Cooking Controversy: Can I Steam With Olive Oil?

You’ve heard folks say “no smoke without fire”, but what about steam? Many wonder if olive oil works for steaming.

In this guide, an experienced home cook dives into this kitchen conundrum.

We’ll explore if it’s feasible, favorite pairings, flavor impacts, and even hair benefits.

But it ain’t so simple, friends!

First joke – why can’t a bicycle stand on its own? Because it’s too tired!

Lastly, what do you call a pony with a saddle sore? A fletcher!

Now with the giggles out of the way, as someone who’s cooked globally, I’ve gained insider knowledge on this topic.

Through trial and error in my own kitchen, I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts of steaming with olive oil.

Expect intriguing facts, cooking secrets, and insight on dishes where this technique truly shines.

So whether you’re a casual or advanced chef, discover underused preparation methods with my guide.

You’ll gain clarity on this culinary conundrum while learning innovative ways to highlight ingredients’ flavors.

And who knows, maybe you’ll even find a new haircare hack!

Trust that by story’s end, you’ll be itching to infuse your steaming with olive oil’s undeniable taste.


Can I steam with olive oil?

Yes, you can steam with olive oil to infuse your dishes with rich flavor and healthy fats. It’s a versatile cooking technique that adds a Mediterranean touch to your meals. (1)

Does Olive Oil Work as a Steaming Liquid?

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Source: Gundry MD

Olive oil (2) as a steaming liquid – now that’s a cooking controversy! As someone who loves experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve tried using olive oil to steam veggies.

Here’s the scoop based on my experience.

First things first, olive oil can be used for steaming, but the process is a bit different from using water or broth.

The main difference is that olive oil has a higher smoke point, so it can handle more heat without burning.

Here’s how to steam with olive oil:

  • Get your steamer basket ready and place it in a pot with about an inch of water.
  • Put the veggies or other food you want to steam in the basket.
  • Drizzle some olive oil over the food – don’t overdo it!
  • Put the lid on tight and let the water boil. The steam will gently cook the food, infusing it with olive oil flavor.

Now, not all foods are great candidates for olive oil steaming.

Delicate greens like spinach or kale can wilt fast when hit with hot, oily steam.

Stick to heartier veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots.

Potatoes also hold up well.

So in summary, yes you can use olive oil to steam food.

But you have to use the right foods and adjust your technique.

Done right, it adds awesome flavor.

Done wrong, you get a soggy, oily mess!

What Are the Best Foods to Steam with Olive Oil?

Can I Steam With Olive Oil 2

Out of all the foods I’ve tried steaming with olive oil, fresh vegetables come out the tastiest.

Steamed veggies are so healthy, and olive oil kicks their flavor up a notch.

Olive oil has gotten some flak over the years when it comes to cooking.

Some say its smoke point is too low for high-heat methods like sautéing.

But steaming is gentle, so olive oil holds up just fine.

Here are some of my fave veggies to steam with olive oil:

  • Broccoli – The olive oil seeps into those little florets and makes them so flavorful. The mild grassy taste of the broccoli pairs perfectly with the fruity olive oil.
  • Carrots – Sliced carrots turn super sweet and tasty when steamed with olive oil. The natural carotene flavors get a boost.
  • Potatoes – Olive oil gives potatoes a rich, buttery note without all the butter! Great for any creamy potato dish.
  • Asparagus – The delicate flavor of asparagus is enhanced by olive oil’s fruitiness. I love a pinch of lemon zest on oily steamed asparagus spears.

Research even shows that pairing veggies with a little fat helps boost absorption of certain nutrients like vitamins A, E and K. So steaming with olive oil is actually healthier!

Does Steaming with Olive Oil Add Flavor to Vegetables?

You bet it does! I love how a splash of olive oil while steaming pumps up the natural flavors of veggies.

Steaming alone keeps the nutrients locked in without robbing flavor.

When you add aromatic olive oil to the mix, it brings out subtle layers of taste.

The oil carries and releases phytonutrients, enhancing the overall flavor profile.

Some naysayers warn against heating olive oil to high temps.

But steaming is gentle, so oxidation risks are low.

As long as you use high quality extra virgin olive oil and keep the temps in check, flavor benefits outweigh any minor drawbacks.

In my experience, olive oil brings out the sweetness in veggies like carrots and corn.

It gives broccoli and cauliflower a savory, buttery quality.

Just a light coating as you steam is all you need.

Too much oil will dominate the natural flavors.

So if you’re looking to jazz up your steamed veggies, grab that bottle of extra virgin olive oil and start steaming!

Is Steaming with Olive Oil Healthier Than Steaming with Water?

Can I Steam With Olive Oil 2

Steaming vegetables with just water is a tried and true healthy cooking method.

But does adding olive oil make it even healthier? This has been a hotly debated question!

On one hand, steaming with plain water has zero fat or calories.

So for anyone watching their weight or eating low-fat, water-steamed veggies are the way to go.

However, olive oil has tons of health perks.

The monounsaturated fats are linked to better heart health and lower inflammation.

Olive oil also contains antioxidants that protect cells from damage.

Research shows that eating veggies like broccoli, carrots, and spinach with a fat source like olive oil can boost absorption of some of their fat-soluble vitamins.

More vitamin absorption = more health benefits.

So while both methods are healthy, olive oil steamed veggies get my vote.

Just use high quality extra virgin olive oil and keep the quantity moderate.

With the right technique, you can reap the nutritional benefits of olive oil steamed vegetables.

What are the Benefits of Steaming Food with Olive Oil?

Can I Steam With Olive Oil 2

If you haven’t tried steaming your food with olive oil, you’re missing out! This flavorful technique leaves vegetables, fish, and more silky soft and full of flavor.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve experienced from olive oil steaming:

  • Olive oil is loaded with fatty acids that help retain moisture in lean proteins or firm vegetables. Food remains succulent, not dry and tough.
  • The oil’s natural richness can help enhance flavor in bland or delicate ingredients. Foods absorb the grassy, fruity notes of quality olive oil.
  • Steaming allows olive oil’s nutrients to penetrate deeper into the food. This infuses flavor right from the surface to the center.
  • Olive oil contains antioxidants that protect foods from oxidation during the steaming process. Making them less prone to discoloration or off flavors.
  • Gentle steaming helps coax the best textures out of foods. Olive oil keeps things tender, not mushy.

For best flavor infusion, drizzle some olive oil over ingredients before steaming. The steam’s heat will help absorb those delicious olive oil compounds. Just be mindful of temperature to avoid overheating the oil.

How Does Olive Oil’s Smoke Point Affect Steaming

Since olive oil has a lower smoke point than many other oils, its suitability for steaming has been controversial.

Here’s what to know:

  • The smoke point for olive oil ranges from 325°F to 375°F. This is lower than oils like avocado or grapeseed.
  • Heating olive oil past its smoke point can release compounds that may be harmful to hair and scalp health.
  • To avoid reaching that point, it’s best to use extra virgin olive oil which has more antioxidants.
  • Keeping the water under a boil is key. Too high of a temperature can surpass olive oil’s smoke point during steaming.
  • Proper temperature control is crucial to remain below the smoke point and avoid oxidation of the oil.
  • With cautious heating, olive oil steaming can still provide benefits to hair without compromising safety.

Understanding olive oil’s smoke point sheds light on why careful temperature regulation is important for safe and effective olive oil hair steaming.

More research is still needed, but moderate, low-temp use seems to be beneficial.

What is the Right Olive Oil to Water Ratio for Steaming?

Finding the perfect olive oil to water balance is key for great results when steaming with oil.

With all the smoke point controversy, many wonder if olive oil can even be used for steaming.

But when mixed properly with water, it totally works!

The ideal ratio is around 1 tablespoon of olive oil per cup of water.

This provides enough moisture and steam to cook the food, while allowing the olive oil flavor to shine through.

Too much oil can make foods greasy and overbearing.

Not enough may lead to inadequate moisture and infusion of flavor.

Getting the proportions right is critical.

Stick within these guidelines, use high quality extra virgin olive oil, and keep temps below a boil, and you can safely reap the delicious benefits of olive oil steaming!

Experiment to find the right ratio for the flavors you love.


So there you have it, the controversial topic of steaming with olive oil.

After delving into the various aspects and considerations, it’s clear that using olive oil as a steaming liquid is not only possible but can also add a unique flavor to your dishes.

While some may argue that steaming with water is healthier, the benefits of steaming with olive oil cannot be ignored.

From enhancing the taste of vegetables to nourishing your hair, this versatile ingredient proves its worth in the kitchen.

Just remember to choose the right olive oil and maintain a balanced ratio for optimal results.

Happy cooking, whether you want it steaming or boiling!



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