Yesterday, I was making the crispy in that hot, boggling oil when a question hit me hard. Does oil evaporate like water when you heat it?
Oil usually does not evaporate like water. However, it may eventually evaporate due to high temperature and dry air. In addition, if you keep the heating oil wait long enough for the ingredients, it may evaporate. However, the evaporation process will be slower with a low temperature and dry air.
Still not satisfied? Relax; we are not done yet! Let’s continue exploring the details of this topic to make sure you are as hydrated for knowledge as possible.
Does Oil Evaporate?
Oil is an essential ingredient for cooking almost anything. Crisp, fries, pizza, or pasta – you need oil. When you put oil into the pan, the bubble and steam can raise the question of whether oil evaporates like water.
Well, technically, no! Oil does not evaporate like water on the stove.
It is a misconception that oil will turn into vapor and escape a liquid state as it gets hotter. While it is true that some types of oil will vaporize at high temperatures, most oils will not evaporate under normal conditions. It is because the molecules in oil are much too large to escape into the atmosphere as gas molecules.
Instead, the oil will only evaporate if exposed to extremely high temperatures or mixed with a solvent that can help break down the oil molecules.
The oil will become thicker and denser as it reaches over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Since heat breaks down molecules into smaller pieces, making the oil less able to flow. At these high temperatures, the oil solidifies into a thick layer on the surface of the liquid.
Why Does Oil Evaporate?
Cooking oil is a hydrocarbon, which is made of hydrogen and carbon. When you heat cooking oil, the molecules begin to move faster. It causes the bonds between the atoms to break and the molecules to become less stable.
As the molecules become less stable, they escape from the surface of the oil in the form of vapor. The vapor then condenses to form tiny oil droplets floating in the air.
How Quickly Does Cooking Oil Evaporate?
The rate at which cooking oil evaporates depends on several factors, including the type of oil, the temperature and the amount of surface area exposed to the air.
The two types of oil that are often found in your home are named volatile and fixed.
Volatile oils like olive or coconut possess a low degree of pressure which means they can easily evaporate when exposed to heat, while Fixed Oils cannot withstand such treatment.
Hence, they remain an integral component for many different purposes, including cooking smells.
Where Does Oil Go When Cooking?
Cooking is all about the balance between evaporation and food burning. As mentioned earlier, instead of evaporating, when you cook food at high temperatures in an oven or on the stovetop, for instance-it “cooks off.”
When cooking with olive oil, the right consistency is key. The wrong kind can lead to bad flavor and an unpleasant meal; however, too much gloss could ruin everything.
However, just like water, oil is a liquid at room temperature. But unlike water, oil is not attracted to other molecules of water. So oil and water don’t mix at all. It is because the molecules that make up the oil are much longer than those that makeup water. So when you pour oil into a pot of water, the oil molecules float on top.
Why does this happen? It has to do with “hydrophobic” and “hydrophilic.” Hydrophobic means “water-fearing.”
So the long oil molecules are hydrophobic because they don’t like interacting with water molecules. Hydrophilic means “water-loving.” So the short water molecules are hydrophilic because they interact with other water molecules.
If you’ve seen an oil and vinegar salad dressing, you know that oil and vinegar don’t mix either.
Vinegar is made up of molecules of water and acetic acid. The acetic acid molecules are hydrophilic and mix with the water molecules. But the oil molecules are still hydrophobic, so they don’t mix with the vinegar.
How To Determine The Smoke Point Of Cooking Oils Based on Its Smoke Point?
Smoke Points! What’s that?
Smoke point is an important indicator for knowing when your cooking fat will begin burning off, giving you more control over how saucy or crispy food gets on the outside while staying tender inside.
The smoke point of cooking oil is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down and emit smoke. This breakdown can cause the oil to lose its flavor and aroma and create harmful free radicals.
It’s hard to estimate the right temperature for smoking. The heating element in your home is not always on, so when it’s cold outside, and you turn the thermostat down to save energy costs, expect some smoke.
The oil meniscus will drop below 38 degrees F (3 C), causing all three smoking possibilities:
- With no delay, the timer is set for more than 24 hours
- With a setting between one day and seven days
- Or within two weeks if none at all are scheduled.
There are three different types of smoking points:
1) The first is called the flash point. That is the temperature at which the oil ignites and burns for a short period.
2) The second is called the fire point. The temperature at which the oil ignites and continues to burn.
3) The third is called the auto-ignition temperature. It is the temperature at which the oil ignites without any external heat source.
Different oils have different smoke points, so it’s important to choose an oil with a smoke point that’s appropriate for your cooking method.
For example, oils with high smoke points are better suited for high-heat cooking methods like frying, while oils with lower smoke points are better for low-heat methods like sautéing.
The smoke point of an oil depends on many factors, including the type of oil and quality. The following is a list of some common cooking oils and their smoke points.
|Popular Oil/Fat||Quality||Smoke Point in °F||Smoke Point in °C||What is it good for|
|Olive Oil||Extra Virgin||410 °F||210||Marinades, Sauteing, Baking|
|Butter||Clarified||482 °F||250°C||Perfect for sautéing, frying, and baking.|
|Coconut Oil||Dry, Refined||400°F||204°C||frying and stir-frying.|
|Canola oil||Refined||400°F||204 °C||frying, baking, and stir-frying.|
|Peanut oil||Refined||450°F||232 °C||frying and stir-frying.|
|Safflower oil||Refined||510°F||266°C||Deep-frying, saute, pan fry, baking, grilling|
|Sesame oil||Unrefined||350°F||177°C||sautéing, frying, and baking.|
|Vegetable oil||400°F||232°C||Frying, roasting, grilling, searing baking, and stir-frying.|
|Avocado Oil||Refined||520°F||271°C||Perfect for frying and stir-frying.|
|Soybean Oil||450°F||232°C||Frying, searing, pan fry, baking, grilling, roasting|
|Rice Bran Oil||Refined||450°F||254°C|
|Corn Oil||Unrefined||450°F||178°C||Perfect for frying and stir-frying.|
Read our another comprehensive article of: Can Canola Oil Work Well for Pizza Doughs?
How To Choose The Best Cooking Oil for Your Needs
With so many different types of cooking oil available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose.
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a cooking oil.
1. The type of oil
Different oils have different flavor profiles, so choose an oil that will complement the flavors of your dish.
For example, peanut oil is more agrreable for chicken wings for their added alluring flavor, whereas extra-virgin olive oil is crucial for pizza.
2. The smoke point
As mentioned above, the smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down and emit smoke. Choose an oil with a smoke point that’s appropriate for your cooking method.
3. The quality of the oil
Not all oils are created equal. To get the most bang for your buck, choose an oil that’s high quality and has been cold-pressed.
4. Stability of cooking oils
Some oils are more stable than others, meaning they’re less likely to go rancid. When stored properly, these oils can last for months or even years.
Some of the most stable cooking oils include olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil. These oils are also some of the most flavorful, so they’ll add a delicious depth of flavor to your dishes.
On the other hand, some oils are less stable and have a shorter shelf life. These include nut and seed oils, which can go rancid more quickly. If you choose to use these oils, be sure to store them in a cool, dark place and use them within a few months.
The Connection Between Oil Evaporation And Cookwares
Do you know cookware materials and their thermal properties may effect the action of your oil. However, materials and thermal properties vary depending on the region where they are made. For example, the oil evaporates more quickly in a hot climate than in a cold one.
You may ask what kind of material is suitable for cooking with oil?
Well, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, copper, brass, and other heavy metals are perfectly suitable for oil. These substances resist corroding and emit a low-radiation heat when heated.
However, the best cookware material for cooking with oil is stainless steel. Stainless steel has a high thermal conductivity, which heats up quickly and evenly. That is important when you’re cooking with oil because you want to avoid hot spots that can cause the oil to smoke or even catch fire. Stainless steel is also non-reactive, so it won’t absorb any flavors or aromas from the oil.
If you’re looking for a good quality stainless steel cookware set, try Calphalon Pots and Pans Set. Trust me; you’ll love them.
Aluminum is another good option for cooking with oil. It has a slightly lower thermal conductivity than stainless steel but is still good at evenly distributing heat. Aluminum is also non-reactive, so it won’t affect the flavor of the oil.
- Does oil evaporate eventually?
The evaporation rate of volatile oils is much quicker than that of fixed ones. They will eventually disappear after a few days or weeks, but the opposite cannot be said for those storing their oil in containers with secure lids.
- Does oil evaporate slowly?
Yes, oil can evaporate slowly. As mentioned earlier, oil does not mix well with water.
- Does oil evaporate at room temperature?
Volatile oils will evaporate at room temperature, but it will take longer than if the oil was heated. Fixed oils will not evaporate at room temperature.
Conclusion: Does Oil Evaporate?
Unfortunately, oil doesn’t evaporate. The most popular cooking oils are blends of two or more different types, so they don’t generally evaporate while preparing your meal. So, there is no evaporation during the cooking process. We’ve learnt that only the volatile oils can evaporate, whereas the rest of the oils are unable to do so.
Light oils like vegetable oil have a higher evaporation rate than heavy oils like olive oil. Heating the oil also increases the rate of evaporation. If you use a pan with a large surface area, such as a frying pan, the oil will evaporate more quickly than if you use a smaller pot.