1

Making ordinary fried eggs, I heat up the (soy bean) vegetable oil. I usually use the smoke as an indicator of being in enough temperature to pour the eggs in.

I heard that in olive oil, bad chemicals emerges when the oil reaches smoke point. I wondered if this is the case with vegetable oil? Should I strife for borderline of hot enough oil that is not smoking?

3

Considering that you're using Soybean Oil - which has a smoke point of 450°F, you might be using far too much heat for your eggs. Even if you were making an omelette, which typical recipes demand a higher temperature of ~ 400°F - you'd still be far too high if you're smoking soybean oil. In any case, I would recommend frying between 350°F and 390°F.

As for you hearing that in olive oil, bad chemicals emerge when the oil reaches the smoke point - this is true of any oil. Heating any oil or fat past its smoke point causes rapid oxidation (peroxidation) and more-or-less mimics the effects of rancidity. Think about whether you want to be cooking using burnt, rancid oil. At that, you shouldn't be using olive oil (which has a lower smoke point than most fats) for high-heat cooking. As for the bad chemicals, any oil or fat that is taken past its smoke point will oxidize, and as a result, different chemical reactions will occur which may or may not release/create carcinogens. This is a topic that you should explore more with your dietician/physician than on this board.

Ideally, you should monitor your oil temperature - either visually by looking for a slight shimmer/sheen, or physically by using a cooking thermometer or a wooden spoon (look for air bubbles).

  • You can also test the temperature by holding your hand over the pan. Over time you get a feel for the desired temperature. Watch out for splatters though, if you're using a lot of oil (don't). – Preston Sep 18 '14 at 4:06
  • While I've also used that method, I wouldn't advise someone to use that method due to risk of harm vs watching for shimmer. – jsanc623 Sep 18 '14 at 14:38

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