The Best Olive Oil

Best Coconut Oil

With so many frauds out there (olive oil forgery is a lot bigger industry than you might think), it is important to pick out the true extra virgin olive oil. Unlike with coconut oil, there can be a lot of variety within olive oil. Taste often depends on the type of olives used and the location in which it was grown; therefore, this list is largely a reflection of my own personal tastes and I encourage everyone reading to be sure to sample olive oils grown in different locales.



Best Olive Oils

Nutrient Content (per 1 tablespoon)
Brand and Price
California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Corto Extra Virgin Olive Oil From California

Partanna Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Roland Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Iliada Organic Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil

CommentsAn olive oil that is able to hold its own when compared to imported varieties; it is the best all-around pick for those willing to pay a little more. The taste is almost as good as that of California Olive Ranch and is quite a bit cheapers. For those unwilling to spend the money on the latter, Corto is a near-perfect substitution.This olive oil performs best when used for dipping and drizzling and is cheapest when buying in bulk. This is the product for olive oil enthusiasts who use it all the time, enjoy a strong taste, and are willing to buy large quantities.The cheapest option on the list and the best olive oil for everyday cooking. Its low price allows consumers to use large quantities of it without breaking their budget. Like the Partanna, this product only comes in large quantities and those who know olive oil will take issue with the plastic container. This Greek olive oil is certified PDO and is probably the best-tasting olive oil on this list. However, its price and the fact that I could not find any information on the authenticity of its extra virgin claims put it into the final slot.
Calories120120120125120
Calories from fat120120120125120
Total fat14g14g14g14g14g
Saturated fat2g2g2g2g2g
Trans fat0g0g0g0g0g
Polyunsaturated fat1.5g2g2g0g2g
Monounsaturated fat10g10g10g10g10g

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Testing Process and Criteria

I tested the olive oils much like I tested the coconut oils which you can check out here, replacing my usual cooking agents with a different brand of olive oil. The major difference is that I did not test out their capabilities outside of the kitchen. I know that some people use olive oil as a moisturizer and hair product, but I have tried it and it makes me break out and causes my hair to look disgusting.

Top Tips for Buying Olive Oil

  • 1. Know your lingo: “virgin” olive oil refers to oil that comes from the olive only and that is extracted by physical or mechanical means in conditions that do not alter the oil. “Refined” olive oil comes from low quality and/or defective virgin olive oil that is put through chemical and physical filters. The term “olive oil” when used alone, refers to a mix of refined and virgin oils. Lastly, “pomace” is the pits and ground flesh that are left after extraction. Pomace olive oils are created by treating the pomace with solvents or other physical treatments.
  • 2. However, do not trust the label. I cannot emphasize this enough. An incredibly large number of olive oil products proclaiming to be “extra virgin” have failed scientific testing. In fact, independent testing at the University of California found that 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oil were fakes. Brands that did not meet extra virgin olive oil standards include Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Messetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, Star, and Whole Food. Know that there are no regulations in the United States that set certification standards for what constitutes “extra virgin” olive oil. Brands that passed their testing include Corto Olive, California Olive Ranch, Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), McEvoy Ranch Organic, and Pompeian. (For more information on the results of this testing, check out this link, as it will take you to the PDF research report.)
  • 3. Look for certification from the North American Olive Oil Association and the International Olive Council.
  • 4. Only select products that have a production date on them. Olive oil is not wine—it does not age well. You should also take care to only buy enough oil to last you a short period of time. Olive oil is not something you want to buy in economy-sizes.
  • 5. Only buy dark glass bottles of olive oil, as it is very sensitive to heat and light.
  • 6. Recent testing has shown that olive oils from California are less likely to be fakes than those that come from Italy. Also note that when the label says “packed in” or “bottled in” it only means that the olive oil was packaged in that particular country, not that it was grown and made there.
  • 7. “Light” on the label does not mean low-cal or low-fat or that it is in any way a diet product. It simply refers to the color of the oil.
  • 8. Be cautious of extra virgin olive oils that are too cheap. Quality takes time and money to produce, and that passes on to you, the consumer.
  • 9. Studies have shown that the best olive oils come from domestic sources. In other words, when in Italy, the best olive oil will be Italian. When in the United States, particularly California, the best olive oil will hail from there. And so it goes for Spanish, Australian, and New Zealand olive oils.

For those interested, olive oil forgeries are often olive oils that made in Spain and North Africa that have been shipped to Italy, where they are cut with beta carotene and soybean oil and then falsely labeled and shipped.

1. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

California Olive Ranch’s olive oil has been hailed as the best olive oil by many

California Olive Ranch’s olive oil products come in several varieties, including everyday, mild and buttery, and robust—all of which I tried—as well as several other types that I did not. All three were delicious, but my favorite was the Robust variety, because of its peppery taste (I like spicy food). However, because the Everyday type seems to be the most popular, that is what I will review.

The Good                                 

  1. Has a mild, fresh taste
  2. Olives are cold-pressed hours after they have been picked for the maximum freshest taste.
  3. Passes standards for extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Made domestically
  5. Has a fruity scent with a hint of nuttiness.
  6. Is comparable to Italian varieties, performing just as well in taste tests as imported brands.
  7. Reasonably priced

The Bad

  • There really is nothing bad to say about this olive oil. Personally, I prefer a little more kick, but I’m also from Cajun country and was raised on hot sauce.

The Bottom Line

California Olive Ranch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Everyday variety lives up to its name—it is truly great for everyday use, from cooking to use in dressings. Additionally, it is affordable enough to use everyday. When compared to other brands, this was the best all-around product for taste, consistency, quality, and price.


 

2. Corto Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Corto makes an affordable, mild olive oil that is perfect for everyday use

Corto uses Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki olive varieties and is grown, harvested, and produced in Lodi, Central Valley, California. During my testing, I used all of the olive oils to make marinades, changing only the brand of olive oil (the other ingredients remained the same), and this one made the best marinade, though I did not find it enjoyable for dipping.

The Good

  1. Domestically grown in California
  2. Unfiltered
  3. Kosher
  4. Has been certified as extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council
  5. Is a mild oil with a fruity taste and a delicate and fresh smell reminiscent of grass and tomatoes with hints of a floral aroma.

The Bad

  • I could find no information on whether or not it is organic or non-GMO, but other than that, there is nothing negative about this oil.

The Bottom Line

Corto makes an affordable, mild olive oil that is perfect for everyday use. While it is very comparable to the of California Olive Ranch, I found Corto’s product to have just a little less taste, which is why it is in the second slot. However, it is quite a bit cheaper than California Olive Ranch’s product, which may be enough for some people to overlook the difference in taste.


 

3. Partanna Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Partanna’s olive oil made is in Italy

If you like to drizzle your olive oil on salads and other types of food, such as fish, then this is your olive oil. It was one of the first olive oils that I tested and when its week was up, I was actually sad because I had to switch to another variety. (However, now that testing is over, you can bet that I am putting Partanna EVOO on everything.) This is a single-variety olive oil, made from Nocellara del Belice olives that is rich and robust and incredibly delicious.

The Good

  • This olive oil has the strong flavor that I love, known as “pizzicante,” which is an Italian phrase describing a strong taste that grips the back of your throat. It mellows slightly as it ages, but the taste remains markedly strong even though it diminishes.
  • Has a pleasant, herbal aroma
  • Unfiltered and cold-pressed
  • Product of Sicily
  • If you are willing to buy in bulk, you can get a really good price for it on Amazon.

The Bad

  • If you want to take a look at their website, I hope you know Italian because Google does not seem to know how to translate their webpages.
  • I was not able to find any information on whether or not it has passed testing for extra virgin standards. It has a lot of the qualities of true EVOO, but I do not want to make assumptions.
  • The smaller quantities of Partanna cost nearly double the amount of the larger quantities, ounce-for-ounce.

The Bottom Line

For my personal tastes, this Partana EVOO definitely tasted the best out of all that I have tried. Because I use it so frequently, I did not mind buying the larger container, but those who rarely use olive oil or who do not enjoy using it for dressing or dipping may find that the larger amount is too much. However, those who are willing to buy in bulk and who like the peppery taste will be able to score a great deal.

 


 

4. Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kirkland’s Olive Oil offer a reasonably priced solution to those on a budget

Kirkland was the only imported olive oil that passed UC Davis’s testing, so I was quite excited to try this particular product. Costco shoppers may recognize this brand, as it is available for purchase there. Additionally, this particular olive oil has received a lot of positive attention from big names in the olive oil industry, including Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

The Good

  • The price is almost unbelievable. In fact, it is quite easy to see why there are so many people who are skeptical about this oil’s authenticity.
  • This is a great everyday olive oil that is also suitable for dipping.
  • It has a mild, smooth taste.

The Bad

  • The bottle is plastic.
  • The bottle is also clear, which is not good, as olive oil is sensitive to light. If you purchase this olive oil, make sure to keep it in a dark room so that it does not turn rancid.
  • It appears as if this product is only available in large quantities when purchasing from Amazon. Two liters is a large amount of olive oil and it generally only has a shelf life of about one year, so those who do not use olive oil regularly may want to purchase a smaller bottle of a different brand.

The Bottom Line

This is a product for people whose use of olive oil is so great that buying large quantities of it can get very expensive very quickly. If, like me, you use it for almost every meal, then this is a great product, because it lasts a long time, tastes great, is certified organic and extra virgin, and is so cheap that it is almost criminal.

 


 

5. Iliada Organic Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Iliada’s olive oil is made from Koroneiki olives

This particular olive oil hails from Kalamata, Greece and is made from Koroneiki olives, picked from groves on the South Peloponnese. Olives are harvested by hand and cold-pressed in a traditional manner.

The Good

  • There are a lot of olive oils that are trying to imitate the Kalamata taste, but this is not one of them. It is a PDO product, which a definition of the EU that describes a product that is produced, processed, and prepared in a particular region according to the traditional methods. The raw materials must be from that locality. Because certain areas (like Kalamata) create a product that is unique due to its place of origin, this definition is designed to distinguish true products of that region from imitators trying to pass their product off of something that it is not.
  • Mixes a peppery aftertaste with a robust herbal flavor to create a one-of-a-kind olive oil that is perfect for dipping and drizzling.
  • Certified organic and is cold-pressed

The Bad

  • The price is a bit higher than the others on this list.

The Bottom Line

The Iliada olive oil is definitely my personal second-favorite out of all the olive oil that I tried. However, its price and the fact that Partanna’s oil is almost as delicious and quite a bit cheaper pushed it down to its current position. This olive oil is one that should be used for dipping and drizzling; in my personal opinion, it is too expensive to use for cooking.

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