The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking

Olive oil is an indispensable kitchen staple. Besides salt and pepper, it's probably the ingredient you reach for most in your home kitchen. Not every olive oil is created equal, of course. Scientist Sue Langstaff told FiveThirtyEight that "We call the U.S. the world's dumping ground for rancid and defective olive oil. We don't know the difference." A lot of imported olive oil in the U.S. is light olive oil masquerading as extra virgin, or spoiled oil that consumers in other countries wouldn't accept. Many U.S. tasters actually like cheap olive oil more than the nice cold-pressed stuff.

With all of that shady oil floating around, it's hard to know what brands to trust. The good news is that there are still plenty of reputable olive oils in the U.S. market, and you don't even need to pay top dollar to purchase a high-quality product. The oils on this list will all serve you well in the kitchen.

1. Bertolli Extra Light

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is what most of us think of when we're choosing olive oil for cooking, but it's not good for everything. EVOO is extracted without using heat or chemicals, which allows the oil to retain distinctive flavor compounds from the olives. Sometimes, though, you don't want strong olive flavor in the dish you're preparing. Bertolli Extra Light olive oil is great for baking or when you're cooking Asian food and don't want olive oil's bitter aftertaste distracting from your dish. It also has a higher smoke point than EVOO, which makes it better suited for stir-fries and other high-heat applications.

2. Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Costco fans love to sing the praises of the discount retailer's in-house Kirkland brand. As Mashed points out, Kirkland products are a great value, and they often taste better than the more expensive name-brand products they're modeled after. Kirkland olive oil is no exception, especially the organic variety. This olive oil is just as good as any other mid-priced, all-purpose EVOO, and it comes in gigantic bottles. If you're the type of person who constantly runs out of olive oil, Kirkland will treat you right. At the time of this writing, a 2-liter bottle will only set you back around $14 and you're unlikely to find a better deal on organic olive oil anywhere else.

3. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Most of the olive oil in U.S. grocery stores is imported from countries in the Mediterranean, but that's starting to change. Some parts of California have a climate that's hospitable to olive groves and the state has developed a robust olive industry. California Olive Ranch's flagship product is a great general-use oil. It's blended to have a moderately intense flavor, perfect for everyday cooking duty. With so much fraud in the overseas olive oil production industry, you know you can trust this brand made from 100% California olives.

4. Filippo Berio

Not everyone who wants cheap olive oil has a Costco membership. Filippo Berio is a great wallet-friendly oil that's available in most normal grocery stores. It hits all the flavor notes you would expect from an extra virgin oil without being too overbearing. If you don't feel like buying separate cooking and finishing olive oils, Filippo Berio will do everything you need without breaking the bank. The brand has been around for over 150 years, so they're doing something right.

5. La Tourangelle Organic Extra Virgin

Don't let the brand's French name fool you. This olive oil is produced exclusively from fruit grown in Spain's Andalusia region. It has spicy, peppery notes that make it ideal as a finishing oil or a condiment for bread. It's not exactly cheap, but it costs significantly less than many other premium finishing oils. La Tourangelle's metal bottle helps preserve its unique flavor. As noted by Epicurious, light degrades olive oil's quality, so an opaque metal container will keep it fresh for longer than the typical glass jug.

6. Texas Arbequina Extra Virgin

Texas isn't all about cowboys and barbecue. The state also produces some excellent olive oils. Its hot, dry weather makes it an ideal environment for Spanish olive varieties like the Arbequina. Texas Olive Ranch's 100% Arbequina EVOO is a stellar domestic option for drizzling and dipping. Frying food in such a distinctive oil would be a waste, as high heat would dampen Arbequina's pronounced notes of ripe fruit and cracked black pepper. Instead, save the good stuff for adding a last-minute pop to grilled foods or pasta dishes.

7. Whole Foods Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Morocco

European olive oil dominates the U.S. market, but Morocco also has deep cultural ties to the olive industry. As notes, olives find their way into many traditional dishes in this North African country. Whole Foods sells a wide variety of store-brand olive oils, but their Moroccan extra virgin may be the best. Most store-brand olive oils don't come from a single source, so it's impressive that Whole Foods produces several single-origin bottlings. You can try olive oils from different countries to learn about how oil's flavor is influenced by the region it's produced in.

8. 100% California Small Batch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is another standout from Whole Foods' line of region-specific olive oils. It's not overly assertive, but it does have a little of the back-of-the-throat kick you would expect from a premium olive oil. The fact that it's made in California in small batches likely means it doesn't hang out for a long time before arriving in stores. Olive Oil Times recommends that you use olive oil a maximum of one year after it was made — two years max. Imported oil goes on a longer journey to get to store shelves than a domestic product does, so it has more opportunities to develop off-flavors.

9. Lucini Everyday Extra Virgin

The name on the bottle might be Italian, but this oil comes from the New World. Lucini says its Everyday Extra Virgin is pressed from olives grown in Argentina. As the name suggests, this is more of an easygoing oil for cooking than a nice finishing oil. Its flavor is complex yet mild, with a vegetal note reminiscent of underripe fruit. If you want a more intense oil, go with the brand's Premium Select bottling, which is made from hand-picked Italian olives.

10. Bragg Organic

Is there a mound of compost sitting in the corner of your yard? Do you have a big bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap that you use to clean everything in your home? Do you gargle coconut oil every morning? If so, you might be interested in Bragg Organic olive oil. The company is famous for its unfiltered apple cider vinegar and umami-rich liquid aminos, but it also produces high-quality EVOO. Bragg sources its olive oil exclusively from Greek Koroneiki olives and doesn't filter it, which can reduce the shelf life but also preserves flavor components that filtered olive oils don't have.

11. Nunez de Prado

It's hard to find an olive oil with a more impressive pedigree than Nunez de Prado. The two brothers who currently run the mill are the seventh generation of their family in the olive oil business. Nunez de Prado first began making olive oil in 1795 (via The Rogers Collection). Olive oil is the bedrock of Spain's cuisine, so it makes sense that the country would produce some of the finest oils in the world. Nunez de Prado makes a reasonably-priced extra virgin for all-purpose use as well as a pricy Flor de Aceite that you can save for special occasions.

12. O-Live & Co. Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Unlike many brands of olive oil that flaunt their unique flavors, this brand emphasizes its mild, easygoing qualities. It still displays the trademark fruitiness you expect from an extra virgin oil, but without the bitterness or bite that can make EVOO unsuitable for some dishes. Just because it's mellow doesn't mean it's forgettable. This oil won gold at the LA International EVOO competition. Like Lucini, this comes from South America, with the label proudly declaring that O-Live sources this oil from 100% Chilean olives.

13. Tenuta Di Capezzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Tuscany is the most revered olive-growing region in Italy, with its EVOOs protected by an official designation to guarantee authenticity (via Olive Oils Italy). If you're going to blow a bunch of cash on a fancy olive oil, Tuscan is a good way to go. According to food importer Manicaretti, Tenuta Di Capezzana wowed tasters with its electric-green color and its bright flavor. You can expect herbaceous and nutty notes from this exceptional oil. One Capezzana fan recommended subbing this EVOO for the butter and cream in mashed potatoes for a fresh take on the old classic.

14. Colavita Premium Selection

At around $20 a bottle, this oil won't ruin your finances, but it has the depth and complexity you would expect from a premium olive oil. It's made from a blend of olives from four different European countries. Customers love this olive oil, with 41 of the 42 user reviews on Colavita's website rating it a perfect five stars. It doesn't lean too hard toward either the fruity or the peppery ends of the spectrum, sitting comfortably in the middle.

15. De Cecco Extra Virgin

De Cecco is most well-known for its excellent dried pasta. The brand extrudes its pasta through bronze dies, an old-fashioned, expensive method that produces higher-quality noodles than modern technology does (via The Kitchn). De Cecco displays the same attention to detail in its olive oil. You can choose from regular extra virgin or 100% Italian, both of which are excellent. The former has a grassier flavor, while the latter displays more of a fruit and nut character.

16. Monini Nocellara Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

This product comes from Monini's Monocultivar line of organic single-origin oils. Nocellara olives come from the Italian island of Sicily, and Monini says the varietal embodies the sunny flavors of this Mediterranean paradise. Since the olives are squeezed very fresh, you're going to notice strong bitter and peppery flavors from this oil. A half-liter bottle runs for under $20, which is a great bargain for an Italian single-variety extra virgin. The Frantoio and Coratini Monocultivar varieties are worth a taste as well.

17. Kouzini Ultra Premium Greek Raw Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Like the Bragg, this is an unfiltered oil made from Greek olives. Kouzini sources its olives exclusively from the Lakonia region of Greece. This olive oil is more intense than Bragg's, with a pronounced bitterness that's enhanced by the olive sediment left in the bottle. This is the olive oil to use if you want it to be the star of the dish. It's bottled no more than a couple of hours after the olives are harvested to ensure that its bright, piquant flavor stays strong.

18. Pompeian Robust

This is an inexpensive olive oil of unknown provenance, with Pompeian's site saying only that it's imported. It's not actually robust compared with some of the other olive oils on this list, but it's a high-quality extra virgin with no rancid aftertaste that you won't feel guilty for using to sear a piece of meat or saute some onions in. It's NAOOA certified, which means it's been independently tested to ensure that it's 100% real olive oil. Pompeian is owned by a collective of olive farmers, so when you buy this brand you support farmers directly.

19. Bertolli Rich Taste

Olive oil can be fruity, bitter, grassy, and spicy, but it can also be buttery. Bertolli Rich Taste makes good on its name by leaning into buttery flavor profiles, creating a flavorful oil that harmonizes well with most ingredients. Sometimes the sharp kick of zestier olive oils detracts from the overall taste of a dish. These kinds of olive oils are great, but you have to be careful about where you deploy them. Like butter, Rich Taste makes almost everything it touches taste better without calling too much attention to itself.

20. Olave Premium Blend

The other two South American olive oils on this list are relatively mild all-purpose oils, but the continent also produces some world-class premium products too. Olave's oil is an expression of the flavors of its unique growing region in the Mataquito Valley in Chile. The rich soil of that area produces an oil with a sweet, fruity smell and gently spicy flavor. The oil is extracted with a centrifuge, which Olave says helps preserve the essence of its distinctive olives.