Olive Oil Cookies

A common question for cookie lovers who use olive oil for most of their cooking is, "Can olive oil be used in baking cookies?"

The answer is yes, olive oil can be used to bake cookies but the cookies texture will be different - not as tender as with butter. Olive oil cookies tend to have a crispy exterior and a more cakey interior than cookies made with butter.

Olive oil has been used to make cakes and cookies for centuries by those from Mediterranean countries. Using olive oil reduces cholesterol and saturated fats when it is used in place of other fats.

The easiest cookies to make using olive oil would be cookies calling for vegetable oil since the same amount of olive oil can be used in place of the vegetable oil.

Using olive oil in place of butter is more tricky since it will change the texture of the cookie dough.

To substitute olive oil for butter in a cookie recipe, use 25% less. It is often helpful to chill the dough for several hours before baking, especially if the dough is particularly sticky.

Butter to Olive Oil Conversion Chart

ButterOlive Oil
1 teaspoon3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon2 teaspoons
1/4 cup3 tablespoons
1/3 cup1/4 cup
1 cup3/4 cups

Here are several different cookie recipes that use olive oil instead of butter:

Olive Oil Sugar Cookies Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup, or a little more, milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, nonstick foil, or silicone liners. Alternatively spray them with nonstick spray or lightly grease with olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, olive oil, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Use a rubber spatula to stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, just until well combined. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more milk.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen Olive Oil Sugar Cookies.

Recipe source: Mark Bittman's Blog - Bitten

Vermont Ginger Cookies Recipe

This spiced olive oil cookies recipe results in a cakey ginger cookie, less chewy or crisp than those made with butter or shortening. It's a delicious cake-style spice cookie recipe with the health benefits of olive oil.

  • 2/3 cup light olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, nonstick foil, or silicone liners.
  2. Mix all ingredients, except sugar for rolling, in a large bowl.
  3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons into dish of sugar to coat with sugar.
  4. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  5. Press with the back of a fork to flatten slightly.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 48 Vermont Ginger Cookies.

Recipe source: Yankee Church Supper Cookbook, Over 375 recipes of all kinds to fed a family or a crowd - tried, true, tested, and delicious

Holiday Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These cookies are tasty but different because of the olive oil. They are a bit pale, with crispy edges, and are dense in the center. If you are committed to baking with olive oil, these are a definitely worth trying.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat 350F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, nonstick foil, or silicone liners.
  2. In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the olive oil and sugar with an electric mixer till creamy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips, cranberries, coconut, and nuts if using, until incorporated.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookies sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden around the edges.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies onto wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen Holiday Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Recipe sources: H.E.B. website and Cookie Madness Blog

Olive Oil Wedding Cookies Recipe

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, divided
  • 1 cup toasted almond meal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, almond meal, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together the olive oil and almond extract and then stir into the dry ingredients, until a sticky dough forms.
  3. Divide the dough in half and wrap each portion in plastic wrap.
  4. Chill the dough for several hours.
  5. When ready to bake preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough into marble sized balls and place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool cookies on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  9. Roll in remaining 1 cup confectioner's sugar.

Makes about 40 Olive Oil Wedding Cookies.

Recipe source: Colavita olive oil website

Lemon Olive Oil Cookies Recipe

A simple Italian style cookie flavored with lemon and frosted with the icing of your choice. This old recipe is from a family friend whose holiday cookie trays were legendary. I especially like these at Easter with pastel colored icing and sprinkles.

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the oil, lemon extract, lemon juice, zest, flour, baking powder, and salt. The dough should be soft and easy to roll into 1-inch balls or roll into coils. Add a little more flour if the dough is sticky.
  3. Place on baking sheets about 1-inch apart.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until firm.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Ice with butter frosting.

Makes about 6 dozen Lemon Olive Oil Cookies.

Orange Hazelnut Olive Oil Cookies Recipe

  • 2 cups toasted and skinned hazelnuts
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Finely grated zest of 2 oranges (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, and salt until blended; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat the sugar, oil, eggs, zest, and vanilla with an electric beater on low speed until the sugar is moistened, about 15 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until well combined, about 15 seconds more.
  4. Add the dry ingredients mixture and beat on low just until the dough pulls together, about 1 minute.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a piece of parchment. Use the parchment to form the dough into 11 x 2 inch logs. Wrap the parchment around each log and twist the ends.
  6. Chill the dough in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour.
  7. When ready to bake the cookies, position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F degrees.
  8. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  9. Unwrap one log of dough at a time and slice the dough 1/4-inch thick.
  10. Place the slices on lined cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.
  11. Bake two baking sheets at a time, until light golden around the cookies' edges, about 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through for even baking.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the baking pans on wire racks.

Makes about 6 dozen Orange Hazelnut Olive Oil Cookies.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Tip: To skin hazelnuts, toast them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 375F degree oven until the nuts are golden and fragrant, and the skins are mostly split, about 10 minutes. Wrap the hot nuts in a clean dish towel and let them sit for 10 minutes, then rub the nuts in the towel to remove most of the skins.

Source: Fine Cooking Magazine, December 2008

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