Mastering the Art: Tips and Tricks for Steaming with Olive Oil

According to food scientist and host Alton, “You can absolutely steam with olive oil, but there are some important tips to follow for best results.” 

Steaming with olive oil is a delicious possibility !

See, olive oil has a relatively low smoke point compared to other cooking oils. If you’re not careful, it can burn and ruin the flavor of your steamed dishes.

From delicate fish fillets to vibrant veggies, a touch of high-quality extra virgin olive oil can elevate simple steamed foods into something spectacular.

Get it just right though, and your steamed creations will be infused with an incredible savoriness that’ll have you licking your plate clean. It’s a game-changer, I tell ya!

So are you ready to master olive oil steaming? It’s easier than you think but there are some crucial tips to follow.

Keep reading and I’ll let you in on all the tasty secrets !!

Key Takeaways

Steaming with olive oil is not recommended as olive oil has a low smoke point, which means it can break down and become bitter when exposed to high heat. Instead, it’s better to use oils with higher smoke points, such as vegetable or grapeseed oil, for steaming to avoid compromising the flavor and quality of your food.

Limitations of Steaming with Olive Oil

Oil’s Smoke Point vs. Steaming

When considering whether olive oil is suitable for steaming, it’s essential to understand the concept of smoke point. The smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil begins to break down and produce visible smoke. While olive oil is prized for its flavor and health benefits, it may not be the best choice for high-heat cooking methods like steaming due to its relatively low smoke point.

  • Higher smoke point oils: Oils with higher smoke points, such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil, are better suited for steaming at higher temperatures without the risk of burning or imparting off-flavors to the food.(1)
  • Risk of overheating: Steaming requires heating water to produce steam, and the temperature can exceed the smoke point of olive oil, leading to smoke and potential degradation of the oil’s quality.

Alternative Method

To overcome the limitations of using olive oil for steaming, consider an alternative approach that maintains the integrity of both the food and the oil’s flavor:

  • Use water for steaming: Begin by steaming your ingredients using water alone. Water is an excellent conductor of heat and allows for gentle cooking without the risk of overheating the oil.
  • Add olive oil later: Once the food is cooked, drizzle or toss it with olive oil to impart its distinctive flavor and enhance the dish. This method ensures that the olive oil’s flavor remains intact without being subjected to high temperatures during the cooking process.

By using water for steaming and incorporating olive oil afterward, you can enjoy the benefits of both cooking methods while preserving the quality and flavor of the olive oil.

Enhancing Flavor with Olive Oil Post-Steaming

Mastering the Art: Tips and Tricks for Steaming with Olive Oil

When it comes to elevating the flavor of steamed vegetables, drizzling them with extra-virgin olive oil can be a game-changer. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Selecting the right olive oil: Opt for high-quality extra-virgin olive oil to ensure maximum flavor and nutritional benefits.
  • Steaming vegetables: Steam your favorite vegetables until they are tender yet still vibrant in color. This gentle cooking method preserves the vegetables’ natural flavors and nutrients.
  • Drizzling with olive oil: Once the vegetables are steamed, transfer them to a serving dish and drizzle them generously with extra-virgin olive oil. The oil adds richness, depth, and a delightful fruity aroma to the vegetables.
  • Seasoning: Sprinkle the vegetables with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to enhance their flavors further.
  • Tossing to coat: Gently toss the vegetables in the olive oil to ensure that each piece is evenly coated. This step helps distribute the oil and seasoning evenly, ensuring a delicious bite every time.
  • Serving: Serve the drizzled vegetables immediately while they are still warm and flavorful. The combination of steaming and olive oil enhances the vegetables’ natural sweetness and creates a mouthwatering dish that is sure to impress.

Exploring Other Cooking Methods with Olive Oil

Steaming is a healthy cooking method that uses water vapor to gently cook foods. While olive oil is not typically used directly in steaming, it can still play a role in this cooking method. Here are some ways olive oil can be incorporated when steaming:

Preparing Foods for Steaming

  • Coating Vegetables: Lightly coating vegetables with olive oil before steaming can help prevent them from drying out and enhancing their natural flavors.
  • Flavoring Steaming Liquid: Add a splash of olive oil to the steaming liquid (water or broth) to infuse a subtle olive aroma into the steamed dishes.

Serving Steamed Dishes

  • Dressing Steamed Dishes: Drizzle high-quality extra virgin olive oil over steamed vegetables, fish, or grains for a burst of flavor and added healthy fats.
  • Making Olive Oil-Based Sauces: Prepare flavorful sauces like pesto or vinaigrettes with olive oil to accompany steamed entrées. (2)

Benefits of Using Olive Oil with Steamed Foods

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Source : The Yoga Institute

  • Nutritional Value: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds that contribute to a healthy diet.
  • Flavor Enhancement: The distinctive flavor of olive oil can elevate the taste of steamed dishes, particularly when using high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Versatility: Olive oil complements a wide range of steamed foods, from vegetables and seafood to grains and legumes.
Steaming with Olive OilAdvantages
Coating VegetablesPrevents drying out, enhances flavors
Flavoring Steaming LiquidInfuses olive aroma
Dressing Steamed DishesAdds flavor and healthy fats
Making SaucesCreates flavorful accompaniments

While steaming primarily relies on water vapor, incorporating olive oil can add depth of flavor and nutrition to your steamed dishes. Just remember to use it judiciously, as olive oil is calorie-dense, and enjoy the delicious combination of steamed foods and high-quality olive oil.

Benefits of Using Olive Oil as a Finishing Touch

Mastering the Art: Tips and Tricks for Steaming with Olive Oil

While steaming is a gentle cooking method that preserves the natural flavors of foods, it can sometimes leave dishes tasting a bit bland or lacking in depth. This is where the magic of olive oil comes in – a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil can transform even the simplest steamed vegetable into a flavor powerhouse!

  • Infusing Aroma and Taste: Olive oil, especially extra virgin, is bursting with rich, fruity aromas and robust flavors that can instantly uplift steamed dishes.(3)
  • Compensating for Lack of Caramelization: Since steaming doesn’t involve high heat or browning, you miss out on those delicious caramelized flavors. A fruity olive oil can mimic those deep, toasty notes.
  • Enhancing Natural Flavors: The bold flavors of olive oil complement and accentuate the natural tastes of steamed vegetables, rather than overpowering them.
Olive Oil Flavor BoosterBenefits
Infuses Aroma and TasteAdds depth and complexity
Mimics CaramelizationProvides toasty, rich notes
Enhances Natural FlavorsComplements without overpowering

So, don’t let the simplicity of steaming fool you – a high-quality olive oil can be your secret weapon for transforming even the most basic steamed veggie into a flavor sensation. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!


The question of WHETHER YOU CAN STEAM WITH OLIVE OIL is a common one, and the answer might surprise you.

While OLIVE OIL has a lower smoke point compared to other cooking oils, it can still be used for STEAMING – with a few caveats.

Imagine this: you’ve got a beautiful spread of fresh veggies, ready to be STEAMED to perfection.

A drizzle of OLIVE OIL can add a delightful richness and depth of flavor that takes your STEAMED dishes to the next level.

However, it’s important to remember that OLIVE OIL shouldn’t be heated to its smoke point, as this can cause it to burn and impart an unpleasant taste.

So, when STEAMING with OLIVE OIL, use just a light drizzle, and keep an eye on the temperature to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting to explore the world of STEAMING, don’t be afraid to experiment with OLIVE OIL. It can add a delicious touch to your STEAMED dishes, and might just become your new secret weapon in the kitchen.

So, GO AHEAD and give it a try! And if you’ve got any tips or tricks for STEAMING with OLIVE OIL, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.



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