The best olive oil is liquid gold, the kind of ingredient that immediately enhances any food. It should be single sourced, tasty, surprisingly rich, and great for cooking or drizzling.
I have joked many times this year about drinking olive oil, and now here I am actually drinking olive oil. It’s called manifesting—ever heard of it? But don’t worry, while conducting this taste test I didn’t actually drink the stuff. I spit it out after swirling it around, then took a sip of Diet Coke to cleanse my palate because I’m a pro. Anyway, I use olive oil for just about everything I cook at home—eggs, potatoes, pasta, vegetables, proteins, sandwiches, etc. The best olive oil immediately enriches any food. And for me personally, a little olive oil, salt, and good bread is a damn near perfect snack. When it comes to olive oil flavor, there’s a whole spectrum. What we looked for in each oil was a robust character—richness, but also acidity and perhaps even a little bit of peppery kick. Anything flavorless didn’t make this list. Good news, though: We found five store bought olive oils that we really love. Check out the best olive oil brands you can buy in the grocery store.
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- California Olive Ranch 100% California Extra Virgin Medium Rich & Vibrant
California Olive Ranch olive oil is valuable because you can use it for just about anything. It has a pure olive taste that’s rich, mellow, and balanced. As a result, it’s the best olive oil for cooking (at low temperatures—olive oil burns because of its low smoke point), or you can use it as a finishing oil for pastas, salads, and proteins. Also, a lot of the other olive oils we tried are made from global blends. That is, they contain olive oils sourced from numerous countries. As a result, the oil often tastes dull. I also question the overall quality of global blend olive oils. It’s like seeing that a Slim Jim is made from beef, chicken, and pork. That’s just a tad off putting, right? California Olive Ranch, though, produces a great product made from olives grown right here in California. The flavor is consistently rich, delicate, and delicious. The price is great, too. That’s why it’s not only the best extra virgin olive oil, but our best olive oil overall.
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- Kirkland Signature Val Di Mazara Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Oooh wee! I made sure to bring this olive oil home with me. Kirkland Signature’s Val Di Mazara extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is so rich that it feels opulent. I’ve got my pinky in the air just thinking about it. The taste is phenomenal. It has a bold, audacious olive flavor that’s deeply rich, and it’s got a bit of a bite to it, too. Kirkland Signature’s Val Di Mazara olive oil also has the coveted DOP stamp which means Direct Product of Origin, signifying that this product comes directly from the source in Italy. It has all the things you look for in the best olive oil—single source, a DOP stamp, and an expiration date (look for expiration dates or harvest dates when you buy olive oil). Near as I can tell, this is completely legit and only available at Costco. It’s pretty expensive, but hey, live it up once in a while.
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- O Organics California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
O Organics continues to surprise me. Whenever the brand pops up during a taste test, I know they’re going to provide a quality product. Naturally, their Californian EVOO is really tasty and one of the best olive oils on the market. I put this on par with California Olive Ranch in terms of smoothness and richness. It’s almost buttery in a way, too, and it’s another single source olive oil,. One note about olive oils: Some of them taste quite peppery. You might like that, you might not. This one isn’t peppery, and not as acidic as Kirkland’s imported Italian oil, but it is quite rich and fruity.
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- Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This olive oil’s flavor is so unique that I simply had to dive back in to discern what exactly was happening in my mouth. It tastes the most like actual olives. There’s a briny funkiness that reminds me specifically of jarred black olives. I found it to be intoxicating and unique. When it comes to olive oil, you aren’t really expecting an olive forward taste. You moreso are looking for a rich, fruity, mellow quality. But here, Carlini extra virgin olive oil actually tastes complex and pungent like an olive. I think that’s super unique and impressive. It’s not the best olive oil because it has such a distinct flavor, but it could be the best olive oil for dipping bread. I’m damn pleased that I discovered this brand.
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- Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This olive oil has a lovely, peppery kick. Give it a taste and you’ll see what I’m talking about—there’s an earthy, spiced flavor that’s delicious. For that reason, I think it’s a great finishing oil. If you were to put a little drizzle of this over some, say, pasta, it would add really great extra flavor. Carapelli is a global blend of olive oil using an Italian name (kind of lame), but it’s one of the only global blends whose flavor I actually like. And when it comes down to it, flavor is key when you’re shopping for the best olive oil. Also, this is a reasonably sized bottle (not a big ol’ jug), meaning that you’ll use it before it goes bad. Most people agree that once you open olive oil, you should use it within six months. Smaller bottles are great for that reason.
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Best of the Best
Best Unique Taste
Other products we tried: Cento, Simply Nature, Bertolli, California Olive Ranch Global Blend, Kirkland Spanish Extra Virgin.
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