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The 9 best olive oils to add to your kitchen ingredients today

Cook with these, make your own salad dressing, and more

Pouring olive oil in a salad
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There’s not much good olive oil can’t do. Sure, it’s great on pasta or drizzled over a toasted baguette. But it’s also phenomenal with roasted vegetables, atop pizza, and even as a main feature in your next favorite dessert.

Shoot, if the oil is good enough, it can be enjoyed on its own. Some even believe it has restorative properties and like to apply a little to their skin. You can use it in a good olive oil cocktail or make a bowl of lentil soup with a healthy pour of it. In much of Italy, where olive oil is practically sacred, it’s essentially a healthier substitute for butter. All said, you can count on one hand the dishes that wouldn’t benefit from a little bit of good olive oil.

Yet, as is the case with anything ubiquitous — pop music, automobiles, fast food, denim jeans — there’s as much or more of the mediocre stuff as there is the high-quality stuff. With so many options, you’d be wise to diversify your oil portfolio, using certain kinds for some kitchen tasks and others for different dishes. And with the holidays right around the corner, you might be after a clever way to gift the olive oil of the culinary gods.

Olive oil poured into a bowl
Pixabay / Pexels

Olive oil top picks

Every soul should experience fresh-pressed olive oil from the spigot in a small town in Italy (or Spain, or Greece, or California, etc.) during harvest. But that fantasy isn’t readily available to all, so here are the best olive oils at the ready here in the States.

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Filippo Berio

Best overall olive oil: Filippo Berio

Berio’s oil hits all the right notes. It’s affordable, widely available, and delivers plenty of finesse and flavor. For a great option without any corresponding fuss, this is your oil.

Frantoia Sicilian Olive Oil Bottle
Frantoia Sicilian

Best olive oil for finishing: Frantoia Barbera Sicilian Olive Oil

This southern Italian oil is great as a last touch to your favorite dishes and small plates. It’s made from three olive varietals and enhances everything it touches, from fresh bread and cheeses to risotto.

La Tourangelle Olive Oil Bottle
La Tourangelle

Best olive oil for snacking: La Tourangelle Organic

This oil offers a lot for the price, with a nice peppery element set atop some fresh, grassy flavors. It’s a versatile dipper or topper you can apply to just about anything.

Brachia Olive Oil Bottle
Brachia

Best olive oil for salads: Brachia

This Croatian offering boasts big fruity flavors and a hint of spice. Translation: It’s all you really need to dress up a good salad, give or take a little cheese, and some salt and pepper.

Mr. Papou's Olive Oil Tin
Mr. Papou's

Best olive oil to buy in bulk: Mr. Papou’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This offering from Greece comes in a 3-liter tin and is certified extra virgin. It’s balanced and great in a variety of dishes, making having quite a bit of it on hand quite sensible.

365 Mediterranean Blend Olive Oil Bottle
365

Best olive oil for frying: 365 Cold-Pressed Mediterranean Blend

You don’t have to go with Canola oil just because you’re frying. You can still use a good olive oil, like this one from Whole Foods. It comes in at an extremely friendly price while still offering a lot of pleasant characteristics.

California Olive Ranch Reserve Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
California Olive Ranch

Best cold-pressed olive oil: California Olive Ranch Arbequina

Cold-pressed is a popular means of making oil and essentially just means that the oil never exceeds a certain temperature (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit) in the name of holding on to flavor compounds and purity of character. This one is one of the best in the large category, made from the tasty arbequina olive and showing vibrant fruit notes.

Saratoga Basil Olive Oil Bottle
Saratoga

Best flavored olive oil: Saratoga Basil-Infused Olive Oil

There are lots of great olive oil infusions, not to mention a whole separate and delightful world of truffle oils. This basil-charged oil from Vermont olives is vibrant and great atop all of your favorite Italian dishes.

Pamako Organic Olive Oil Bottle
Pamako

Best luxury olive oil: Pamako Monovarietal Mountain Organic

This Greek oil comes in a fetching bottle and delivers colossal flavors and aromatics. Better still, it’s as smooth as satin, certified organic, and something you won’t feel the least bit guilty about when spending a little more loot.

Handsome happy bearded man is preparing wonderful fresh vegan salad in the kitchen at home
Maksym Povozniuk / Adobe Stock

Homemade dressing with olive oil recipe

Making your own dressing is a healthy way to go, especially a salad dressing with an olive oil base. Here’s a simple recipe to make your own dressing with extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (balsamic, red wine, white wine, or lemon juice all work well)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Method

  1. In a small jar or container with a tight-fitting lid, whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. You can add more vinegar for tang, more salt for savoriness, or a touch of honey or maple syrup for sweetness.

Here are some tips for customizing your DIY dressing:

  • Herbs: Add a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, oregano, or thyme for a fresh flavor boost.
  • Cheese: For a creamy texture, whisk in a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta.
  • Spice: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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