Cold Extracted vs Cold Pressed Olive Oil: The Differences Explained

Published Categorized as Ingredients, Journal Tagged

Cold extracted vs cold pressed – we’ve all wondered what it means at some point! But don’t fret, in this article we’ll not only explore the differences, but the best ways to use them too.

Hey there! This site is reader-supported and I earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from this site.
person pouring olive oil from green and black bottle

Table of Contents

The Difference Between Cold Extracted and Cold Pressed

When the terms ‘cold pressed’ or ‘cold extracted’ are used, they are in reference to oils – when concerning the kitchen, typically olive oil! You’re most likely to have seen it when shopping for virgin or extra virgin olive oil and wondered to yourself which you should buy.

Well, the truth is that it depends what you’re after!

Cold Extracted vs Cold Pressed – Similarities

Both cold extracted and cold pressed oils are oils that are NOT heated over 27°C/80°F during processing. So they keep more nutrients than they would have through other means of extraction.

Since these processes do not involve an excess of heat or chemical solvents, they are able to retain their original taste and aroma (and nutrients!) better than heated or chemically processed oils.

This is why cold pressed and cold extracted oils are generally considered to be a of a higher quality than other oils.

Cold Extracted vs Cold Pressed – Differences

The key difference between cold pressed and cold extracted oil, maybe surprisingly, also lies in their processing.

The term ‘cold pressed‘ refers to a process where oil is extracted through mechanical means in lieu of centrifugal ones. Traditionally, this pressing was done by hand, but nowadays is done with hydraulic presses.

As you may have guessed, ‘cold extracted‘ then means that the oil is harvested by the percolation or centrifugation of ground olives. The modern process of making olive oil almost exclusively happens by centrifugation (rotating the olive paste really fast to separate the oil from the paste) – check out this guided tour of a family Mill in Italy:

However, there is one topic we have yet to visit – the matter of what ‘first pressed’ means.

What is First Pressed Oil?

Oil labelled ‘first pressed’ is referring to the first yield of the pressed olive paste during cold pressing. The reason that this differentiation even exists is due to the fact that in the past, ground olives were pressed more than once.

This is because the technology at the time was not able to completely drain the olives in one press. The oil from the first press was considered of the highest quality and purity. This is what separates first pressed olive oil from ‘regular’ pressed olive oil.

HOWEVER, modern presses don’t require for the oil to be pressed more than once. So it’s likely that many oils that tout themselves to be ‘first pressed’ are doing so as a marketing strategy rather than any real difference in their processing. Because of this, some countries do not allow this term to be displayed on labels.

Uses in Cooking

Many of us have wondered whether cold extracted olive oil is good for frying. Or if even if cold extracted olive oil is good for cooking in general!

Even though we tend to reserve virgin olive oil for dressings and marinades, the truth of the matter is that its also great for cooking.

This is because cold pressed and cold extracted olive oils have a higher nutritional content than other oils. Their processing allows them to retain this.

All in all, both types of oil are great for frying, baking, sautéing, and roasting!

Check out more oil-related posts on the blog:

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

1 comment

  1. kSo I asked about cold pressed vs cold extracted and you gave me a great explanation on cold pressed…please do the same for cold extracted…what is everyone trying to hide…I want to know why cold extracted? Exactly what it is…which is better? STop beating around the bush…basically by not being more direct or complete you are telling me there is something wrong with cold extracted and I woiuld like to know what.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.