Fried chicken is among the most loved foods worldwide. And with good reason. It’s crispy, juicy, and flavorful, just like it was meant to be.
Have you tried frying in olive oil? Now, I know you may have a lot of questions popping up in your mind.
Is olive oil safe for frying chicken? Is it healthy? How about harmful free radicals and free fatty acids? Relax, we’ve got you covered.
So, can you fry chicken in olive oil?
Yes, you can fry your chicken in olive oil. In fact, you can fry almost anything with it. It’s the most healthy alternative to other oils, such as vegetable oils.
In addition, it has a relatively high smoke point, so it’s perfect to use for high-heat cooking. Besides being a healthier option, it yields a more delicious result.
Despite olive oil being a healthier option, some important things to remember when using it to fry your chicken. Keep reading to understand the dos and don’ts of frying chicken in olive oil.
Can You Fry Chicken In Olive Oil
Yes, you can. Olive oil (extra virgin olive oil) is an excellent choice for frying chicken because it is high in monounsaturated and unsaturated fat.
This helps keep the chicken moist and flavorful. It also has a higher smoke point of 3500F to 4100F, making it safe for most cooking methods. This means it won’t burn as quickly when cooking your chicken.
In addition, olive oil is more stable under heat and healthy when compared with seed oils. Studies show that olive oil is stable since it maintains its quality and nutritional value, even when reused ten times.
You can use it to fry any chicken part—breast, wings, drumstick, or leg quarters. Ideally, any cut will work well with this method.
Most people think the smoke point is the most important aspect of frying chicken in olive oil. On the contrary, oxidative stability is the best indicator of how your cooking oil will react when heated. Olive oil has the highest oxidative stability compared to other oils.
The biggest worry most people have when frying chicken in olive oil is the health effects, such as increased cholesterol levels and chronic disease. However, a study published by the British Medical Journal proved otherwise.
According to the study, most Spaniards fry their food in sunflower or olive oil. However, none of these practices were linked to an increased risk of heart disease or higher cholesterol levels.
This indicates that the oil used in frying may have health impacts rather than the fried meal itself.
Which Type Of Olive Oil Is Suitable For Frying Chicken?
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is considered safe since it has a smoke point of about 3500F-4500F. It also produces less harmful compounds when heated.
EVOO is also full of research-backed benefits. For example, it has high oxidation stability, meaning it doesn’t lose its nutritional value even when heated.
Is Frying Chicken With Olive Oil Healthy?
Yes. Olive oil is the healthiest and safest oil to use for frying chicken. This is because it is high in “healthy fat,” monounsaturated fat, which is excellent for cardiovascular health.
In addition, olive oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, among other health properties.
Even though olive oil loses some contents due to high heat, it still maintains parameters to make it healthy compared to other oils.
According to Harvard Health, frying food with vegetable oils such as olive oil is a healthy choice. These oils can help increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and lead to regular heartbeats.
Furthermore, olive oil is one of the Mediterranean diet’s main ingredients and its primary fat source. Therefore, people who use this diet have a higher life expectancy and reduced chances of dying due to cardiovascular issues, which can be attributed to olive oil.
Olive Oil Nutrition Facts
One tablespoon (14g grams) of olive contains:
- Calories: 119
- Total Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 1.9g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 9.8g
- Sodium: 0.3mg
- Vitamin E: 1.9mg
- Vitamin K: 8.1mcg
- Potassium: 0.1mg
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Fiber: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
Why Should You Not Deep Fry Chicken With Olive Oil?
According to the USDA, you can deep fry your chicken with olive oil. You only need to be extra careful. There was a time that olive oil was said to be suitable for shallow or pan frying only.
However, the USDA provides guidelines for deep frying foods such as chicken, turkey, potato chips, and French fries using olive oil.
The cost is the only downside of deep frying your chicken with olive oil. As you know, olive oil is one of the most expensive oils. In addition, deep frying your chicken will need more than one cup, making it a very costly affair for some people.
It’s also important to note that deep frying oil poses a fire risk. So, be extra careful when deep frying your chicken in olive oil and have some measures in place, such as a fire extinguisher.
Coconut Oil Vs Olive Oil: Which Is Better For Frying Chicken?
Because of its numerous health benefits, olive oil is an excellent choice for shallow or deep frying your chicken.
The polyphenols and polyunsaturated fats give your chicken a nutrition boost. Further, olive oil is on the list of oils recommended by the USDA for frying.
Because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil has a high smoke point, meaning it can withstand higher temperatures than olive oil.
But as indicated above, it’s not the smoking point that matters most but the oxidation stability, which is higher in olive oil.
Regarding taste, coconut and olive oil will add a subtle flavor to your chicken. However, coconut oil will give your chicken a slightly sweeter taste, while olive oil will give it a more savory flavor.
How Much Olive Oil Should You Use To Fry Chicken?
You will need 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil. However, this highly depends on the size of your pan and the chicken part you’re cooking. If you feel 2-4 tablespoons are not enough, you can add enough just to cover the bottom of your pan.
How Long To Fry Chicken In Olive Oil?
You can fry the chicken under medium heat for about 14-30 minutes or until it’s golden brown. However, this will depend on the part you are cooking. For example, frying drumsticks takes longer than frying wings.
Also, remember not to fill your pan to the brim. Fried chicken that is evenly spaced out will be faster than the ones in a skillet fully packed that there is no room for turning.
Tips For The Best Olive Oil Fried Chicken
Here are tips to remember for safety reasons and to cook the most delicious olive oil fried chicken.
- EVOO is the healthiest oil for frying chicken. However, it has a low smoke point compared to other oils, such as canola or avocado. So, be careful when using it to fry your chicken, especially deep-frying. Aim for 3000 -330 F.
- Avoid using high heat when heating your oil to prevent it from burning and the risk of causing a fire. Instead, let your oil heat in medium heat until it’s hot enough, and then you can turn it low.
- Let your chicken cook in low to medium heat to preserve the nutritional value of olive oil.
- Use a candy/deep-frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oil.
- Before adding your chicken, ensure your oil is hot enough to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
- Allow your chicken to stay at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you add it to the oil to allow even cooking.
- Drain your chicken on a rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet before serving. This helps to preserve its crispiness and prevent greasiness.
What Happens To Olive Oil At High Heat?
Olive oil has a smoke point, which is the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and release toxins.
Olive oil can start to burn at high heat and produce harmful compounds that can cause illness. It can also lose some of its nutritional value and, more so, its flavor.
Furthermore, you can risk your family’s safety since the oil is highly flammable, especially in high heat.
Are There Alternative Options To Olive Oil?
Other great alternative oils to fry chicken in place of olive oil are available. Each oil has its benefits and drawbacks, so choosing the right oil for your needs is important.
Canola oil is among one of the best options for frying chicken because it has a high smoke point of 400ºF. In addition, it is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making it rank among the top oils for frying chicken.
However, it is not as flavorful as olive oil and may not be the best choice if you want an added unique flavor.
Vegetable oil is an excellent option since it has a high smoke point of about 400ºF, making it perfect for pan and deep frying. It is also a good choice if you’re looking for a neutral flavor.
Furthermore, some vegetable oil is made from corn, soybean, canola, palm, or sunflower oils, making it more affordable.
Peanut Oil is a healthy and excellent choice if you’re looking for a more flavorful option. It’s high in monounsaturated fat, and a good source of vitamin E.
Peanut oil has about 450ºF smoke point, making it ideal for frying chicken. Furthermore, it has a neutral flavor, so it will not alter the taste of your chicken.
Avocado oil is great for frying chicken because it is high in monounsaturated fat and contains more antioxidants than olive oil. In addition, it provides vitamin E, which helps protect against free radicals that can damage your body’s cells.
On top of these, avocado oil has a high smoke point and oxidative stability. This o also adds a nutty flavor to your chicken.
It has a high smoke point of 450ºF and can handle high temperatures, so you won’t have to worry about smoking your chicken. It also has a mild flavor that won’t taste like anything after you fry the chicken.
Corn oil is also rich in phytosterols suitable for your heart health. It’s also effective for reducing LDL cholesterol.
What Other Foods Can You Fry With Olive Oil?
With olive oil, you can fry almost every food as it adds a charm to any bland food. Using olive oil, you can fry your eggs, french fries, fish, veggies, and donuts, among others.
On the other hand, avoid using olive oil to fry your burgers. Not for any health issues, but olive oil has its natural flavor, which can override the natural burger flavor.
Does Frying With Olive Oil Cause Cancer?
Yes, and no. Frying chicken with olive oil does not mean you risk cancer. The only thing that causes cancer when frying using olive oil is letting the oil heat beyond its smoke point.
When you heat the oil, and it starts to smoke, it breaks down and may release harmful toxins known as carcinogenic. Exposure to these compounds leads to the risk of cancer.
It’s good to note that all oils can release carcinogenic toxins when heated to the point where they smoke. So it’s crucial to keep monitoring your oil temperature to prevent it from reaching its smoke point.
How To Fry Chicken In Olive Oil
Here are quick steps on how to fry your chicken in olive oil:
- Season your chicken depending on your taste but ensure to add salt. You can also add pepper, paprika, ginger, or other spices or herbs and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet medium until it shimmers.
- Add your chicken and cook for about 6-7(each side) minutes until they’re golden brown on both sides.
- Place it on a rack over paper towels to drain the excess oil and wait for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are common questions people ask about the viability of olive oil for frying chicken.
Can You Fry Chicken In Olive Oil Without Flour?
Of course, you can. However, this method is excellent when shallow frying your chicken. You can add your seasoning, and your chicken is ready for frying.
Note that dredging chicken with flour gives it an enticing color, crisp on the outside but soft and juicy on the inside.
Can You Fry Chicken In Olive Oil Mixed With Vegetable Oil?
Yes. You can mix olive oil and vegetable oil to fry your chicken. But, first, ensure the olive oil you choose has a high smoke point.
Mixing them is a great way to neutralize olive oil, and since olive oil is a bit expensive, vegetable oil will help bring the cost down.
Is There A Taste Difference In Using Olive Oil For Frying Chicken?
There is a taste difference in using olive oil for frying chicken. This is because olive oil has a mild and sweet flavor, while other oils like vegetable oil don’t.
When you fry your chicken in olive oil, the taste is transferred to the chicken. Some people love the flavor of olive oil on fried chicken, but others may not like the flavor. In the end, it’s all about your personal choices.
- 4 medium pieces chicken breast
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Ginger, paprika, salt and pepper
- Tong/slotted spoon
- Heavy pan
- Season your chicken: The seasoning you use will highly depend on your taste but ensure to add salt. You can also add pepper, ginger, or any other spice or herb and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil: Add 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil or just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Heat your oil over medium until it shimmers.
- Add your chicken: Place your chicken breasts in the skillet carefully (in batches if necessary) to avoid overcrowding. Fry for about 7-9 (each side) until they're golden brown on both sides.
- Drain excess oil: Take the chicken out of the pan using a tong or a slotted spoon. Place it on a rack over paper towels to drain any extra oil before serving.