What’s the Best Olive Oil You Can Buy? Our Test Kitchen Knows
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Make sure your pantry is filled with top-notch ingredients, including the very best olive oil for dressings, sauteeing and much more.
Home cooks know that olive oil is invaluable. Use it to sautee veggies and proteins, combine it with vinegar for homemade dressing or simply drizzle on top of a slice of crusty homemade bread for a satisfying side.
Because we reach for a bottle of EVOO so often, that means we’re often running to the store to replenish our stock. But before you grab any old bottle, ask yourself, “what’s the best olive oil?” After all, if you’re going through the work of making a delicious homemade meal, you want a foundational ingredient like this to help those flavors sing—not flop.
The Search for the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Before we get into the search, let’s have a quick primer on olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Both are oils extracted from olives—that’s easy enough! The extra-virgin variety, though, is held to higher standards. It must be cold-pressed and minimally processed. Because of this, it often retains more of the fruit’s true flavor.
Now, to find the very best olive oil, our Test Kitchen sampled the most popular and sought-after brands according to these criteria:
- Flavor: As always, flavor is king in these blind tests. A good extra-virgin olive oil should taste of olives, of course, which can include fruity and even bitter notes. EVOO can also be buttery and bright.
- Texture and mouthfeel: This type of oil is often consumed in dressings or as a condiment, so it should be pleasant on its own. Any oil that feels too viscous or thin likely isn’t a good candidate for your kitchen.
- Aroma: EVOO should smell fresh and bright. Any off-notes indicate a poor-quality oil.
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Olive Oil Brands
Best for Dips and Dressings: Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is a must when it comes to creating your own vinaigrettes and dips at home. In this tasting, our team found one brand that was best suited for these purposes: Filippo Berio.
With a light velvety texture and delicious taste on its own, our Test Kitchen’s Catherine Ward suggests that a drizzle of Filippo Berrio extra-virgin olive oil would be a welcome addition to homemade hummus.
- Price: $6.56 for a 17-ounce bottle
- Cost per ounce: $0.38
Best for Sauteeing: Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Golden with a bright, clean flavor, our Test Kitchen recommends adding Pompeian EVOO to your cart on your next grocery run.
This lightly textured oil (meaning it’s not heavy on the palate) had notes of oak as well as fruity olives. It tasted great on its own but reaches higher highs when used for cooking.
Catherine suggests using it to sautee cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts or broccoli. Just be mindful of this oil’s smoke point—about 420ºF. You shouldn’t run into any serious problems when using this oil to stir-fry or sautee, but keep an eye on your burner.
- Price: $9.64 for a 32-ounce bottle
- Cost per ounce: $0.30
Best Olive Oil to Splurge On: Partanna Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hailing from Sicily, Partnna Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a real taste of the Italian countryside.
Splashing a bit of this oil into a dish for dipping, you’ll find a deep green hue and the distinct smell of olives. When you dip a bit of Italian bread into this oil, you’ll find it to taste a bit buttery with a hint of olives.
This oil is a bit heavier than others in our test, which isn’t a negative. It just means that this extra-virgin oil stands out on its own. Use it as a condiment or anytime you want to impart authentic Italian flavor into your recipes.
- Price: $32.93 for a 34-ounce tin
- Cost per ounce: $0.97
Best Budget EVOO: Terra Delyssa Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While splashing out for a Partanna Italian EVOO is nice, we understand not everyone wants to spend a lot on this essential ingredient. Not to worry: You can get an excellent extra-virgin olive oil for less with Terra Delyssa.
This Tunisian olive oil has a gorgeous golden color and light texture. When tasting, you’ll find that the flavor is mild with whispers of fruit.
Because this oil isn’t as flavor-forward as some of its counterparts, our Test Kitchen recommends using Terra Delyssa when you want other flavors to shine. Catherine recommends this as an all-purpose cooking oil. “It would enhance other flavors without bringing too much olive flavor,” she explains.
- Price: $8.76 for a 34-ounce bottle
- Cost per ounce: $0.26
Best Californian Olive Oil: California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While many look to Italy and the Mediterranean for olive oil, don’t sleep on options produced right here in the US. California Olive Ranch makes a terrific extra virgin olive oil.
Pour a bit of this oil out in a dish for dipping and you’ll see it has a stunning golden hue and a slightly floral aroma. As for the flavor, it’s incredibly versatile, according to our Test Kitchen’s Mark Neufang.
“I think this could be used in any number of applications,” he says. “It’s golden, floral and the finish is nice and buttery.”
- Price: $10.49 for a 16.9-ounce bottle
- Cost per ounce: $0.62
How to Make the Most of Your Favorite Olive Oil
Taste of Home
You already know that EVOO is indispensable in the kitchen, but we are here to inspire you to reach for your favorite bottle even more frequently.
Between uses, make sure you’re storing olive oil the right way. That means keeping your EVOO in a cool, dry and dark place like your pantry or cupboard (not next to the stove). The right storage will keep your oil from going bad or losing its flavor and aroma.