I was skeptical about baking with olive oil. But, I attended a preview of the new We Olive store in La Jolla and during our olive oil tasting, our expert suggested substituting their blood orange olive oil for butter when baking cookies and cakes. I tried it.

I decided to use the basic Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is on the back of Nestle chocolate chip packs. I’ve known the recipe by heart since I was about 9 years old and definitely know what the cookies should taste like. This was no time to try a new recipe because I’d never be able to tell if the olive oil changed the taste or texture.

The great thing about baking with olive oil is that kids can stir it. Softened butter is too difficult, at least for La Jolla Girl, so I use a hand or stand mixer. For this, we just used a spoon. The dough was noticeably shinier.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

We did use the blood orange flavored olive oil from We Olive. You could taste and smell the citrus, but it wasn’t overpowering. And let me tell you, the cookie dough was delicious. The recipe calls for 1 cup of butter. As I started to pour the olive oil into the measuring cup, my gut told me to put in a bit less so I didn’t fill it to the top. That was lucky, because here is the conversion chart that seems to be universal across the web.

I let La Jolla Girl drop the cookie dough on to the cookie sheet.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I prefer gooey cookies so I take them out as soon as they start to brown on the edges, even if they look a bit uncooked in the middle. I suspect that you’ll need to be more careful about this when baking with olive oil. I forgot once and baked them until they were golden on top (without being overcooked). That batch turned out crunchy and light. With butter, baked like this, they would still be kind of soft. If you like gooey cookies, bake them until they look like this.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookes Baked

And when you break the olive oil chocolate chip cookies open, they will look like this. They are a little greasier on the inside, but in a good way.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Benefits Of Baking With Olive Oil

In the absence of blood orange olive oil or another fancy flavor, it’s recommended that you use extra light olive oil. The benefits of baking with olive oil instead of butter include:

  • Olive oil cuts the amount of fat in your recipe by about 25%.
  • Olive oil has much less saturated fat than butter.
  • Olive oil has no cholesterol. Butter does.
  • Substituting olive oil is a great way to get more monounsaturated fat and polyphenolic compounds in your diet.
  • It’s easier for kids to stir and may eliminate you having to use a mixer. I will incorporate it more in my kids recipes.
  • Olive oil can enhance the flavor of your recipe, depending on what kind you use.
  • Your kids won’t notice the difference. Most other people won’t either.

By the way, did you know that to taste olive oil properly you pour it into a small container, cover with your hand, swirl and then sniff?

Have you baked with olive oil before? Share your thoughts.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Your cookies look fabulous! I have 3 school age kids who like to help in the kitchen, too. Last year we made an orange olive oil pumpkin bread that was delicious. The citrus complemented the pumpkin and spices well. Very aromatic. A few more sweets I’ve tried with EVOO: orange olive oil in the pan while cooking french toast; lemon olive oil pound cake; lemon thyme olive oil cookies; chocolate orange olive oil cookies; even an olive oil gelato.


    1. You are totally, totally right. That blood orange olive oil would be to die for in pumpkin bread AND french toast. I am going to try it!

  2. These look So Good! I’m going to try it! I’m in week 17 of my pregnancy and having craving for the first time and for chocolate chip cookies! Yum! I’ve put in olive oil instead of canola oil in brownie recipes. I found it made them a bit dense. However, the brownies were still pretty delicious 🙂

    1. With cookies, if you like gooey, I think the key is not to overcook them. I think I would like the denser brownie actually – I guess it’s all a matter of taste! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Looks great. Am planning on making choc chip cookies tomorrow with Nana, so will try this. Now I have to figure out what to do with all the butter I bought!

    1. There is always a place for butter! I just think it depends on how you like your cookies to taste. I just replied to Debbie that I had an unexpected house full of people last night so I defrosted some of these that I had frozen. They had no idea and ate all of them. Though there was wine involved!

  4. Thanks for this great idea! I tried it with rice krispies treats when I didn’t have enough butter and it was just as yummy – Olivia and Sophie didn’t notice a difference!

    1. I had a house full of people last night so I defrosted some. People raved and had no idea they had olive oil in them. Granted, they were drinking plenty of wine, but I consider that a victory. They were the ones I slightly over-baked too, but I’m learning there’s a whole collective of people who prefer crunchy cookies. I am not one of them! Hope you guys are well!

  5. Hello!
    I am baking chocolate chip cookies and was wondering if it would work to substitute oil for butter, because we don’t have butter at the moment…And my family always bakes with Olive Oil because of the health benefits. So thank you for the answer! Your cookies look divine, and great food photography!! (Also I like chewy, gooey cookies too!)

    Thanks 🙂

  6. Hello! I am going to try to substitute olive oil in cookies, as well as a mix of yogurt and a bit of butter. Your chart and information is so helpful – thank you! 🙂 I saw this site today via Mama’s Gotta Bake (blog) and thought, hmmm – I need to make some cookies and get involved: http://www.cookiesforkidscancer.org/

    I love your blog.

  7. Thanks for the recipe – I ran low on butter and this helped.
    One thing to note: baking with olive oil will not decrease the oil content by 25% as you stated. Butter is only 80% fat (20$ water etc), so by using 25% olive oil it’s only 5% less fat, a negligible difference.

  8. This is in reply to Brian (first reply above):

    Disagree completely…

    Actually the author understates the fat values of olive oil vs butter. A typical batch of sugar cookies which calls for a cup of butter has a heart attack amount of saturated fat which is all we care about, the other fats are healthy and essential.

    1 cup of butter = 112 grams of saturated fat
    3/4 cups olive oil = 12

    Let’s say you get 2 dozen cookies out of this. That’s 4.7 grams/cookie for butter vs .5 grams/cookie made with olive oil. You chow down on 6 of those that’s 28 grams vs 3 grams of saturated fat!

    Almost a 90% difference in saturated fat…hardly negligiable. Not to mention the saturated fat in olive oil is healthier (plant base) vs butter’s animal based fat.