Is Olive Oil Gluten Free?

Is Olive Oil Gluten-Free?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the above question was obvious and easy to answer. After all, olives are gluten-free, so surely their oil should be gluten-free too. If it was that simple, this post would be finished before it even got started.

However, as we are going to explain, it is not that simple at all. Given how serious a reaction you can have consuming even a small amount of gluten when you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, it pays to know what olive oil is and is not gluten-free.

In most cases, when it is derived from olives and no other ingredients, yes olive oil is gluten-free. There are brands and varieties of olive oil, though, that use other flavourings and additives that have gluten, such as malt and others that suffer from cross-contamination by coming into contact with gluten ingredients during manufacturing, processing, or storage.

What Is Olive Oil?

Olive oil is the staple of Mediterranean cuisine. When it is not used as a source of healthy fat in cooking, it is used as a condiment or flavouring agent. Olive plants are not glutinous and therefore olive oil is not either.

How Olive Oil Is Made

Although the actual techniques used to extract the oil may have changed since olive oil was first used either medicinally, in cooking or in food preparation, the basics are still the same. The traditional and most common method of extracting the oil is by pressing olives until the oil comes out. Commercially, larger-scale presses are used, as are centrifuge systems and the cold dipping technique.

Types of Olive Oil

There are a wide variety of different types of olive oils, but the four main types you will be most familiar with are:

  • Light Olive Oil – the most refined form of olive oil, it has a light yellowish colour, with just a hint of green and is recommended for high-temperature cooking.
  • Pure Olive Oil – you may find this type of olive oil simply labelled as ‘olive oil’ and is another highly refined form. It has a green-yellowy colour and is less viscous than its extra virgin olive oil counterpart and neutral taste. As it smokes less than extra virgin varieties, it is the better option for cooking with.
  • Virgin Olive Oil – virgin olive oil is considered just one step lower than extra virgin olive oil and is only extracted using machinery, and on occasion heat. It has more of light green colour and can be used for cooking and salads because it is less viscous than extra virgin olive oil. It is also a lot less expensive.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – extra virgin olive oil is widely considered by experts to be the best. This form is only produced with the use of chemical extraction such as cold dipping, centrifuge or pressing and is generally cold-pressed. Much darker in colour than virgin olive oil, it still has a green hue and has a higher viscosity than other olive oils. It has a strong olive flavour, which is why it is often the oil of choice in dressings and vinaigrettes. As it smokes heavily when it reaches too high a temperature, it is best avoided for recipes that require high-heat cooking.

Is Olive Oil Gluten-Free?

As noted earlier, given that most olive oil is made solely from oil extracted from oils, it is usually gluten-free. However, there are several reasons why packaged and sold olive oil may not be gluten-free by the label.

For olive oil to be given a gluten-free label, it has to have been tested to ensure that the oil has not come into contact with anything containing gluten during the extraction, production and packaging process.

How Can Gluten End Up in Olive Oil?

There are two key ways that gluten can end up in olive oil –

  • Cross-contamination

Cross-contamination can occur during processing because although it is special equipment, the same type of equipment may be used by the same company or brand to make wheat germ oil. Cross-contamination could also occur simply because the olive oil is produced in a facility that is also used to process gluten-rich products.

  • Additives and flavourings are added to the oil that contains gluten, such as malt etc.

When olive oils have added ingredients for flavouring, it could be that the ingredients used contain gluten or are derived from a type of gluten grain. This is most commonly a problem with smoke-flavoured oils as barley is used to produce the natural smoke flavouring and is gluten-rich. There could also be flavourings or spices that have a trace level of gluten. That is why it is always a good idea to look for trusted and certified labels that guarantee olive oil is gluten-free.

Which Brands of Olive Oil Are Gluten-Free?

Several brands go to great lengths to ensure that their olive oil is strictly gluten-free. Iliada, in particular, produces high quality and affordable olive oil that is directly sourced from olives and does not suffer from cross-contamination at any stage of the process from harvest to packaging nor does it feature any additives or flavourings that contain gluten.


As most olive oils are solely made by extracting the oil from olives and olives are gluten-free, the resulting oils are also gluten-free. However, as noted in the post above, there are situations and circumstances when olive oil can have gluten content, albeit it is a trace amount.

If you suffer from a gluten allergy or celiac disease, therefore, it is best to consult the labels or ingredient and product description related to olive oils you are interested in buying to make sure they are 100% gluten-free.

When you choose Iliada olive oil, the company guarantees that no gluten is used or comes into contact with their olive oils at any stage in the production process.