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What is Extra Light Olive Oil?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Extra light olive oil is olive oil that has been heavily refined so that it has a pale color and minimal flavor. The term is also not heavily governed by food regulation agencies in many countries, so the ingredients in this oil may vary. Since it has a higher smoking point than many other types of olive oil, it is suitable for high heat cooking and baking. The neutral flavor makes it a poor choice for dishes in which the taste of olive oil is desired, however.

There are several ways to make extra light olive oil. The first involves heavily refining olive oil through heating and a series of filters. The end product is a very pale oil that is virtually scentless and has a very light flavor. Other producers make olive oil extra light by adding virgin olive oil to other oils, such as vegetable or canola. The resulting oil has a high smoking point and a very light flavor provided by adding a dash of olive oil.

The labeling of olive oil can be somewhat misleading. Some consumers, especially in the United States, associate “light” and “extra light” with foods that are low in fat. Extra light olive oil has the same fat content as regular oil, since olive oil is 100% fat. In this instance, the “light” is a reference to the color and flavor.

Like other oils, extra light olive oil should be stored in a cool dry place to prevent it from going rancid. When stored well, the olive oil should last for around six months. Refrigeration can extend the life for up to one year. If an oil is flavored with additions such as peppers and herbs, refrigeration is highly recommended since the plant material can cause it to go rancid more quickly.

When frying foods or subjecting them to high heat, extra light olive oil is a good choice of cooking oil. The dish can always be finished with virgin or extra virgin olive oil for its flavor without the risk of burning. When making baked goods such as breads, this oil can also be used, as it is generally agreed that the flavor of virgin olive oil burns off when it is exposed to high heat, making the use of such oils in baking and high-heat cooking rather wasteful.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon297109 — On Oct 15, 2012

Extra virgin olive oil has polyphenols that make it a healthier choice for uncooked applications. For cooking applications, the lighter refined variety is a better choice because heat destroys the flavor and degrades the polyphenols in less refined olive oil into substances that can actually be detrimental.

By anon158218 — On Mar 06, 2011

Anon114555 is right. A higher smoke point is what you want for high heat cooking. Extra light has a higher smoke point, not a lower one as you state in your first paragraph.

By anon127541 — On Nov 16, 2010

thanks, because that was confusing me too!

By anon114555 — On Sep 29, 2010

Extra light olive oil has a "higher" smoke point than many other types of olive oil! It's not "lower".

Stop confusing people.

By anon93147 — On Jul 02, 2010

"What is the nutritional difference between extra virgin olive oil and light?"


By anon34672 — On Jun 26, 2009

What is the nutritional difference between extra virgin olive oil and light?

By anon18862 — On Sep 30, 2008

does olive oil become a trans fat when frying with it?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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