Olive oil -- when to use what kind?

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
Are there different uses for the different kinds of olive oil or is it a matter of preference?

I have been using olive oil for the health benefits it is supposed to provide. After hearing Rachel Ray mention using the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or EVOO) I have been using it for sauteeing & pan-frying, also as a substitute for butter on cooked pasta.

I have a friend who bakes these fanTAStic chocolate chip cookies using the regular Toll House recipe but using Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil instead of butter. So I have been using that type of olive oil in recipes that call for vegetable oil.

Does this make a difference? Or can I use the same kind of olive oil for every application? Is there one type that has the most health benefits? And what do you use the regular kind, not virgin or light, of olive oil for?
Cold pressure is different then a hot press... also extra virgin is lighter and sweeter... good for dressing so not so great for cooking. Virgin or heavier olive oils are good for cooking. Though for frying try peanut oil or soy.
I have switched over to using nearly 100% olive oils in my cooking, but NOT baking (I always use real butter), unless actual veggie oil is called for in the recipe. I use Extra Light or Light in my general cooking, such as when i want to have a bit of oil in my pan for eggs or pancakes, ect. When making muffins I use the Light or Extra Light because I do not want my baked goods to have the heavy flavor or Regular or Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I love Regular Olive Oil or Virgin Olive Oil in cooking where i WANT the flavor of the oil. For instance, I used Virgin OO in my tomato sauce I made from scratch last week. Obviously the oil flavor was appropriate. I use Virgin in my salad dressings and as a topping for bread when making garlic bread. I will also use Virgin OO in my cooking of meats such as a roast when I would like some extra flavor to go with Herbs such as Rosemary and Thyme or Garlic.

Extra Virgin, especially the cold pressed oils are more expensive and pronounced in flavor. It took me several years to appreicate the taste. Also Extra Virgin, Unfiltered OO will BURN if used at high temperatures so be careful-- you don't want to go burning that expensive oil. Those kinds of OO"s are really to be used as a condiment and oil for dressings. Cooking the specialty oils like that will ruin them.
I think that taste of the olive oil has a lot to do with it.....I prefer the light oo and use it for everything. The pure is really strong and olive flavor so I don't think that would be good in sweets cookies, cakes, etc. but more like in salads, pesto sauce, or spaghetti sauce and stuff like that.
If you can find virgin olive oil with a taste that you like, that will be a good value. I have trouble finding virgin olive oil where I live, so I usually get a big bottle of Extra Virgin from Costco or the Whole Foods 365 brand that I like. If you do a lot of deep frying and can find pure olive oil, that is what is generally used for frying. But peanut oil would be fine for frying also because of the high smoke point. There are very expensive, cold pressed oils that are really green in color and have a great olive flavor that should be saved for salad dressings, dips for breads, and drizzling over pasta or vegetables after cooking and just before serving. I have been using a blended oil (vegetable and canola) for baking as it has almost no taste. I'll have to check into the light olive oils.
Just how many different kinds of olive oils are there? I'm going to have to study the selection on my grocer's shelves next time I'm there. I'm seeing mention of Virgin and Extra-Virgin, Light and Regular, cold and hot pressed... it's getting confusing. It seems there are kinds with a stronger olive taste that are better for savory dishes, and others better suited for use in baking, especially sweet things. Could someone give us a good explanation of all the types & their uses? Or direct us to a good website with that info?
Light Olive Oil ~ Only light in *flavor* not fat. Has a light color, close to what corn oil looks like. Has hardly any "olive" flavor, a hint but not much. Has the benifits that all other OO's have in that it is heart healthy. Good for baking and using as a general oil for frying and in the pan as a non stick oil. Relatively inexpensive compared to EVOO.

Olive Oil (or Regular OO) ~ Has more olive flavor and will be from a medium green color to a dark yellow. Good for your heart oil. Good in dressings and Non-sweet baking such as making breads, good in pasta making too if recipe calls for oil. Ok for frying in. You can find it cold pressed, but probably not in a "regular" grocery store. Good in dressings and on meats when cooking, in sauces and the like.

Extra Virgin OO ~ This oil will range from very dark green to a lighter green and be quite "heavy" in the bottle. You can find it unfiltered, filtered, cold pressed or hot pressed. Unfiltered will have a distinct cloudy appearance and you might not find it in a regular grocery store. EVOO, cold pressed means the olives were pressed using no chemicals or heat so it can be more robust in flavor as well as healthy. EVOO will often be the most expensive, even in the grocery store. Has a very pronounced flavor and is great as a condiment and in salads and dressings, not neccessarily great for frying. Sometimes will burn at high heat. EVOO's can have a wide range of flavors depending on where the olives were grown.

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