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How to Build an Olive Oil Press

Freshly pressed, unfiltered olive oil has robust flavor and sharp bitterness.
wild olives image by WojtekZ from Fotolia.com

A basic olive oil press can be built by combining a few pieces from the kitchen with a couple items from the hardware store. Pressing olives in the homemade press will force the oils inside to come running out in a rich green-yellow liquid that you can collect. Impress family and friends by serving food that is cooked and seasoned with your homemade olive oil. You can build an olive oil press to turn fresh olives into small batches of delicious homemade olive oil.

Things You'll Need:

  • 4 quart pot
  • Stove
  • 4 cups fresh olives
  • Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Ice
  • 2 gallon zip-top freezer bags
  • 2 kitchen towels
  • Flat-sided meat mallet
  • Cheese cloth
  • 1 half-sized perforated steam table pan, 1 1/2 inch deep
  • 1 half-sized steam table pan, 2 1/2 inch deep
  • 4 adjustable c-clamps, 6 inch
  • Jelly roll pan, 1 inch deep
  • 2 food storage containers
  • Refrigerator
  • Turkey baster

Fill the pot half full with water and bring it to a boil over medium heat on the stove before adding the stemless and leafless olives. Strain the olives after two or three minutes in the boiling water when they begin to soften. Lower the strainer holding the softened olives into a large bowl of ice water quickly to stop the cooking process.

Double up the freezer bags by placing one inside other and dump the chilled olives into the inner bag. Seal the outer bag and lay it down on a cutting board so the olives can be rolled out into a single layer. Cover the bag with a doubled over kitchen towel and smash the olives by pounding them with a meat mallet.

Dump the smashed olives onto doubled-over cheese cloth and fold the cloth up over the olives to create a pouch that is smaller than a 10-inch square. Lower the cheese cloth pouch into a perforated steam table pan and rest the deeper steam table pan on top. Fold two kitchen towels to cover the interior base of the deeper pan.

Attach the four c-clamps to each of the corners of the steam table pans so that the adjustable threaded portion of the clamp is pressing down into the two kitchen towels. Set the clamped steam table pans on a jelly roll pan as you begin to tighten the clamps down and pressing out the oil. Tighten the c-clamps gradually until no more oil is flowing into the jelly roll pan.

Dump the collected oil from the jelly roll pan into a clean storage container and place the container in the refrigerator. Allow the oil to separate from the water and rise to the top of the container. Siphon the olive oil off the top with a turkey baster and move it to a second food-safe container.


The raw oil can be filtered by through a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer to remove particulate matter. Filtered oil is less likely to burn during cooking.

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