Olive Oil vs. Vegetable Oil: Which Is Healthier?

Olive Oil vs. Vegetable Oil

Olive Oil vs. Vegetable Oil: Which Is Healthier?

Olive Oil vs. Vegetable Oil

Cooks commonly use olive oil and vegetable oil while cooking. Each of these oils has different properties that make it ideal for specific tasks, like sautéing vegetables or making sauces.

Comparing olive oil and vegetable oil side-by-side, this article digs into their distinctiveness, from taste to nutrition and potential health benefits.

Differences Between Olive Oil And Vegetable Oil

Although they both come from plants, olive oil and vegetable oil have distinct methodologies of production, taste profiles, and health benefits.

Processing And Flavor

Once extracted, plant oils go through a cleaning process with chemicals and heat to remove any impurities and make them last longer. The more processing an oil goes through, the fewer nutrients and flavor it has.
The difference between minimally processed extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil is noticeable in their respective flavors – the former tastes like olives, while the latter is blander.
The healthiest olive oil is an extra virgin because it’s made from the first cold pressing of ripe olives and has no chemicals or artificial flavors.
In contrast, vegetable oil comes from blending oils from various sources like canola, cottonseed, sunflower, soybean, and corn. Therefore, it requires more processing, such as removing impurities and creating a neutral-flavored blend.


How much processing the oil goes through affects not only its flavor but also how nutritious it is.

Although both olive and vegetable oils share unsaturated fatty acids, olive oil has a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid. On the other hand, vegetable oil is composed primarily of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.

Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats offer anti-inflammatory and heart-health benefits, while excess omega-6 polyunsaturated fats can be pro-inflammatory and damage your cardiovascular system.

It’s also worth mentioning that the more refining an oil goes through, the fewer micronutrients and healthy compounds it contains.

Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed type of olive oil. It is, therefore, rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds like tocopherols and carotenoids, and micronutrients like vitamins E and K.

The refining process used to make vegetable oil not only destroys micronutrients, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds– including tocopherols, phytosterols, polyphenols, and coenzyme Q– but also significantly harms the environment.


Unlike vegetable oil, olive oil comes from pure olives that are minimally processed to retain the most micronutrients. Extra virgin olive oil has even more benefits because it is the least processed of all olive oils.

Similarities Between Olive And Vegetable Oil

The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which its fat breaks down into glycerol and free fatty acids. Most olive oil and vegetable oil blends have similar smoke points, typically around 400°F (205°C).

The process of making some types of olive oil, like pomace oil, strips it of micronutrients and flavor. The resulting taste is more neutral than that characteristic extra virgin olive oil flavor.

The next time you’re at the grocery store looking for a delicious and nutritious olive oil, make sure to grab one that says “virgin” or “extra virgin” on the label. These types of oils have undergone less processing than other types, meaning they’ll likely be more flavorful as well.


The smoke points of olive oil and vegetable oil are quite close. Because it lacks micronutrients, highly refined olive oil is more like vegetable oil than extra virgin olive oil.

Which Oil Is Healthier?

Olive oil, especially extra virgin, is among the least processed cooking oils on the shelves. This means it retains the most antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

For example, olive oil’s antioxidant and polyphenolic compounds have shown heart health benefits in numerous research studies.

Vegetable oil, on the other hand, undergoes a lot of processing to neutralize its flavor and blend several types of plant oils. This means it has minimal beneficial nutrients, leaving just empty calories.

Not only is olive oil better for your heart, but it may also improve brain function.

A study conducted showed that those who replaced their vegetable oil intake with extra virgin olive oil had improved cognitive function in older adults.

Although all oils have benefits and drawbacks, extra-virgin olive oil is generally healthier than vegetable oils.


Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest option because it is minimally processed and contains more beneficial compounds.

Olive Oil vs. Vegetable Oil: The Bottom Line

Both vegetable oil and olive oil are commonly used when cooking.
Vegetable oils are usually a blend of several plant-based oils that have been highly processed to remove any natural flavors, while olive oil comes from olives and has a more pronounced flavor.
Vegetable oil does not contain many healthy micronutrients and plant compounds found in plants. It is also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation.
Unlike its processed counterpart, extra-virgin olive oil contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids. These can aid in heart and brain health.
Extra virgin olive oil is healthier if you want to include plant oils in your diet.

Why Choose Stefan & Sons?

Olive oil is a staple in many kitchens, and choosing a quality brand to enhance your food is essential. Stefan & Sons only imports the best olive oils so that you can be confident you are using a great product. With our olive oils, you can be sure you are getting the best flavor and quality possible.