What Kind of Olive Oil Should You Buy?

Kitchen Knowledge Lifestyle | Published January 3, 2023 by Mimi Council

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If you are getting into healthy eating mode right now, then you may be stocking up on olive oil for stir frys, veggies, and even baking! But you may be wondering, what kind of olive oil should you buy?

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Different Types of Olive Oil

The olive oil shelf at the grocery store can be confusing. There’s extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, and pure olive oil. What is the difference? And what kind of olive oil should you buy?

What even is olive oil? Let’s start there. Olive oil is a liquid fat that is made by pressing whole olives and extracting their oils. It’s bottled and it can be used in all kinds of cooking and baking. Olive oil can be used for everything from roasting veggies, using in salad dressing, drizzling over pasta, or even using in cookies (like my Olive Oil Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies!).

So let’s dive into the different kinds of olive oil and what makes them different. This way, you can feel confident when you hit the grocery store. And you won’t be wondering what kind of olive oil should I buy? Instead, you’ll be confident in your choice which will make shopping faster and you’ll be home cooking before you know it.

olive oil honey chocolate chip cookies

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil, or otherwise known to most as EVOO, is the highest quality olive oil that you can buy. This is because it is the least processed of all kinds and it is made using natural extraction methods. There are strict standards in place for the that pretty glass bottle to receive the label of Extra Verigin Olive Oil. And because it is minimally processed, it retains more nutrients from the olives like antioxidants and vitamins.

And because of its minimal processing, it also retains a truer flavor and aroma. Making it the most flavorful olive oil. This makes it the top choice among chefs as well. Therefore, making this the healthiest and most flavorful type of olive oil you can buy.

olive tree

Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin Olive Oil, or otherwise known as VOO, is also an unrefined form of olive oil. Compared to extra virgin olive oil, this one has a mild flavor. This makes it a great option if you don’t want to taste the flavor of olive oil in your recipe.

Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil has been processed, or refined, you could say. There are five types of processes for refining olive oil. Manufactures can use one or multiple processes. These techniques can include heating the oil to remove color, taste, and aromas among other things.

Refined olive oil has virtually no smell and no flavor, which is why it can be used in anything without affecting taste. If a recipe calls for a canola oil or vegetable oil and you don’t have it, using a refined olive oil in its place would work.

Pure Olive Oil

Now, based off the name, you might think that pure olive oil is the best and more pure kind. But really it’s not! Pure olive oil is a blend of either extra virgin or virgin olive oil with refined olive oil. It should really be called blended olive oil!

In order to be considered a pure olive oil, it must contain at least 10% virgin olive oil. Pure olive oil has a higher smoke point and a very neutral flavor, making it common for cooking all kinds of things.

woman in kitchen holding olive oil bottle


Can I use one kind of olive oil in place of another in recipes?

Yes, for the most part, you can use one type of oil for another in recipes. It’s a matter of health benefits and flavor that you’ll be changing when you change the type of olive oil that a recipe calls for.

How long will olive oil last?

Olive oil should be used within 6 months of opening.

Can you tell if olive oil has gone bad?

Olive oil will taste bitter and sour if it has gone bad. If you’re unsure how long your olive oil has been in your pantry, taste a small amount before using it in recipes. You shouldn’t get sick from a tiny taste, and this way, you can avoid wasting more ingredients if you cook with it and then realize it tastes bad!

The Takeaway

So, what kind of olive oil should you buy? That’s up to you now that you know the differences. But I only buy extra virgin olive oil as it’s the best. Some of my favorites for everyday use are La Tourangelle Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Carapelli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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