What is "pure" or "classic" olive oil?

March 7, 2017

Sometimes referred to as regular olive oil, "classic" olive oil or just olive oil -- pure olive oil is 100% authentic olive oil that has many of the same health benefits as extra-virgin olive oil at a lower cost. Here are some facts about pure olive oil.


  • Pure olive oil usually contains some extra-virgin or virgin olive oil mixed with refined olive oil.
  • Pure or "classic" olive oil has all of the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as extra-virgin olive oil.
  • The FDA and the American Heart Association have designated olive oils of all qualities, including pure olive oil, as "heart healthy".
  • Pure olive oil may range in color from green to light yellow. Like all olive oils, color is not an indication of flavor.
  • Like all olive oil, pure olive oil may solidify in cold temperatures but this is not an indicator of quality.
  • Pure olive oil should be stored the same way as extra-virgin olive oil to avoid rancidity.

When ‘pure' is used in the product name “Pure Olive Oil” the word is intended to indicate there are no other ingredients or oils in the product other than olive oils, specifically a blend of virgin and refined olive oils.  Pure olive oil  (or "classic olive oil," or simply “olive oil,” which are other terms that describe the same product)  is beloved by those who prefer a lighter tasting olive oil with a higher smoke point than extra virgin—but still with the healthy monounsaturated fat profile.

What is the difference between pure olive oil and "light" olive oil?

Light or extra light olive oil is similar to pure or classic olive oil but contains a higher percentage of refined olive oil. It has the same number of calories and grams of fat as all olive oils. The word "light" means it has a lighter flavor. 

Is pure olive oil "fake" olive oil?

Pure, classic, light and extra-light olive oils are all "real" authentic olive oils. All contain 100% olive oil and are not mixed with seed or vegetable oils unless explicitly stated on the package. There are unsubstantiated rumors on the internet that pure olive oil is being sold as extra-virgin. These rumors are false.

When should I use pure or classic olive oil?

  • Pure olive oil has a milder flavor which makes it a good choice for some recipes. The neutral flavor of the oil will not interfere with other flavors in your dish.
  • Pure olive oil is a good substitute for seed and vegetable oils. Unlike seed oils, olive oil is extracted without the use of solvents making it the more natural choice.
  • Depending on the amount of refined oil it contains, pure olive oil has smoke point of 390⁰ - 470⁰ F -- higher than extra virgin olive oil, canola, vegetable shortening or corn oil.
  • Pure olive oil is cheaper than extra virgin olive oil.

We recommend that families keep more than one bottle of olive oil in their pantries. In addition to a high quality extra virgin olive oil, choose a lower cost olive oil for high heat cooking, deep frying or when you want a neutral flavored oil. 

To find a pure, classic or light olive oil that has been certified for quality and authenticity, check out our list of certified olive oils.

Learn More About Joining the  NAOOA Certified Olive Oil Seal Program


Posted in: About Olive Oil, Buying Olive Oil