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5 Different Types of Olive Oil To Cook With

Learn about the different kinds of olive oil and when to use each.

Olive oil is a common cooking ingredient that dates back to the ancient Mediterranean culture in the early 7th century BC. Olive oil is made by pressing olives and extracting the oil from the olive. 

Many types of olive like green & black and olive oil at the rustic wooden table

Throughout history, olive oil has been used as a cooking oil, skincare, soap-making, lamp fuel, and medicines. Today, olive oil is commonly used in culinary senses. However, you will find that it is used in a few skincare products since the oil possesses skin-nourishing qualities. 

Olive oil is categorized based on the means of production and the oil extraction process.  

Olive oil is regulated internationally by the International Olive Council. The United States is not a part of the IOC, but it has its voluntary regulations. Regulations are in place to ensure that 100% olive oil is unadulterated and unrefined. 

Types of Olive Oil

We will cover five types of olive oil here. We will also cover how they are used and the qualities that distinguish them from one another. Keep reading for more information on this classic kitchen staple! 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Regarding olive oil, virgin means that the oil has not been adulterated with other ingredients or refined by any means.

Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is the highest grade of olive oil. 

Olive oil meets the extra virgin olive oil criteria when derived from cold mechanical extraction without using solvents or other refining methods.

The flavor profile of extra virgin olive oil is slightly fruity and has no defined sensory defects.

This oil also contains less than 0.8% free acidity and, according to experts, has a superior taste. 

EVOO is my favorite type of olive oil to cook with because of its texture and taste! 


Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil is also considered a premium type of olive oil.

It is a lesser grade of olive oil than extra virgin olive oil because of its free acidity percentage.

Virgin olive oil contains about 2.0% free acidity. It has good taste but may have some sensory defects. 

It is best to try the virgin olive oil before using it for cooking because the taste can be off-putting in some cases.

Virgin olive oil is good for skincare items or anything that will not be ingested. 


Pure Olive Oil

Pure olive oil is used for cooking, eating, and producing other products that are not going to be consumed.

Pure olive oil is made by mixing refined olive oil with a little bit of virgin olive oil for taste.

In the IOC countries, it is called pure olive oil. In the United States, this type of oil is categorized as olive oil.

These oils are slightly cheaper, but the taste is not as flavorful and fruitful. 


Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil is an oil category of its own and is used to make pure olive oil.

Refining olive oil is a process that includes using charcoal and other chemical and physical filters in the production stage. These filters do not alter the glyceridic structure of the compound.

The purpose of refining virgin olive oils to create refined olive oil is to eliminate high acidity or organoleptic defects.

The refining process removes color, taste, and odor. Olive oil that comes from the refining process is extremely low in free fatty acids and is a very pure form of olive oil. 

I like refined oil for cooking if I do not have EVOO on hand. It still does the trick just the same. 


Olive Pomace Oil 

Pomace is the leftover solid substance from the oil extraction process. Pomace still contains a small quantity of olive oil.

Olive pomace oil is a product created by treating the pomace with solvents or other physical treatments.

Then, the mixture is further refined, and once it is re-blended with virgin olive oils for taste, it classifies as olive pomace oil. 

You can consume olive pomace oil just like any other variety of olive oil. With a more neutral flavor than the higher grades of olive oil and a comparable fat composition to regular olive oil, it also has similar health benefits and is fit for consumption.

It also has a high smoke point, making it a popular choice in many commercial kitchens.

In my kitchen, I don’t usually cook with olive pomace oil, but then again I do not cook for hundreds a day as professional chefs do!


Types of Olive Oil

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. Virgin Olive Oil
  3. Pure Olive Oil
  4. Refined Olive Oil
  5. Olive Pomace Oil 

Final Thoughts

Olive oil is a natural compound that contains many health benefits. Regardless of the type of olive oil, it contains about 75 percent monounsaturated fats by volume.

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most healthy varieties of olive oil and has proven results from lab studies that it can help lower the risk of heart disease and other serious health problems. 

Overall, olive oil is a helpful ingredient to add to your daily diet if you do not do so already. The healthy fat content, vitamin content, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great addition to any diet. 

These five types of olive oil are the most common. However, EVOO and refined olive oil are my personal favorites to use in my kitchen. 

Learn more about cooking and enhance your skills here on Restaurant Clicks! Check out different types of salt to cook with, or learn which knives to add to your kitchen.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.