

Your oven can catch fire when you are attempting to make yourself a grill with your oven. This can happen when you place olive oil too close to the heat source. High temperatures can cause the olive oil to boil and splatter with the broiling agent, thereby causing a fire.

Although, the chance of your olive oil to catch fire in the oven is quite slim. However, you should follow safety precautions strictly. Based on our findings, here are some of the safety precautions you can follow.

  • You should not place your olive oil too close to the heat source of your oven.
  • You should set your olive oil foods on lower racks in the oven.
  • You should know the property of your olive oils as they vary in temperament towards heat.

Can You Bake Olive Oil at 400F?

If your recipe requires the use of olive oil for the baking ingredient, go for it. You can either chose to use ordinary olive oil or the extra- virgin olive oil.

However, the difference between olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil has a lot to do with their smoke points. The extra-virgin olive oil, which is of richer quality, has a higher smoke point, and its heat temperature is around 400F.  

As mentioned above, the average temperature for baking in an oven is 375F. The smoke point of the regular olive oil is around 350F. If you use the traditional olive oil, it will probably dry up due to the oven’s heat temperature. The regularly olive oil will lose its nutritional benefits due to the length of time spent in the oven.

We advise that you use extra-virgin olive oil for the baking. Extra-virgin olive oil has a higher smoke point. Its smoke point of 400F can easily match the baking oven’s heat temperature of 375F. Again, one of the unique qualities of extra-virgin olive oil is that it does not dry up quickly.

When Should You Not Use Olive Oil?

Olive oil, as we have identified earlier, has several health benefits coupled with its versatility. In as much as the olive oil is a good servant, it is also a terrible master.

Like we have earlier stated, olive oil has a low smoke point. Due to its low smoke point, when you heat olive oil to its smoke point level, it loses its nutritional benefits. Even more, you’re at risk of a fire outbreak where the temperature level reaches the flashpoint.

Again, toxic fumes are released when oxidative damage has been done to the olive oil component. The poisonous fumes contain carcinogenic properties, one of the leading causes of lung cancer when continuously inhaling the polluted air.

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We bet you don’t want all this. Well, there are some circumstances that increase your exposure to these issues. And these circumstances are times when you should not use olive oil.

So, here are some of the things you should not use olive oil for:

1. Searing 

You do your searing process over high heat, and as such, you should not use olive oil. The main purpose of searing is to give your food coloring, which can only be done over high heat. Unfortunately, olive oil has a low smoke point. As such, before your olive oil gets hot to sear the food, it would have smoked.

Again, you should not roast your vegetables with olive oil. For you to cook your vegetables, you need 425F. If you use olive oil, it will dry up and cause the vegetables to burn in the oven. This will make your vegetables difficult to eat and unhealthy.

2. Frying Pork, Fish, or Lamb

You can best use olive oil for drizzled your pork, fish. You should not use your olive oil for frying them.

3. Deep Frying A Chicken 

You cannot use olive oil to deep fry a chicken. You should use alternative oil that has a higher smoke point. 

4. For Roasting Chicken 

You need 450F to Roast a chicken successfully. 450F is way out of the league of olive oil. 

5. Stir-frying

It is not advisable to use olive oil for stir-fry because it requires a lot of heat. 

You can best use olive oil to dress salad or vegetables for a mildly heated oven. You can also use it for its flavor by drizzling on your vegetable dish. Olive oil is also vital in preventing food from sticking to the pan.

When you want to cook with an overheated oven, you should use alternative oils. However, such alternative oil must have high tenacity to heavy heat temperature.

Conclusion

You can successfully use olive oil in the oven. The primary worry when using olive oil is to cook at a low temperature due to its low smoke point. Once you ignore the smoke point, you at risk of causing a severe fire outbreak. You might also be at serious risk of health complications such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrest.

Again, when you overheat your olive oil, you could damage its property. The damaged property can produce harmful toxins, which may cause air pollution. Worse, once your olive oil spends a long period in high heat temperatures, it will lose its flavor.

So, keep all these in mind when next you need to use olive oil in the kitchen.

References:

https://foodsguy.com/is-olive-oil-flammable/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/things-you-shouldnt-be-cooking-with-olive-oil

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things in her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.