Olive oil!

Hello everybody!

I’ve never really considered olive oil proper for cooking because I was always weary of its smoke point. I don’t enjoy having to worry about it when I’m cooking so I usually resort to grapeseed oil, sesame oil, peanut oil or even canola for common uses. I never caught on to the olive oil trend. My family did and I did not appreciate all applications (I understand its popular but replacing peanut oil with olive oil when making fries is pushing it a bit too far in my book).

I know its not supposed to be a problem if you use high quality olive oil but the problem goes further: how to choose? When I consider buying one brand I’m swamped by choices and don’t really know what to buy. My current oil is the extra-virgin olive oil by “La Maison Orphée” (see below). It looks ok, I sometimes use it when the recipe ask for it or for dressings and the like but my true workhorse is the bottle of grapeseed oil from Pastene. I barely use the olive oil because its that special kid that’s fragile as porcelain in the corner while I use the regular guys by the cartload. As a result I probably have to replace my current supply because the “precious thing” is getting a bit old (its not rancid but its not fresh either).

Shopping for olive oil hasn’t been a pleasure. I seem to get either the deer caught in the headlight worker who clearly knows as little as I do or the card carrying member of the olive oil snob society who looks at you like you just shot her dog when you ask her for “a good olive oil for cooking with a high smoke point” (and you thought wine aficionados were sometimes precious).

Why the sudden interest? Well, I’ve recently bought the “Essentials of italian cooking” from Marcella Hazan and I’m in the middle of an italian cooking binge, marking ravioli, tagliatelle, ragu and considering things I never thought interesting like bottarga and anchovies. Part of that obsession requires that I try to revisit my stance on olive oil.


I’m looking to give another shot at olive oil and I’m open to suggestions. I’m not looking to make a vinaigrette or a balsamic vinegar/olive oil bread dip out of it: it will most commonly be used as a potential replacement to grapeseed oil in various applications. I’m looking for something at a high smoke point, not cheap but I’m not looking to buy something expensive at a premium just because the cool crowd likes it either

What’s your experience with olive oil? Do you use it for regular cooking? Which one works best for you?

Thanks in advance!

TLDR: Looking for an olive oil suggestion for cooking

If i’m eating olive oil I like Extra Virgin. That would be for salad, vinaigrette, dip for bread. I also use it when I marinate things like sun-dried tomatoes & etc. For cooking I use the bulk stuff in the 101 oz cans.

I use it regularly for cooking . I used to use Trader Joes extra virgin . It’s good and would use it if I still shopped there . I’m in California and like Corto , and California olive Ranch . I don’t bother with extra light or any other types . When cooking with it turn the heat down . Smoke point ? A couple tablespoons is all that is needed for cooking most dishes . If you want a little more browning add a little butter to the pan . Enjoy…

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Ok, thanks for the feedback!

We don’t have trader joes here but I’ll take not of corto!

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This gentleman researched a similar question quite extensively. Granted you may not have the same markets but hopefully your markets may carry some of the brands. Corto and CA Olive Ranch are mentioned as well. I use the TJ Kalamata mentioned for cooking. After cooking, I really don’t have the palate to tell the oils apart. My burner is small so the heat is never high, hence smoke point has never been an issue for me.


I use Costco organic evoo… I buy it in 1.5 litre bottles and keep a glass bottle with a pour soout on the stove.

Don’t cook much at high heat, so it’s my work horse oil. Have a bottle of canola for higher heat or when I don’t want oo flavor.

Prefer Spanish and Italian olive oil, by the way. French is too grassy for my taste.

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I use a decent quality EVOO for cooking - I do not use the best Olive Oil. I reserve that for vinaigrettes, as a finishing oil, for my grilled veges or any place I need a good quality EVOO. That said, I do not buy the supermarket brand of EVOO. I cook with Bertolli and I might finish with my really good stuff when I serve.

Like emglow, I use extra-virgin. TJ’s President is good, as is their Spanish OO. California Olive Ranch is my stupidmarket go-to (it’s a single grower, NOT a blend as you usually get with other stupidmarket name brands such as Bertolli, Colavita, Carapelli, Filippo Berio, etc.).

Stop the presses, this is exactly the type of information I was looking for! A list of brand and variants from a guy who has a definitive opinion to act as a starting point. I agree with his vision too!

“Think of Beaujolais nouveau and first-growth Bordeaux. The former compliments and spreads appreciation of the latter, and vice versa, in a virtuous circle that expands consumer knowledge and discernment. That’s exactly what should be happening in olive oil.”


God bless the fellow detail oriented analyticals like me who taste things and report them in detail so I don’t have to!

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Thank you!

I also buy the Costco organic evoo. Seems to do fine at my everyday searing and dressings. For an excellent domestic evoo, it’s hard to beat California Olive Range products. I’m a fan of their Arbequina oil for a fruity tasty finish. I could drink this stuff

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FYI I made a shortlist of the different feedback I’ve had. I now have enough information to look around at different shops and compare availability and prices. Thanks!

Potentially good
• California Olive Ranch
• Cobram estate
• Corto Olive
• Costco kirkland toscano
• Lucini
• Oleoestepa
• O-Live
• Ottavio
• Omagio
• Lucero (ascolano)
• McEvoy ranch organic
• Lefas
• Terra Delissa

Stay away from
• Bertolli
• Carapelli
• Colavita
• Star
• Pompeian
• Filippo Berio
• Mazzola
• Mezzatta
• Newman’s own


McEvoy is pretty expensive for cooking though. Don’t know the price of the others

Yeah, figured there was a bunch that were too expensive for my uses. This is just a preliminary list. I plan to shop around and pare everything down to the 100ml to make a comparison.

Capt, reading this thread, there is still something I don’t understand. Maybe you know, or the HOs can set me straight. Have been informed that cooking with extra virgin olive oil is pointless because any amount of heat destroys the distinctive flavor of the oil. That’s why regular olive oil, the bland, cheaper stuff, is used for actual cooking (versus dribbling, dressings, dipping etc). Many of the responders are using EVOO for cooking. ? for you: Do you still get olive oil flavor?

Sidebar: After reading news stories about the levels of adulteration in European imports, I’ve been buying Cal products. Out of laziness, really, hesitant to try to tease out which brands were guilty.

I never use extra virgin for cooking, and don’t know anyone who does. Seems like a waste of money and good oil. I just use the cheaper, slutty stuff…pan fry, saute, etc.

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I have used (non-ev) olive oil for dry/saute more than a decade, on a gas stove. the smoke point is quite high enough; the smoke point of evoo is lowest of the batch. if one has a pan heated close to the smoke point of virgin olive oil (nominally 390’F / 199’C) there may be other issues in the kitchen - and note also one will find a very wide range of “smoke point” temperatures depending on source.

as reported multliple places, there apparently is quite a lot of fraud in the olive oil business. any number of ‘investigations’ have been published. most invovle the premium priced “extra virgin” grades.
there are sensory tests - a bunch of “experts” site around tasting olive oils and pronoucing whether it’s good or bad.

there are chemical / objective / quantifiable tests - various grades are supposed to meet various “standards” - there’s an Italian standard, a German standard, an Australian standard, the International Olive Council (IOC) standard, etc etc - and there was some work about a USA standard but I have not kept up with the status of that.

these folks did multliple extensive studies / research:

it is worth reading - one does actually have to read - not just look at the pretty charts - to actually become more knowledgeable on the topic.

here’s a spoiler: extra virgin olive oils the sensory panel liked failed the chemical test - lots and lots of them. conversely, those that pass the chemical tests with flying colors . . . did not make it on the sensory test.

go figger - there is no accounting for taste.

Here’s another link from the blog for that page, which is dated 2012: http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/blog Disappointing, to say the least.