Why Does The Oil In My Pan Burn?

If you put the pan oil on the stove at high flame for too long, it certainly burns the cooking oil in the pan. 

It not only burns the oil but also sets it on fire. As you know cooking oil is flammable. 

Cooking oil in the pan catches fire when the temperature reaches its ignition point.

Have you ever noticed that if you leave pan oil on the stove for too long, it starts to smoke?

By heating their pan on high heat, some chefs attempt to reduce prep time.

This could result in the burning of your food and oil and the need to scrub residue from your pots and pans because stainless steel retains heat extraordinarily well.

This is because the pan oil burns up when the temperature goes over its smoking point.  

why Oil Burning In The Pan?

Pan oil burns when the temperature of the stove reaches its smoking point. Pan oil can easily catch fire within seconds at high temperatures. 

The smoke rises from pan oil when it starts burning. Burning of pan oil results in the formation of residues. 

Oil burns by the combustion process. Combustion is an oxidation process.  Burning of oil or fat always produces residues. 

Process Of Oil Burning In The Pan:
The Pan Handler

At high temperatures, oil and fats break down into smaller molecules like triglycerides. These triglycerides convert into small fatty acids. 

These fatty acids polymerize resulting in the formation of resin. These resins stick to the surface of a cooking pan and leave spots on the pan.

Also Read: Can You Boil Water In A Non-Stick Pan?

Is it good to use burnt pan oil?

No, it’s not good to reuse burnt pan oil because it has many dangerous chemicals.

These are not only health damaging but also affect the pan.

  • During the Burning of a pan, oil releases many gases and fumes that contain acrolein. Acrolein binds with DNA and protein in the human body resulting in the formation of cancer cells. 
  • Burning of pan oil also releases free radicals. These Free Radicals cause many diseases like flu, headache, obesity, and diabetes. 
  • Free radicals cause inflammation in the body including immunity weakness.
  • A person that has a high amount of free radicals can easily infected by diseases.
Is it good to use burnt pan oil?
The New York Times

Also Read: Why Metals Are Used For Saucepans?

Smoking Points And Thermal Breakdown Of Pan Oil:

Well, we know that vegetable oil is made from different ingredients. When the temperature under the pan reaches the smoke point, it breaks into several substances. 

These substances start burning at high temperatures along with oil. Due to this CO2 and other gases are emitted which we see as smoke. 

The smoke and other particles start flying around due to this burning. This goes to your kitchen. 

This smoke and particles have a crucial role in your greasy and sticky kitchen vents.

Each type of vegetable oil has its own smoke point. Every oil will start burning when the temperature reaches its smoking point.

Vegetable oilsSmoke points
Mustard Oil250°C480°F
Canola Oil205°C401°F
Castor Oil200°C392°F
Soybean oil234°C453°F

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Why Does My Pan Bow Up In The Middle?

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Role Of Pan’s Material In Oil Burning: 

Heat is definitely the main criminal in the burning of pan oil. But pans materials can also play a role in the burning of pan oil. 

Because some pans have the ability to bear heat. They transfer heat slowly therefore oil never gets heated easily.

Aluminum Pans: 

Undoubtedly, Aluminum pans have many advantages including fast cooking.

Oil in the aluminum pan can heat up quickly in a few minutes. Due to this oil can easily burn in the aluminum pan if left on the running stove for too long.

Aluminum pans are safe for frying oil at 200°C to 250°C (392°F to 482°F).

Stainless Steel Pans:

Stainless steel has a high ability to bear heat. But If you keep it at a higher temperature for too long, it can also be affected. 

Oil doesn’t burn easily in stainless steel pans. In contrast to its heat-bearing capacity, oil can also burn in stainless steel pans due to high temperatures.

Role Of Pan’s Material In Oil Burning: 
Apartment Therapy

Cast Iron Pans:

Of course, cast iron pans are considered the best option for frying oil at high temperatures.  Because they don’t transfer the temperature as quickly as the other pans do. 

Also Read: Can I Make My Own Caramel In A Non-Stick Pan?

At What Temperature Does Pan Oil Catch Fire?

Always remain in this kitchen if you are cooking something on the stove, especially for frying. Because cooking oil is flammable. 

It can easily catch fire within 30 seconds at high temperatures. If pan oil leaves unattended it can catch fire at  400-500℃.

At What Temperature Does Pan Oil Catch Fire?

Always try that the stove’s temperature never exceeds 350 degrees because it is safe to cook at that temperature. 

Use low to medium heat to fry oil in the pan. A pan with a heavy button can also be helpful in frying pan oil.

Also Read: Can You Eat Pan-Fried Food Daily?

How To Avoid Burn Cooking Oil In A Pan?

You can follow the following steps to avoid oil burning in the pan:

  • Always use low to medium heat for frying. Try to keep the temperature of the pan oil at 350-375°F.
  • Use a high-standard pan for frying oil. 
  • Use fixed oil of high smoking point in the pan like soybean oil and mustard oil.
  • Try to cook at a low temperature.

Effects Of Burnt Oil On The Pan:

High temperature not only burns the oil but equally affects the protective layer of the pan. 

The high temperature of the stove creates a sticky and greasy black mess on the pot. Burnt cooking oil leaves a heavy black layer of mess on the pot. 

How To Not Burn Cooking Oil In A Pan?

In contrast to clean pans, burnt pans don’t conduct heat efficiently. If burnt oil catches fire, it can badly affect the pan and the stove.

Also Read:

Are Frying Pans Made Of Bakelite?

What’s The Verdict On High Heat And Nonstick Pans?


Cooking oil is flammable, It can ignite when the stove’s temperature reaches its smoking point. 

It catches fire within seconds at high temperatures. Consequently, many gases are released into the environment including CO2, and acrolein. 

You can avoid pan oil burning by taking precautionary measures. Always off the stove, when you are not in the kitchen. Your little mistake can cause a major disaster.


Is it good to use burnt oil?

Reusing burnt pan oil is not safe for health. Because it has many dangerous chemicals and fumes including acrolein. 

Acrolein is a carcinogenic chemical that binds with DNA and protein. In addition to all these hazards, it also contains free radicals that can cause inflammation in the body.

Why does olive oil burn my pan?

Olive oil needs great attention during frying. Because it has a low smoking point and can easily catch fire. It not only catches fire but also burns the pan.

Can you cook with burnt oil on the pan?

You can cook, but it results in extensive damage to your pan. High temperatures not only burn the oil but also badly affect the pan. 

Toxic chemicals can transfer to food and cause health issues. Due to all these side effects, we should not cook in burnt oil.

What type of reaction is burning pan oil?

Burning of oil is a combustion process. Combustion is a type of oxidation process. This occurs in the presence of oxygen.

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