Ever wanted to mix two oils to gain the benefit of each while cooking?
With high polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats along with low saturated fat, olive oil is perhaps the go-to frying and seasoning medium for most health-conscious people.
However, the sheer versatility of vegetable oil makes it one of the best and, arguably, tastier oils to fry food in.
Vegetable oil may not share the same health benefits as olive oil but it is considered to be a neutral frying oil that cooks food better without smoking or burning.
Meaning that vegetable oil will not impart any unwanted or additional flavors to your food and will fry them at hotter temperatures without changing color or burning.
But can you mix olive oil and vegetable oil? Yes, both these oils can be mixed for various purposes. Vegetable oil is already a product of different oils like canola, sunflower, cottonseed, and more. The proportions may need to be adjusted but generally speaking, you can mix these two oils.
It’s not that straightforward, though. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you concoct your brand of oil. Read on to learn more!
Why Olive Oil?
Olive oil is considered to be one of the healthiest options in the market. It is better than vegetable oil when you compare the nutritional profile of the two oils.
Many health experts have confirmed that the use of olive oil has been linked to possible health benefits.
But to understand why olive oil is better than others, we must first understand the process of extracting oil, because therein lies a big factor that contributes to the nutritional profile of olive oil.
Also, not all olive oils are the same. They come in two varieties: pomace and extra virgin
These two varieties dominate the market when it comes to olive oil and even within these two, many factors determine the quality and health benefits of the oils.
Pomace oil, for example, is a processed oil that can be seen as more of a byproduct of extra virgin oil.
See, when the olives arrive at the factory, they are first washed, treated, and cleared of any debris. The olives are then put through a grinder. This grinder will continuously compress and extract the natural oils from the olives.
The temperature of the press also determines the quality and taste of the oil, but we will come back to this later. When all of the oil has been extracted from the olives, the leftover residue is then accumulated and scooped up.
The oil that came out of the “first extraction” will go on to become extra virgin olive oil since it is the least processed and has come directly from the olives without much processing.
However, it turns out that the residue has a lot of oil in it too – but it can’t be extracted from the grinder.
This is where chemical processing comes in. The residue is treated with a solvent that extracts the remaining oil which is considered to be inedible at first.
This mix is then further filtered and processed so it can become edible. This is how pomace is collected.
There are varying qualities of olive oil in the market, some extra virgin oils are inferior to others just because of how they are processed.
For example, when grinding the olives, the grinder will get hot due to friction and this heat is significant enough to damage the nutrition and change the flavor of the oil.
To counter this, manufacturers use what is known as a “cold press” where the grinder is constantly cooled down to maintain an even temperature.
Ideally, the cold press extra virgin variety is considered to be the best of the best when it comes to olive oil.
Olive Oil Vs Vegetable Oil
Compared to olive oil, vegetable oil is highly processed as it is usually a mix of one or more sources.
For example, canola and sunflower oils are popularly paired because of how well they complement each other’s flavor profile and smoking points.
The combination of oils is usually done to enhance or improve the effectiveness or the health benefits of any particular oil. There are a few things that manufacturers look out for when mixing together different vegetable oils:
- Smoking point
The smoking point determines the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke. For example, olive oil has a smoking point of 190°C while vegetable oil can withstand up to 240°C before smoking.
Many manufacturers may mix oils to increase the smoking point as it impacts the flavor and color of the oil once heated.
This is why vegetable oil is the preferred choice when it comes to deep-fried food as the food has to be cooked on high heat and the oil does not need to be changed often.
Flavor is extremely important when it comes to oils. Comparatively, olive oil has a much more pronounced flavor than vegetable oil which is why you would usually drizzle olive oil on salads and foods.
Vegetable oil is considered to be neutral and is equally important in not changing the taste of food.
Nutrition is another big factor why most oil manufacturers choose to mix different sources.
For example, olive oil and canola oil are popular choices when it comes to everyday oils. It shares the health benefits of olive oil and the high smoking point of canola.
It’s usually called “canolive” and can be bought from any supermarket. Make sure you check the variety of sources mixed in your vegetable oil the next time you buy a bottle!
Volume is when the quantity of oil needs to be increased to bring down the retail price of a brand while still maintaining the health and frying benefits of the oil.
This is a common practice and mixing oils is a great way to achieve lower retail prices for consumers.
Cost, as mentioned, determines how much a particular brand of vegetable oil will sell. Olive oil costs the most as it is marketed to provide better health benefits than other oils, so manufacturers can demand a higher retail price.
However, in the case of vegetable oil, most people can’t afford to have extra virgin or pomace oil for everyday cooking.
This is why manufacturers will mix together different vegetable oils to achieve better frying characteristics and cost reductions.
Most industries use vegetable oil to fry and prepare their product as having olive oil would prove to be quite expensive as it costs more, burns easily, and needs to be changed after short-term use.
How To Mix Different Oils
So, you have a bit of olive oil and some vegetable oil in your kitchen and you want to mix them to get the health benefits or change the flavor profile of the oil. Can you successfully mix them? The short answer is yes!
However, you would have to check the proportions of both oils so that you can get the most benefits.
Ideally, mixing 1/4 of olive oil with any neutral vegetable oil would be a great starting point and since the density of both oils is more or less the same, you will be able to mix them without separation.
If you find that the oil smokes more or has a different flavor than what you want then you can lessen the quantity of olive oil. Also, mixing canola oil with olive oil is highly recommended as these two oils tend to complement each other.
You can also try mixing canola oil with pomace oil instead of extra virgin oil.
For extra virgin oil, instead of adding 1/4 of a cup, try adding in 2 tablespoons in a cup, mixing it together, and then checking for flavor and smoking point.
We wouldn’t recommend mixing olive oil with a type of vegetable oil that already has some olive oil in it as it would throw the balance off too much and may ruin the flavor of the oil.
Additionally, if you want more health benefits then try drizzling some extra virgin olive oil on your food after it has cooked.
Mixing together vegetable oil and olive oil will bring out the best in each but be careful when it comes to mixing in too much.
The right quantity will always bring out the most flavor and health benefits but the wrong proportions may ruin the oil.
Olive oil comes in many varieties so you can mix and match different types until you find what you are looking for. Start small by mixing in 1 cup and testing each batch before you commit to the full bottle.
Always remember, olive oil is best for seasoning, slow frying, and sauteing food as it easily smokes up and can lose some of its nutrition.
Vegetable oil is best for deep frying, shallow frying, and general all-purpose cooking. This is why knowing the difference between the two will help you gain a better understanding of how to mix them.