What is Pomace Olive Oil?

Pomace olive oil is a type of oil that is extracted from the leftover pulp and pits of the olive fruit after the first milling. It's commonly used in commercial kitchens because it's versatile and affordable.

In this article, we explore the production process of pomace olive oil, its characteristics, culinary uses, and if it's the right cooking fat for you and your family.

extra virgin olive oil

Understanding the Different Grades

Before we can dive into the production process, let's set a foundation for the different grades of products. There are three main types of olive oil commonly seen on grocery store shelves:

  • Extra virgin (highest quality)
  • Virgin (lower quality)
  • Regular (refined)

Extra virgin is the least refined, most challenging to produce, and scarcest. Therefore making it the highest quality product of the three.

It's followed by virgin which is a lower quality. Below virgin there is finally regular which is a heavily refined product. The refinement process for regular oil includes the use of heat. However, it does not include the use of chemical solvents such as hexane. And as you'll see later this is really important to note.

When producers make these products there is discard. And this discared is called pomace or sansa and that is what manufacturers use to produce pomace oil.

Related: Regular vs EVOO, the Difference Explained

what is pomace olive oil

How is Pomace Olive Oil Made?

Technically pomace oil is a by product from making extra virgin olive oil. Therefore, we need to start there. Here is the rhythm of production for making high quality EVOO:

  1. Harvest
  2. Washing
  3. Milling
  4. Extraction
  5. Filtering/decanting
  6. Bottling

If you want to dive deeper take a look at: How is EVOO Made?

The production process for pomace oil cuts in at step 4, so the manufacturing process looks like this:

  1. Harvest
  2. Deleafing and Washing
  3. Milling and first extraction
  4. Second extraction and refinement
  5. Bottling

Let's break down each step.


Harvest always takes place in the late summer to early fall. And in the northern hemisphere that means late September to early November. To produce high-quality EVOO the fruit is typically harvested earlier in the season while still green to retain flavor and antioxidants known as polyphenols.

Farmers use a variety of tools to get the fruit off the trees including electric tree rakes, branch shakers, and tree shakers. The fruit is collected into receptacles and then transported to the mill. For a closer look at how harvest take a look at this post.

Deleafing & Washing

Before the fruit goes into the mill it runs through the deleafer, a machine that removes any leaves, twigs, stones, and debris. This is an important step because we only want fruit to go through the mill.

Then the fruit goes through the washer which carries away any dirt and leftover debris that might contaminate the product. The fruit goes down a drying rack before entering the slicer or crusher.

Milling and Extraction

From the washer the fruit enters the mill where it's smashed or sliced before it enters the malaxer which is a machine that turns the fruit into a paste and prepares it for extraction.

The paste then enters the centrifuge, a stainless steel tube, where extraction takes place. Olive oil is separated from vegetable water and solids, also known as pomace or sansa. It then goes through a rough filter, exits the mill, and is eventually filtered, bottled, and sold as EVOO.

Second Extraction

The discarded pomace, or sansa as it's called in Italy, is made up of olive pits, skin, and other bits of the fruit. The sansa goes through a second extraction process. However, the second extraction is very different to the first.

In order to get the remaining oil out of the sansa manufacturers use high heat and chemical solvents such hexane. If this sounds familiar that's because it is. Hexane is the chemical solvent used to produce other cooking fats such as canola oil.

This step is what makes the product a heavily refined cooking fat. It's filtered to ensure no remaining particles of fruit remain and ready for bottling.


The last step of product is bottling and then it's ready to be shipped and sold to consumers.

Smoke Point

Since pomace oil is a heavily refined product it has a high smoke point. However, what's even more important to take into consideration is the stability of a cooking fat. And EVOO has been proven as the most stable cooking oil.

To learn more take a look at: Smoke Point of EVOO

Culinary Uses

As stated previously, pomace oil is a popular choice for commercial kitchens because it's quite affordable and versatile. It has very mild flavors, therefore, is often used for frying, sauteing, baking and roasting. However, some use it in a raw application such as a base for marinades, dressings, or sauces.

Should I use it for salad dressings?

No, we do not recommend using pomace oil in a raw application setting because it has very little taste and there are just so many other better options and higher quality products to choose from, such as an Italian EVOO.

Can I fry with it?

Pomace oil has a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying at high temperatures. However, due to the fact that it's heavily refined we do not recommend using it to cook or fry.

Does it have a strong flavor?

No, it has a very mild and flat flavor compared to a high quality EVOO.

extra virgin olive oil

How does it compare to EVOO?

Extra virgin it the highest quality cooking fat available to consumers. It's produced from the first milling of the fruit, is not refined, and can be used in both a cooking and raw setting. In addition, it has a myriad of health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of certain types of cancer, helping to prevent Alzheimer's Disease, and preventing inflammation. Lastly, it packs more flavor.

On the other hand, pomace oil is extracted from the residual pulp and pits of the fruit, is mild in flavor, and does not provide nearly as many health benefits.


We hope you learned something new about cooking fats! For more take a look at the rest of our blog or better yet buy our book.

Shop our collection of high-quality Italian EVOO today!

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Hey, we wrote a book all about our favorite cooking fat. If you want to learn more get your copy today!

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