Is My Cloudy Olive Oil Bad?

Posted by Alexa Ketterling

Have you ever had olive oil arrive to your home and it looks cloudy? Or perhaps you’ve pulled your olive oil out of a cold cabinet or garage, and seen the same thing?

You may ask yourself: Is this bad? Great question, and a common one, to boot.

The answer is simple: No, it is not bad. Have no fear, the oil has just simply solidified, which is a completely natural process that happens in the cold.

Here is a step by step guide for thawing out your oil whether you’re at home, in a small manufacturing facility, restaurant or commercial kitchen.

The most simple, straight forward way to de-thaw your olive oil is to warm it by moving it to a heated area to melt. However, this can take a while — up to a few days, depending on the size of the container. But there are faster and easier ways!

To start, if you have a bigger amount of oil (say in a 35 Lb. Container) you will want to remove it from the outer cardboard box if it has one. This box will act as an insulator keeping the cold in, and will slow down the de-thawing process.

Once removed from the outer box, you will fill your sink (or bathtub, or other place you can leave it to sit) with warm or hot water. Then you’ll place your olive oil container in it, allowing it to sit in this hot water “bath” to start the fast de-thawing process.


Hot Water Bath 

Fill the sink about 1/4-1/2 full with warm or hot water, and place the container in it. You will see in this picture what our container looks like before and during the water “bath”.

solidified 35 lb. container

Photo Above: Before Dethawing (note the cloudy, solid oil)


35 lb. container water bath thawing process

Photo Above: During the hot water bath process (note the part-solid, part-liquid state of the oil)

As you can see the oil is starting to become a liquid. Now, when we tried this, we let it sit for about 20-30 minutes to bring it to a mostly liquid form. You can see in the picture below there is still a little bit of oil that is not all the way thawed. So you can gage the time based on how it looks.

35 lb. water bath thawed out almost completely

Once the oil has melted into the fully desired liquid form, remove the container from the water.


Filling A Smaller Container 

If you will be filling a smaller container from a container like a 35 lber. you can use the following process:

Set it on your counter and drain the water from the sink. You will then lay the 35 lb. container on its side like pictured below, and attach a spigot or spout.

35 lb. container prep for filling smaller items

From there, you can begin to fill smaller sized containers. To do this, you will place it on its side with the spout in the sink so any oil that misses the bottle or container doesn’t go everywhere.

how to fill small containers with 35 lb. container

If you notice your 35 Lb. Container is caving in, this is normal. It has to do with the air flow: as oil is dispensed out, air hasn’t been coming back into the container forcing it to collapse.

35 lb. container collapsing due to air flow

You can either poke a small hole towards the top of the container or simply tip the container up to allow air to flow in before you begin dispensing again.


In Conclusion 

Remember, your cloudy oil isn’t bad! It’s just solidified, like butter, because of the cold. Get it into a warm area and it will turn liquid again — and the quality of your EVOO remains the same!

Topics: Quality Control, Olive Oil



Related Articles

Download The eBook - All About Olive Oil

Enter your email below to get commodity market updates & cost-saving tips for procurement professionals.






Buy & Ship Direct From Our Online Store

Select an item below to see live pricing (LTL quotes included at checkout).



Now you can order direct from our website, without ever talking to a salesperson.  We've created this new industry-leading online storefront which makes the bulk oil buying process so much easier!

  • See live price quotes for oils online
  • Shipping costs are auto-calculated at checkout
  • Buy single drums, partial pallets or full pallets
  • Pay with a credit card
  • Ships from Centra Foods within 1-3 business days