Fried chicken has long been a beloved dish, known for its crispy exterior and juicy, flavorful meat. Different cooking oils have been traditionally used for frying, each offering unique characteristics. However, there is one oil that often sparks curiosity and debate: olive oil.

Renowned for its health benefits and versatility, olive oil is a staple in many kitchens. But can you fry chicken in olive oil This article will delve into olive oil, exploring its types, smoke points, and nutritional advantages. We will also evaluate its suitability for frying chicken, weighing the pros and cons while providing valuable tips for achieving delicious results.

What Is Olive Oil?

Olive oil is a liquid fat that comes from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea), a traditional crop of the Mediterranean region. People produce olive oil by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil, which has various culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal uses. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), especially oleic acid, which may benefit cardiovascular health and inflammation.

Olive oil also contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols and vitamin E, that can protect against oxidative stress and cellular damage. The quality and flavor of olive oil depend on the type of olives, the harvesting time, and the extraction process. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality, as it undergoes minimal processing and has no more than 0.8% free acidity. It also has the most antioxidants and intense flavor among all types of olive oil.

Types Of Olive Oil

Here are some types of olive oil:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the highest quality and most flavorful olive oil. It is made from the first pressing of olives and is unrefined, maintaining the natural taste, aroma, and nutritional value. Extra virgin olive oil has a low acidity level, typically below 0.8%, and is often used in dressings, dips, and drizzling over finished dishes.
  • Virgin Olive Oil: Similar to extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil is also made from the first pressing of olives. However, it has a slightly higher acidity, between 0.8% and 2%. While it may have a milder flavor than extra virgin olive oil, it can still be used for cooking and baking.
  • Refined Olive Oil: Refined olive oil undergoes a process that removes impurities and odors. It is made from lower-quality olives or a virgin and refined oils blend. Refined olive oil has a higher smoke point and a more neutral flavor, making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying.
  • Pure Olive Oil: Pure olive oil is a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil. It is a less common type of olive oil and is typically used for general cooking purposes, such as sautéing and roasting.
  • Light Olive Oil: Despite the name, “light” olive oil refers to its mild flavor, not its caloric content. It is a highly refined olive oil with a higher smoke point, making it suitable for various cooking methods. Light olive oil is often chosen for dishes where a subtle taste is desired.

Can You Fry Chicken In Olive Oil?

can you fry chicken in olive oil

Yes, you can fry chicken in olive oil. However, it’s essential to consider the type of olive oil and its smoke point. With its lower smoke point, extra virgin olive oil is more suitable for gentle sautéing or light frying. It may not withstand the high temperatures required for deep frying or achieving a crispy texture. On the other hand, refined olive oil has a higher smoke point, making it more suitable for frying chicken at higher temperatures.

It can deliver crispy and golden-brown results. When frying chicken in olive oil, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent temperature and avoid overheating, as olive oil can degrade if subjected to excessive heat. With proper temperature control and the appropriate type of olive oil, you can enjoy the health benefits and unique flavor that olive oil brings to fried chicken.

Why Olive Oil Is The Best Oil For Frying Chicken?

Olive oil is the best oil for frying chicken for several reasons. First, it has a high smoke point, which means it can withstand high temperatures without breaking down into harmful substances. The smoke point of refined olive oil is about 390° – 470° F, which is higher than the ideal frying temperature of 375° F. Second, it has a neutral flavor that does not overpower the taste of the chicken.

Refined and light olive oil are incredibly mild and do not impart bitterness or rancidity to the fried food. Third, it has health benefits that other oils do not have. Olive oil contains more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than saturated fat, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It also has antioxidants that protect against cancer, aging, and inflammation. Therefore, olive oil is best for frying chicken because it is safe, tasty, and healthy.

How To Fry Chicken In Olive Oil?

To fry chicken in olive oil, follow these steps for a delicious and crispy result:

  • Choose the proper chicken cut: Opt for bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces like thighs, drumsticks, or chicken wings for the best flavor and texture.
  • Prep the chicken: Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry with paper towels. Season them generously with salt, pepper, and desired herbs or spices to enhance the flavor.
  • Heat the olive oil: Pour enough olive oil into a deep skillet or frying pan to reach a depth of about half an inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches the desired frying temperature, usually around 350-375°F (175-190°C).
  • Add the chicken to the pan: Place the seasoned chicken pieces into the hot oil, skin side down. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, which can lower the temperature and hinder proper frying.
  • Fry the chicken: Cook it on one side until it turns golden brown and crispy, usually for about 5-7 minutes. Then, carefully flip the pieces and fry them on the other side until fully cooked and crispy, which takes another 5-7 minutes.
  • Monitor the temperature: Throughout the frying process, keep an eye on the oil temperature and adjust the heat to maintain a consistent frying temperature. This helps ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and achieves a crispy exterior.
  • Drain and rest: Once the chicken is cooked, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan, allowing any excess oil to drain. Place the fried chicken on a wire rack or paper towels to rest for a few minutes, which helps retain its crispiness.

How Much Olive Oil To Use To Fry Chicken?

The olive oil needed for frying chicken depends on the pan size and the quantity cooked. Pour enough oil to reach a depth of about half an inch, ensuring the chicken is partially submerged for even cooking and crispiness. Adjust the amount if using a larger or smaller pan. Avoid overcrowding the pan with chicken pieces, which can lower the temperature and cause uneven frying. If frying in batches, replenish the oil as needed, maintaining the appropriate depth for consistent results. Use olive oil efficiently and ensure adequate coverage for frying chicken pieces perfectly.

How Long Does It Take To Fry Chicken In Olive Oil?

The cooking time for frying chicken in olive oil varies depending on the size, thickness, and desired level of crispiness. Bone-in chicken pieces like thighs or drumsticks take 12-15 minutes per side, while smaller wings or skinless chicken breasts require 8-10 minutes.

Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure safety and a crispy exterior. Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed until golden brown. Frying time may vary based on heat, chicken thickness, and preference for crispiness. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness and adjust the cooking time for perfectly fried chicken in olive oil.

Is It Better To Fry Chicken In Olive Oil Or Vegetable Oil?

Olive oil and vegetable oil are both suitable for frying chicken, with olive oil being healthier due to its higher monounsaturated fat content and unique flavor profile. It is suitable for light frying or sautéing, while refined olive oil is suitable for higher-temperature frying. Vegetable oil, like canola or sunflower oil, has a higher smoke point, making it suitable for deep frying and achieving a crispy texture. Both oils have their merits, but personal preference and considerations determine the choice.

Olive Oil Nutrition Facts

Olive oil is a flavorful cooking oil and boasts impressive nutritional content. Here are some key nutrition facts about olive oil:

  1. Fat Composition: Olive oil is predominantly composed of healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats have been linked to various health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and improving cholesterol levels.
  2. Calories: Like all oils, olive oil is calorie-dense. One tablespoon of olive oil contains approximately 120 calories. Consuming olive oil in moderation is essential as part of a balanced diet.
  3. Vitamin E: Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E also supports healthy skin and immune function.
  4. Antioxidants: Olive oil contains several beneficial antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which have been associated with anti-inflammatory properties and may contribute to overall health and disease prevention.
  5. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: While olive oil is not a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids, it provides a favorable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, essential for maintaining a healthy balance in the diet.


Can You Fry Chicken In Olive Oil Without Flour?

Yes, you can fry chicken in olive oil without flour. The absence of flour coating may result in a different texture, but it can still be flavorful and enjoyable.

Why Shouldn’t You Cook With Olive Oil?

You can cook with olive oil, but it has a lower smoke point than some other oils, so it may not be suitable for high-temperature cooking methods like deep frying.

IS Olive Oil Toxic When Heated?

Olive oil is safe for cooking at moderate temperatures, but heating beyond its smoke point can cause breakdown and loss of nutritional properties.

Does Fryig With Olive Oil Cause Cancer?

No, frying with olive oil does not cause cancer. When used in moderation and not overheated.

What Is The Healthiest Frying Oil For Chicken?

The healthiest frying oil for chicken depends on personal preferences and health considerations. Higher smoke points and healthier fat profiles, like avocado or peanut oil, are often recommended.


Frying chicken in olive oil offers a flavorful and healthy option, provided the right type and cooking techniques are used. It offers unique flavors, health benefits, and versatility in the kitchen. However, there are limitations like smoke point and cost, but it remains a popular choice for those seeking a balance between taste and health. The decision to fry chicken in olive oil depends on individual preferences, desired results, and dietary needs.