The Best Way To Remove Bitterness From Olive Oil

We've all been there: You splurged on a nice bottle of olive oil. You crack it open and pour some on a hunk of crusty bread — only to find it's extremely bitter. It is so strong that it causes a burning sensation in the back of your throat (per National Library of Medicine). 

Has it gone bad? Oddly, no. It's the opposite. The bitterness is caused by a naturally occurring compound, polyphenols. Bitter-tasting olive oil is typically fresh (per Olive Tomato). Although you may not enjoy the sensation or taste of polyphenols, young is good in olive oil (per Martha Stewart).

Never fear. There's no need to give up enjoying olive oil. There are methods you can use to mellow the flavor while possibly developing a taste for the bitterness. After all, red wine contains polyphenols, too, called tannins. So, if you're a red wine fan, you've learned to love them.

Help for bitter olive oil

Olive Knowledge offers a couple of easy fixes for bitter olive oil. Add an acidic component, like lemon juice or vinegar, which can neutralize the bitterness. You can also try this restaurant trick: Mix your olive oil with sunflower oil. Not only will it be less bitter, but it will also go farther. The outlet recommends a 50:50 ratio and reducing the amount of sunflower oil over time as you develop a taste for olive oil "au natural."

Another option that Marisa Bloch Gaytan, an olive oil sommelier at Pasolivo, recommends is mixing in a bit of sea salt for a more balanced flavor (via YouTube). Finally, you can bathe olive oil in boiling water to get rid of its bitterness. Unfortunately, olive oil can lose some of its health benefits when heated. To avoid that, Olive Knowledge recommends trying to acclimate yourself to olive oil's bitterness by trying the less drastic methods first.