Grilling With Olive Oil: The Definitive Guide

grill grates full of meat and vegetables

I’m a big fan of grilling, especially when hanging out with my friends. And one component I can’t grill without is extra virgin olive oil. Since I’ve seen many people asking questions about whether olive oil is good for grilling or not, I decided to write you a thorough guide on grilling with olive oil. I’ll show you all the little tips and tricks I know and answer many FAQs.

As I already told you, I’m a big fan of grilling, but I prefer simple and easy methods, so everything in this guide will be as simple as possible, even for complete newbies.

Can You Use Olive Oil For Grilling?

Before we dive into actual tips and tricks, I want to answer the most common question people ask: can you use olive oil for grilling?

Yes, you can use olive oil for grilling. It’ll add Mediterranean flavors to the food that everyone will enjoy. The best way to use olive oil when grilling is for marinating meat, fish, and vegetables, and also to oil food when it’s cooked.

However, it’s important to always use high-quality extra virgin olive oil, that way, you’ll get the best taste. I recently bought this Iliada Extra Virgin First Cold-Pressed Olive Oil (check the price on Amazon now), and I can tell you that it has fantastic taste and is so delicious.

iliada extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressed,
Iliada Extra Virgin First Cold-Pressed Olive Oil

There’s only one thing I don’t like to use olive oil for, oiling the grates on the grill. Even though heating olive oil isn’t unhealthy as some people think, there are other types of oil that have higher smoking points than extra virgin olive oil. Here’s the quick guide on oiling the grill grates. However, if you prefer grilling at medium temperatures, then you can use extra virgin olive oil for oiling the grill grates.

Grilling With Olive Oil: Tips and Tricks

Finally, let’s see how I like to use olive oil when grilling. Important to mention, I only use high-quality extra virgin olive oils, so keep that in mind! Also, even if you don’t like the taste of olive oil, it’s good to use it because of its health benefits. Here’s a quick guide on neutralizing the olive oil taste.

When grilling, I use extra virgin olive oil for these things:

  • Marinating the food
  • Oiling the food after it’s cooked
  • Grilling the bread

Marinating Food With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Adding extra virgin olive oil to your marinade is one of the best things you can do to add fantastic Mediterranean-like flavors to it. I generally like to use two tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg (2.2lb) of meat or vegetables. When it comes to grilling fish, I do it a little bit differently (which I’ll show you below).

Marinating Meat With Olive Oil:

  • Olive oil is fantastic for marinating chicken breasts, drumsticks, turkey breasts, pork neck, pork chops, beef stakes, ramp steaks, veal stakes, and all other types of meat actually.
  • Not only will olive oil add some additional spices, but it will also help with the heat transfer, meaning that the meat will cook more equally.
  • When marinating the meat, I always add 2 tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg (2.2lb) of meat, and then I add other spices.
  • After I mix everything, I always let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours before grilling

Marinating Vegetables With Olive Oil:

  • I prefer using olive oil to marinate paprika, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and potatoes. It’s just fantastic addition that’ll give them an incredible taste.
  • When marinating vegetables, I usually add 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil per 1kg (2.2lb) of vegetables and then add the spices that I want. It mostly depends if the people I grill with like olive oil or not.
  • I always marinate vegetables just a few minutes before grilling. Vegetables don’t need to rest in the refrigerator (at least, I don’t do that).

Marinating Fish With Olive Oil:

  • Olive oil is fantastic when grilling sea bream, bass, salmon, tuna steaks, trout, etc. However, marinating is a little bit different when I grill fish.
  • Before grilling, I just lightly brush the fish with olive oil and add some salt and black peppercorns
  • While grilling, I put a few ounces of olive oil into a bowl and use a rosemary branch as a brush, and the whole time while the fish is grilling, I’m oiling it with olive oil

Before we continue, I want to mention one product that I can’t live without, and it’s Vegeta (check the price on Amazon now). It originates from my country, Croatia, and the brand is Podravka. In my opinion, it’s the best seasoning mix in the world, especially when you’re in a rush and don’t have the time to add plenty of different spices to your food.

season mix vegeta, vegeta by podravka,
Vegeta by Podravka

I prefer using Vegeta for grilling chicken breast, drumsticks, turkey breasts, pork neck, pork chops, and especially potatoes. If I’m not adding any other spices, I add 1.5% of Vegeta of the total weight of the meat (15gr per 1kg of meat). I’m sure that once you try it, you’ll continue buying it for the rest of your life.

Oiling The Food After It’s Cooked

When I grill fish and vegetables, oiling them after they’re cooked is a must. I always add additional olive oil before serving them to my friends.

Oiling Vegetables: when they’re cooked, I just pour a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over them. That way, they’ll have fantastic taste. It’s especially important for grilled paprika, zucchini, and eggplant.

Oiling Sea Fish: if you don’t pour some olive oil on the sea fish after it’s grilled, it won’t be so delicious. I always add a bit of olive oil to cooked fish. Here’s how to do it: Mix olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley into one bowl, and when the fish is cooked, apply the mix to the fish. That way, you’ll get the best taste possible.

Grilling Bread With Olive Oil

I don’t know how many people use this method, but in my opinion, grilled bread is 10x better than fresh bread. Whenever I grill any kind of food, I always grill some bread. It’s crispy, delicious, and goes well with grilled food.

To make it even better, I always oil the bread with extra virgin olive oil. You don’t need to use a lot; one teaspoon of olive oil per slice of bread is more than enough. Then, you can add some salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.

My family adores that, and I’m sure you’ll like it once you try that.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it safe to grill with olive oil?

    Grilling with olive oil is completely safe. However, if you add up too much olive oil, it can cause a few flames here and there.

  • Does olive oil burn on the grill?

    If the grill temperature is too high, olive oil may reach its smoking point and start to burn. That’s why I don’t recommend oiling the grates with olive oil. Use olive oil for marinating and oiling the food on the grill.

  • Should I use olive oil for grilling chicken?

    Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most important ingredients I use when grilling chicken. So, go and use it for marinating the chicken a few hours before grilling.

  • Should I put olive oil on my steak before grilling?

    Some people like to put olive oil on steaks before grilling, while others put olive oil on grilled steaks. Either way is good, it just depends on your preferences. Personally, I like to oil the grilled steak.

  • Can you use olive oil to marinate?

    Olive oil can and should be used to marinate all kinds of food: fish, meat, and vegetables. I even put it on the bread and then grill it.

  • How long can chicken marinate in olive oil?

    I suggest you marinate the chicken and all other types of meat for around 4-12 hours before grilling. However, anything up to 2 days should be fine if kept in the refrigerator.

Wrap Up

As you could see above, grilling with olive oil is preferable, especially for people who like that Mediterranean-like taste of food. Olive oil is a versatile foodstuff that can be used for so many purposes, especially when we talk about cooking and grilling.