What Is An Oil’s Smoke Point?

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What Is An Oil’s Smoke Point, and why do I need to know? Knowing an oil’s smoke point is extremely important if you intend to use oil in your kitchen at all. Everyone uses oil in their cooking process at one time or another, so being aware of the smoke point can be valuable. 

What Does Smoke Point Mean

Stop and think for a moment about “What is an Oil’s Smoke Point?” You might be a bit confused by that question and not sure what it means. The question is asking exactly what you might guess. At what point does an oil or butter reach a temperature that causes it to begin smoking, which is followed soon after by a fire. 

Knowing each oil’s smoke point is especially important if you are planning to deep fry any kind of food. Once you reach a specific temperature, for your certain kind of oil, it has the great possibility to catch on fire. It releases clouds of smoke, the oil has begun to break down and will soon burn. Once it begins to smoke and has broken down, it should be tossed out. 

Various Kinds of Oil

Smoke points are different for each kind of oil. Butter and olive oil both burn easily. They are both best when used for sautéing on low heat. Vegetable oils are able to withstand higher heat and make better oils for frying. 

Frying Temperature

In order to use oils for frying a good temperature range would be between 365F to 375F degrees. If you go over this temperature your oil is highly likely to begin smoking. Adversely if you are below these temperatures, your food will not fry like you want it to. 

Smoke Points

Sunflower Oil — 440F
Canola Oil — 400F
Butter — 350F
Extra Virgin Olive Oil — 320F

Knowing an oil’s smoke point is critical when cooking with different kinds of oil. When an oil begins to smoke is has begun to break down and will soon start to burn. Keeping it below that temperature is key when cooking with oils. 

Have you ever reached the smoke point when cooking with oil?

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