The 12 Best Olive Oils of 2023, According to Food & Wine
Our list includes highly giftable picks from editor-favorite brands including Graza, Brightland, and Corto.
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Food and Wine / Caitlin Bensel
There's something so simple and perfect about gifting a delicious bottle of olive oil. Whether it's from sunny California or the heart of Tuscany, high-end EVOOs are an instant way to elevate just about any meal. While it's smart to use basic and blended olive oils for sautéeing, baking, and roasting, any chef worth their salt keeps a bottle of the good stuff on hand for dressings, drizzling, and adding that certain je ne sais quoi to any meal.
High-quality olive oil makes a great gift. Many of our favorites are packaged in gorgeous bottles, jars, and tins that eliminate the need for gift wrap. And while olive oil won't last forever, it's less perishable than, say, a box of pastries. Your giftee won't feel pressured to use it all right away.
To get the inside story about how to choose a good bottle of olive oil, we spoke with two EVOO experts, Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani, founders of the olive oil brand EXAU and authors of The Olive Oil Enthusiast, about what makes a good olive oil so special, and how to find the best ones. These picks hit the mark for olive oil that's so good, you’ll want to keep finding creative uses for it.
You get to try two different olive oils. The packaging protects the oil against UV light.
There is no pour spout included, so drizzling straight from the bottle isn't easy.
Brightland paved the way in demystifying olive oil's many nuanced tasting notes, and they’ve since become a leader in the specialty oil market. This set comes with two different blends that showcase the agricultural and culinary diversity of olives. The Awake blend is perfect for cooking, thanks to its 410° smoke point (that's higher than most EVOOs). In a taste test, we favored its "peppery kick," which was a knockout drizzled into sauces. The Alive blend is pitch-perfect as a dip for bread, thanks to its smooth, grassy-clean flavor profile.
All of Brightland's oils are made from olives grown on small family farms in California, and they’re processed by cold pressing, to preserve the flavor integrity. We love that the harvest date is indicated when you place an order, so you can be assured it's a super fresh product. Brightland is a woman and minority-owned business that's captured the hearts of many a pro chef and home cook — and if you fall for them as hard as we have, you’ll be happy to know you can get a discount with a subscription and that they sell vinegar and honey, too.
Price at time of publish: $74
It's inexpensive for high-end, luxury olive oil. The squeeze bottle is great for cooking.
The set sometimes sells out. Storing olive oil in plastic bottles may also mean a slightly shorter shelf life.
Graza's branding is gorgeous, but this meteorically rising brand of olive oil is about more than just good looks. Graza is committed to transparency in its marketing, sharing information about exactly when each batch of olives was harvested. Their Drizzle oil is from early-season olives, prized for their bold flavor. The Sizzle is made from olives harvested later in the season when they are better for cooking — it adds a "mellow hint of flavor" without overpowering your meal.
The result is two highly versatile oils that can handle any cooking task in your kitchen. Both options are refreshingly approachable for home cooks. Thanks to their squeeze bottle format, you don't have to fumble with a screw top or worry about accidentally adding a quarter-cup more than you meant to. Add in the fact that you can buy via a pause-able subscription, and this social media-famous oil is ideal for gifting.
Price at time of publish: $35
Branche is a direct-to-consumer company. All of the olives are sourced from a single farm in Spain.
There is no pour spout, so drizzling straight from the bottle isn't easy.
While direct-to-consumer cookware companies are all the rage, Spain-based Branche is one the first companies to break into the olive oil DTC space. Founded by Carlos Agudo, a professional olive oil taster with years of experience, Branche aims to demystify the luxury olive oil space and boost transparency in sourcing and processing. Branche's olives come not just from the same country or region but a single family-owned farm in southern Spain.
Branche hand-labels its bottles with the harvest date — not the milled or bottled date — and every single one is inspected by sensory experts to ensure the tasting and olfactory notes are accurate. No. 1, Branche's bold and herbaceous oil, is made with Arbequina, Hojiblanca, and Picual olives and is ideal for pairing with a loaf of the "good" bread. No. 2, its Arbequina-only blend, is delicate, soft, and buttery, and the oil to pour on vanilla ice cream.
Price at time of publish: $77
It's chef-approved and comes in a large box, ideal for filling cruets or using in professional kitchens.
While useful, the box is not the most aesthetically-pleasing package.
Chefs love Corto. This northern California-born cold-pressed olive oil company is well-respected in the restaurant industry. "I love the texture Corto's oil gives when you make pasta," says Silvia Barban, the chef and owner at LaRina Pastifico e Vino. But truly good olive oil is versatile. Corto is excellent in more than just spaghetti. Holly Gale, the pastry chef and owner at Hearth Patisserie, praises it for its flavor, which she says goes well with dark chocolate.
Corto is a chef's product with packaging designed for quality and efficiency. The oil comes in a 3-liter vacuum-sealed bag inside a box, which is fitted with an easy-to-use spout — the spout design keeps air away from the oil, preserving its freshness. (If the large format is a little too extra for you, try their 500-milliliter bottle, which is tinted to protect the oil from the sun.)
Corto offers other oils, including flavored options, but Truly is the gold standard for chefs. It's made from a blend of Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki olives for a well-rounded, versatile flavor that's great in just about everything.
Price at time of publish: $24
This set is already beautifully gift-wrapped.
If you want larger format bottles, you’ll have to buy them separately.
Some say that good olive oil is a lifestyle. Fans of Kosterina already know it's true — this brand makes olive oil-infused skincare products! But we’re here for the pure stuff, which the Greek and woman-founded company does exceptionally well. Their gift set combines two of their most popular bottles: The Original, which is best for finishing, and the Everyday, which can handle any pan of roasted veggies or grilled fish you throw at it.
Unlike some grocery store brands which claim to be made from Greek olives, this brand is truly 100% sourced in Greece (it's where the Kosterina family is from), and all of their olives are harvested early to maximize the amount of bio-available antioxidants. We love how Kosterina's oil tastes and how versatile they are, and they truly shine when purchased as a set. Even the bottles are designed to evoke the beautiful Mediterranean sea in their calming blue and white hues.
Price at time of publish: $54
This package contains four different flavored oils, so you can try a lot. The bottles are pretty enough to store on the counter.
You can't substitute or customize the flavors included.
Our second pick from Cali-based Brightland celebrates big, bold flavors — as well as trailblazing artists. This set comes with four bottles of flavored oil, each with an eye-catching label designed by a unique artist. With chili, garlic, lemon, and basil-infused oils made from real ingredients (no "chemical compounds" here), this is the set you’ll want to reach for when a salad, soup, or dip needs an extra something-something.
Like all of Brightland's oils, the olive varietal is listed for each bottle, and they’re milled within 90 minutes of harvest for a truly fresh product. The most recent batch was harvested in November of 2022 and ships beginning in June. Brightland continues to go above and beyond for extra brand credit with opaque, UV-coated bottles made from recycled glass. We’re obsessed.
Price at time of publish: $150
Packaged in tins, this oil is well-protected from UV rays and will last longer. The company prioritizes relationships with women producers and growers.
All tins contain the same blend of oil, so you don't get to try multiple varieties.
Pineapple Collaborative is a company that sparks joy: Even the name is fun. The olive oil is good stuff, too. Made from Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki olives, it's a "use on everything and don't stress about it" blend that you’ll reach for every time you cook. We also like this set for its aesthetics. In our review of best olive oils, we took particular note of the "white, salmon-, and mustard-colored tins are perfect for gifting or leaving out on your kitchen counter."
Pineapple Collaborative is also a company that champions women in a male-dominated industry. Its oil is made in partnership with olive oil producer Kathryn Tomajan, and from its inception in 2015, it's been a company that focuses on building an inclusive community. All that, and it tastes amazing with crusty bread? We’ll take two sets, please.
Price at time of publish: $38
This brand is widely available and found in many grocery stores.
Its ubiquity makes it not ideal for gifting.
California Olive Ranch was doing single-origin, US-sourced oils before it was cool. It has since grown into a global company stocked in grocery stores all over. While the company's heart is still in California, it now sources olives from across the world. With so many different products to choose from — including infused varieties and olive oils blended with other oils, like avocado — we reach for this global blend for everyday cooking tasks.
Because its olives are sourced from four different countries, this blend won't knock your socks off with expressions of terroir, and that's the point. It's perfect for cooking and is priced accordingly. Unlike some other grocery store brands, which can be questionable, California Olive Ranch's name is synonymous with fresh, responsibly-sourced olives, so even though this is "just" a blend, it's guaranteed to be high quality.
Price at time of publish: $16
This Italian-made oil is incredibly fragrant and flavorful.
The clear glass jar may cause the oil to degrade faster if stored in the sunlight. There is no pour spout.
If an impromptu trip to Tuscany isn't in the cards, Laudemio's Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the next best thing. You’ll want to have a loaf of excellent Italian bread on hand, too. This oil is sourced from 21 different estates around Tuscany and crafted by master blenders to create a consistent product that immediately brings to mind the rolling, sun-baked hills of Tuscany.
This EVOO is the real deal, with an assertive, bold, and peppery bite that should not be heated. It's amassed a bit of a cult following owing to its unique flavor. Save it for dipping and drizzling, and see why devotees of this brand refuse to buy anything else.
Price at time of publish: $37
This oil is made by a company with a commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.
The bottles, although UV-protected, do not contain a pour spout.
Harvesting olives early in the growing season (just as soon as they are ripe) helps to preserve their delicate compounds. This contributes to fresh, nuanced flavor, as well as protects the naturally occurring antioxidants. Plus, Heraclea is one of the few companies that has a truly single-origin pedigree: Its olives come from a 100-acre family-owned grove.
Heraclea is deeply committed to sustainable agricultural practices, including their commitment to growing without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. The company also pays fair wages to all its partners and growers. If you just choose one oil from Heraclea, make it the Early Harvest, which is fruity, grassy, and peppery. But if your budget allows, you won't regret springing for The Pairing, which contains both Early and Mature Harvest oils, for a well-rounded pantry collection you can use all year round for any occasion.
Price at time of publish: $28
This California-produced oil is sold by a small company. It comes in two different sizes.
The company doesn't share much information about the specific growers, harvest, or milling process.
ENZO began as a specialty food shop highlighting California's local agricultural and artisanal food products, and we are so happy it has expanded its reach nationwide. It's easy to get lost in all ENZO's offerings (Specialty vinegar! Granola! Jam, honey, and biscotti!), but stay focused on olive oil, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best spicy-peppery oil you’ve ever tasted.
Certified kosher, non-GMO, and organic, this is a wholesome oil with a solid pedigree, and its kicky flavor makes it great for applications where the oil is the star. Looking for something a little less traditional? ENZO also offers plenty of infused oils, and large-format tins ideal for enthusiasts.
Price at time of publish: $15
This oil comes in a squeeze bottle for easy application.
It's a little pricey. The cap may leak a little.
Blue cheese, who? We never thought we’d dip our crusts in anything else, but Brightland's latest offering has us convinced: This is the thing our pizza has been missing. It's infused with jalapeños, garlic, oregano, and basil for that authentic pizzeria flavor. "The oil's flavor is quite balanced to me, as you can taste everything you need to just enough without it being overwhelming," noted Kristin Montemarano in a recent review.
We appreciate that, as with all Brightland's products, this one's sourcing and harvest details are easily accessible (it's made with a mix of Arbequina, Arbosana, and Mission oils from California's Central Coast and Valley). And while it's really what's inside that counts, we’re still enamored with the bottle's packaging, which brings to mind red checkered tablecloths at those Italian-American pizza joints we all know and love.
Price at time of publish: $32
When choosing olive oil, it's helpful to know how you intend to use it. Early harvest oils are bold and nuanced in flavor — they’re the "special occasion" oils best for drizzling and dipping. But if you’re looking for something a little more versatile (and typically cheaper), a mid or late-season harvest variety is the best bottle for you: These tend to be mellower, and better for cooking. In general, it's also preferable to save single-origin olive oils for finishing and use the blended stuff for all your sautéeing, roasting, and baking needs.
The flavor in each bottle of olive oil is affected by a variety of factors. The type of olive (such as Arbequina and Arbosana) matters. So does the region where it's grown. There's also harvest time — early harvests make for bolder oils — and milling and pressing techniques. Finally, if oil is blended, that will impact the flavor, too. Extra virgin olive oil flavor is typically described as being either peppery and spicy, buttery, or fruity, but the tasting notes go way beyond that. Mapes says that any of the following olfactory notes can be found in olive oil (and these are just the tip of the iceberg): artichoke, almond, chamomile and cinnamon (really!), tomato leaf, plum, and even walnut.
Olive oil can be packaged in glass, plastic, or tin containers. Plastic makes for an inexpensive product, and can be combined with a squeeze top for easy application. Glass looks attractive, making it great for gifting, but unless it's tinted or coated in a UV-protective layer, it may turn rancid quicker. Tins are often used for their ability to be large-format. If the oil you purchased isn't in a package that's conducive to daily use, you can always transfer it to a plastic squeeze bottle, or add an inexpensive pour spout on top.
Olive oil labeling can be misleading. Some producers, particularly of the grocery store variety, claim to be made in a certain country. While that may be technically true, the oils may come from many different countries. Look for bottles or tins of olive oil that clearly state where the olives are from — whether it's a single estate, region, or a blend of different countries. Single-origin oils tend to have greater expressions of terroir or "sense of place," while global or regional blends are often less expensive, and more versatile.
Olives are high in polyphenols, which contribute to olive oil's antioxidant properties. Olive oil is also naturally high in monounsaturated fat, a heart-healthy variety of fat prized for its prominence in the Mediterranean diet.
Olive oil that is made from late-harvest olives is better for cooking because the flavor is mellower. Blended oils are also good for cooking because they (generally) have a more mellow flavor. Save the extra virgin olive oil for finishing, dipping, and drizzling.
Says Tom Mueller, the author of the book Extra Virginity, "Quality extra virgin olive oil is a fine choice for sautéing and shallow frying, so long as its flavor doesn't overpower the food." But he adds that using extra virgin olive oil for frying, or high-temperature cooking is uneconomical — and because those cooking processes can accentuate the inherent harsh or bitter flavors inherent in the oil.
"Olive oil" is an umbrella term that comprises regular, virgin, and extra virgin olive oil," says Mapes. The difference is in the production methods and levels of refinement. "Regular olive oil is a heavily refined product," says Mapes. It has been refined through heat and pressure, which both deodorizes and homogenizes the oil. Although a small percentage of the good stuff (EVOO!) is added to enrich the product, it's best saved for cooking, thanks to its neutral taste.
"Extra virgin olive oil is the least refined and boasts the most flavor and depth," Mapes says. It comes from the first-milled olives, and the refinement must be carried out below 80.6°F. She adds that it must also meet a slew of requirements for free fatty acids and peroxide levels — these qualities are lab-tested. "It also must be free of sensory defects, or in simpler terms it has to smell and taste good."
And here's a fun fact to keep in mind while shopping: EVOO comes in a variety of different colors, "ranging from pale yellow to vibrant green." That color is the result of olive variety, soil and growing conditions, and harvest date — it's not an indication of quality.
Olive oil should be stored out of direct sunlight, as the UV rays will expedite the degradation process. If you prefer to keep your oil on the counter (as opposed to in a cupboard), choose a glass container that's opaque or tinted. Tins are also a smart choice, as they keep out the sunlight.
"Storing olive oil in plastic is a hot topic right now," says Mapes, citing studies that have proven the interaction between plastic polymer and olive oil reduces the shelf life. "This means the olive oil runs the risk of oxidizing and going rancid much sooner than it should," Mapes says. The best place to keep those bottles and tins is in a cool, dark place. Says Mapes, "A lot of people forget about that dry part but the product doesn't like humidity!"
And yes, it does matter: "Even an excellent oil can rapidly go rancid when left sitting under a half-bottle of air, or in hot or brightly-lit conditions," says Mueller. (Corto's Truly EVOO described above eliminates that "half bottle of air" problem with their gravity-aided spout design.) All that said, if you use and cook with olive oil with abandon, it's okay to store it out in the open, next to the stove — a cruet or squeeze bottle makes it easy to dispense the perfect amount of oil, totally mess-free.
You absolutely can! This storage method makes it easy to use without accidentally adding too much. Some of our favorite olive oils, like Brightland and Graza, package their oils in easy-to-use, inexpensive squeeze bottles. But you can transfer other oil to an inexpensive bottle. Keep in mind that unless the bottle is opaque, UV rays may cause it to turn rancid faster. So use it up.
"Technically speaking olive oil doesn't expire, but because it's a fat, it does go rancid," says Mapes. "Over time the product stops tasting as good and begins to go flat." She recommends using bottles within 45 days after opening them. And of course, storing them away from heat, light, and humidity will increase their lifespan. If you’re storing your oil in a transparent squeeze bottle next to the stove, it may degrade faster.
If you want to boost the shelf life of your olive oil, don't open it until you plan on using it. Mapes says that unopened bottles and tins can be kept in a cool, dark, dry place for up to two years from the harvest date. But don't go tossing all those unopened tins from 2020 or earlier. Says Mapes, "Open it up and give it a sniff, if it smells like crayons then it's rancid and can be used for odd jobs around the house. If it still smells faintly good and you’re feeling adventurous, give it a taste. If it's palatable the product can likely be used for batch baking or frying."
Rochelle Bilow is a food writer and editor with over a decade of professional experience. Previously a senior associate editor and social media manager at Bon Appétit and Cooking Light magazines, Rochelle is also a novelist, a culinary school graduate, and a former professional baker and line cook. In writing this article, she researched dozens of brands of olive oil and interviewed multiple olive oil experts.Price at time of publish: $74 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $35 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $77 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $24 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $54 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $150 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $38 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $16 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $37 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $28 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $15 Size: Country of origin: Use: Price at time of publish: $32 Size: Country of origin: Use: