11 Must-Try Olive Oils To Put On Ice Cream

Olive oil on ice cream — so hot right now. You've probably seen this combination trending on TikTok, and for good reason — the nuanced flavors of a solid olive oil play delightfully well with the rich, creamy vibe of ice cream. Despite this recent trend of drizzling the golden oil on the beloved dairy treat, olive oil has always been a kitchen staple for uses like roasting vegetables or garnishing dishes. Quick history lesson: After originating in Syria or sub-Saharan Africa, as noted in a research paper published by the American Society for Horticultural Science, the olive migrated throughout different human interventions, becoming a staple of Mediterranean diets, and can now be found all over the world. 

I live by Ina Garten's philosophy of always buying the good stuff. In fact, Tasting Table previously laid out the best olive oil brands for you here. But keep in mind, you should always buy olives (and olive oil) harvested by hand, not machine. But are you ready to branch out past purely savory usages of olive oil in the kitchen? It's time to bring your favorite olive oil into the dessert arena. 

I'll walk you through the 11 best olive oil varietals to put on your next bowl of ice cream, from vanilla to chocolate and everything in between. The olive oils I've selected for your ice cream gilding-usage come from personal experience with selling olive oil at an olive oil and vinegar store and also from internet research.

1. Arbequina

This option is tried and true, tested by popular ice cream company Salt & Straw. Its olive oil ice cream flavor uses grassy arbequina olive oil in the recipe to enhance the buttery flavors inherent to its beloved ice cream. Arbequina is known for being fruity, herbal, and a touch sweet. This specific varietal, found mostly in Spain and California, can be harvested earlier than others. This gives it a light flavor profile that's perfect for pairing with produce and protein of all sorts, just as well as it can serve as a delicious topping for rich ice cream.

Embrace this style of ice cream made with the olive oil already in it or pour this varietal of oil on your own ice cream, whether store-bought or homemade. You won't miss the chocolate syrup when you use this fruity oil as a topping. Try pairing your arbequina-topped ice cream with a slice of cake — bonus points if you use the olive oil in the cake's recipe. The flavor notes will especially come out when you pair this light oil with a light ice cream, contributing together to a dessert environment where the herbal notes can shine.

California Olive Ranch sells a 500-milliliter bottle of arbequina for an affordable price, or you can find arbequina from Costco's Kirkland Signature for a bit more. Whichever price point you choose for this young oil, you'll find it suitable for drizzling on ice cream flavors from vanilla to butter pecan.

2. Picual

While 200-plus types of olives can be found in Spain, picual — which produces a fruity varietal of olive oil — is the most common. This olive is naturally very high in oil content, providing a high yield for consumer products. Tasters will find notes of almond, pepper, and olive leaf in this oil, making it the perfect slightly bitter complement to any flavor of ice cream, from chocolatey to fruity. Try pouring this on top of pistachio ice cream for a deliciously nutty and creamy bite. To level up your dish, you can add crumbled cookies or chopped nuts on top of your olive oil-crowned ice cream. The silky oil, creamy ice cream, and these crunchy toppings will provide a lovely textural contrast to your dessert break.

Expect to spend anywhere from the middle to the top of the price range on this picual-based olive oil. Graza — a popular olive oil among shoppers — is often sold at a decent value. Whether for savory or sweet purposes, you can even buy Graza in bulk to save a bit of money on your olive oil haul.

3. Hojiblanca

Another Spanish olive oil, hojiblanca is a great choice for drizzling on top of your dessert. Like its sibling, picual, it has a fruity backbone. However, this oil is also defined by peppery notes, backed up by grassy and vegetal characteristics, plus an almond aftertaste. Hojiblanca oil, which means "white leaf" in Spanish, offers medium bitterness and low sweetness, making it a great bet for balancing out sweet flavors — and in particular, it works as a delicious counterpart to any fruity ice cream flavor. Top your bowl with toasted nuts to bring out the almond notes in the hojiblanca.

This olive produces less oil than picual does, but it is still a staple in the olive oil ecosystem. This fact makes this oil a delicacy — perfect for drizzling on ice cream when you want to treat yourself. But you can actually find this one pretty affordably. One option from Odds & Ends, for example, is on the lower side of the price range — or you can go for the mid-range, with The Mediterranean Dish offering it for a bit more. Whichever price point you choose to pursue, hojiblanca is a solid and popular olive oil option to keep on hand for your kitchen supply.

4. Barouni

Barouni olives hail from Tunisia but are also grown in California and Australia. While this olive tree produces a good amount of fruit, the olives themselves are not known for producing a lot of oil — therefore, barouni olive oil is considered to be pretty rare. Regardless, it's a good choice for table olive oil — or for use in any dessert — if you can get your hands on it.

A bit of a wild card for this list, barouni boasts floral and smoky notes in its flavor profile. It finishes a bit peppery and bitter in the back, providing a fully balanced flavor boost. Try this one on strawberry ice cream for a fruity yet slightly spicy bite. For another flavor adventure with this olive oil, try pairing its smoky notes with a rich chocolate ice cream topped with sea salt. As of this writing, Nuvo is selling its 2022 harvest for a mid-range price point.

5. Leccino

Leccino, a green-tinged olive oil, hails from Tuscany but can also be found in California. This olive oil provides a hint of almond flavor to anything it's added to. It also contributes a slight peppery note in the finish. While leccino oil has a very light flavor — it's usually blended with other oils to create a more balanced flavor profile — this can be an advantage when pairing it with desserts. When it comes to pouring this varietal on ice cream, choose a subtle flavor like vanilla so it doesn't overpower the oil. Because of its light flavor, though, this olive oil is a good contender for drinking, too — which is safe to do and is also considered to boast a range of health benefits due to its antioxidants and healthy fats.

Olive Oil & Beyond sells leccino olive oil for a medium-range price, and you can find it from Le Ferre for a bit of a lower deal. Whichever source you choose to get this oil from, the promise of a nutty topping to any ice cream you choose should encourage you to try it.

6. Mission

Mission olive oil hails from California. Think rich, buttery, and smooth when you think about this oil. It has a balanced creaminess that will play perfectly with any dessert. Topping your ice cream with this may remind you of covering it with melted butter — but in the best way possible. Therefore, a great option for pairing with mission olive oil is a fruity ice cream, which can evoke a fruit pie vibe.

Did you know you can steam olive oil and milk together to add to your coffee? For our purposes then, while this enhanced milk experience with mission olive oil would pair perfectly with a latte, it naturally goes just as well with coffee ice cream. Since this olive oil can be used as either a butter substitute or to use in making and topping homemade ice cream, give it a try by grabbing a sample-size bottle from The Olive Oil Source for an affordable cost, or hit up The Little Shop for a larger-sized bottle at a mid-range price.

7. Frantoio

Frantoio olive oil comes from Italy — this also happens to be the name of an olive oil processing factory in Tuscany. But this varietal of the fruit can also be found in California, such as the olives used in Lodi Olive Oil's frantoio iteration, which goes for a mid-range price point. Depending on who you ask, frantoio can be described as fruity, aromatic, or herbal — providing a well-balanced flavor profile. Bitterness is low with this specific type of olive, which makes this a good dessert pairing. 

Imagine combining those herbal notes with a bowl of ice cream — think chocolate for a nice balance — and consider adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar as a bonus flavor boost. Another option is to pair this olive oil with a fruity ice cream, like a berry flavor, to amp up the overall fruity notes in your dessert. Its rich, silky smooth, and thick texture also works well in a homemade gelato. But however you pair it, this olive is a gentle yet flavorful partner for any ice cream.

8. Galega

Galega olives originated in Portugal — in fact, they make up about 80% of the country's olives. The olives this tree produces are used only for olive oil production. Flavors of this oil include berry, apple, and almond. While it's fruity, galega olive oil also a bit grassy and spicy with a slight bitterness, providing a perfect flavor combination for drizzling on anything from bread to ice cream. This oil also boasts a flavor reminiscent of arugula, which would balance out nicely with any rich flavor of this frozen treat. But we recommend pairing it with chocolate or pistachio ice cream to really tease out the nutty, vegetal notes.

Olive R Twist sells galega for a reasonable price, or you can find it even cheaper from The Olive Scene. But no matter where you buy your bottle of galega from, you'll be participating in a deep tradition rooted in Portuguese cuisine.

9. Koroneiki

Koroneiki olives come from Greece, where they are grown to produce a popular oil. This one packs a punch, providing a delicious peppery flavor to anything it's put on. One seller of koroneiki, Claude S. Weiller of California Olive Ranch, has dubbed this oil a "two or three cougher" — so you might notice a tickle in your throat when you experience the bitterness of this one. Paired with rich ice cream, it makes for a perfect flavor combination. Apple and banana notes can also be detected in this oil, giving a tropical bite to anything you put it on. Try this robust oil on chocolate or berry-flavored ice cream with sea salt for a pungent and sweet bite. The creaminess of the ice cream will handily balance out the bitterness of this oil.

As an added bonus, this type of olive oil is very high in polyphenols, which — in addition to providing its strong flavor — may reduce your risk of developing cancer or heart disease. The Mediterranean Diet sells koroneiki olive oil at an affordable price point, whereas Olive Oil & Beyond's is a bit more expensive.

10. Cobrançosa

Cobrançosa olives are mainly grown for oil production, and this olive oil varietal can be found in Portugal. This olive oil provides a complex flavor profile of fruity, nutty, and herbaceous notes — think grassy with this one alongside a hint of almond and ripe fruit. When it comes to dessert, this treat of an olive oil would be a good topping for pretty much any ice cream, especially one with nuts in it to contribute more of a creamy bite. Or go a different route with a fruit-flavored ice cream to enjoy the tasty balance between the frozen dessert's sweetness and the oil's spicy bitterness.

Fiore sells this oil at a reasonable price point, and Rocky Mountain Olive Oil sells it for about the same price. Fiore also offers the option to buy 2- or 3-liter bottles, giving you the opportunity to stock up on this delicious and versatile olive oil for any usage in your kitchen — but especially for dessert.

11. Ascolano

Grown in Italy and prominently in California, ascolano olives boast a host of balanced tropical flavors, like apricot, mango, peach, and pineapple. While this olive is known mostly as a table olive, it is still used to make olive oil. Think a delicate balance of light, fruity, and herbaceous flavors when using this olive oil. Ascolano would be a good option to pour on a fruit-flavored ice cream to double down on its sweeter notes, or you can try putting it on a nutty ice cream to balance the herbal flavors out. Whichever way you play it, you'll be mentally transported to an olive grove instantly when you use this one.

Looking to stock up on olive oil? Commit to ascolano and shell out for a 3-liter bag from Wild Groves, or buy a smaller bottle from Lodi Olive Oil to sit alongside some other varietals on your counter.


I decided which olive oil varietal is best to use for each ice cream variety based on certain flavor notes that can be found in each oil. I have worked at an olive oil store, so there's personal experience at play here. Internet research was also used in order to determine which olive oils are the best contenders to use on ice cream. While personal taste preference also played a role here, you can't go wrong with any of these varietals as long as you grab a high-quality bottle. There's an olive oil varietal for every ice cream application, so don't worry too much about grabbing a bottle you don't like as long as you follow along with the flavor notes I've designated each type above.

On that note, no matter which type of olive oil you decide to drizzle on your ice cream, just remember — when it comes to regular vs. extra-virgin olive oil, always use the latter. That's because extra-virgin olive oil is purely cold-pressed olive oil, whereas regular is a blend of cold-pressed and processed. Since cold-pressed is higher quality, you'll definitely notice that difference in the flavor, as well as in the number of polyphenols and, therefore, health benefits.

Overall, you want to use the best product possible for enhancing your ice cream. Here's what else to know when shopping for olive oil to find the best bottle every time.