There is a lot of articles among the Internet talking about the most caloric meals you can eat, but just out of curiosity, I would like to know which is the most caloric single ingredient you can add to you recipes.

At first I thought about sugar, but Wolfram Alpha gives an average result of 378 kcal/100 gr. So I tried with some other options and the winner so far is the extra virgin olive oil (very well known in my country, Spain), with an average result of 884 kcal/100 gr(1). Other similar products are sunflower oil, palm oil, and I suppose any similar oil.

So, is this the most caloric, edible ingredient? Or does anybody know of a more caloric one(2)?

(1) WA miscalculates the amount of fat in extra virgin olive oil, I don't know why. It says that there are 107 grams of fat in 100 grams of product, so I had to do a correction.
(2) According to the calculations in SZCZERZO KŁY's answer and following a clue given by MSalters's comment, lard has a bit more calories (902 kcal) per 100 grams of product. That should be (almost) the limit. These values seem to be taken from the National Nutrient Database made by the United States Department of Agriculture (olive oil, lard).

  • 5
    The type oil should be largely irrelevant.
    – Catija
    May 22, 2017 at 13:47
  • 7
    You might want to specify if you want "most caloric" to mean "calories per gram" or "calories per cc" since density of e.g. olive oil is lower than for some other substances.
    – Floris
    May 22, 2017 at 16:01
  • 7
    Do you consider antimatter edible?
    – JDługosz
    May 22, 2017 at 17:41
  • 4
    @ JDługosz: Antimatter olive oil is believed to still have 822 kcal per 100 ml. As antimatter olives are now pretty rare, we've never been able to get accurate measurements. Also, we'll need an antimatter olive press next time.
    – MSalters
    May 22, 2017 at 21:41
  • 2
    Don't forget that, of the three food groups, you must have some dietary fat (the soundbite to remember is that you heart actually can only run on dietary fat), and you must have protein. You do not need any carbohydrates at all (any number of long-term tests have shown this, and certain primitive-peoples groups live with no carbs as a matter of course).
    – Fattie
    May 23, 2017 at 16:54

4 Answers 4


Your question goes near the answer. As you can read on those nifty tables on products, calories come from mainly three sources: Fats, sugars and protein. There are also fibres, alcohol (that are not counted as carbs) like ethanol and organic acids but the first three is packed with them.
So fat have 9 kcal/g, carbs 4kcal/g and proteins also 4 kcal/g (ethanol have 7 kcal/g but you can't consume it in large quantity like fat).
And from simple math you can deduce that clean fat, like olive oil, is the most caloric, edible ingredient".

PS. Wolfram made a slight change to your question changing the "100 grams" to "107 grams" so that's why it's not "900 kcal/100 g"

Edit: I think the kcal of 1 gram of fat is not exactly 9. It may be around 9,0132 or something like that. That's why WA recalculate the amount and round up, and that's why lard seems to have more. Generally we say that fat is 9cal/gram

Lard can be considered "cleaner" fat as it is processed fat. So it's not contaminated with all those vitamins and micro and macro elements like olive oil.

  • 3
    While I could eat a litre of cake mixture once cooked, I couldn't drink a bottle of olive oil though. May 22, 2017 at 11:27
  • 30
    Not with this attitude. May 22, 2017 at 11:31
  • 2
    "ethanol have 7 kcal/g but you can't consume it in large quantity like fat" - My liver would disagree with you on this point. ;)
    – gmiley
    May 22, 2017 at 15:08
  • 4
    @gmiley actually I think that would be your liver agreeing with him ;)
    – Doktor J
    May 22, 2017 at 15:14
  • 1
    @djsmiley2k CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!
    – hBy2Py
    May 23, 2017 at 2:15

I don't know about it being the most caloric ingredient, but arctic explorers eat butter to help provide the roughly 9000Cal per day that they need.

I assume this is a trade-off across a number of factors, such as energy content, ease of carrying, ease of portioning, behaviour in cold weather and so on. For example, pure oils probably have higher energy content but it's inconvenient to deal with something that's a liquid at room temperature and a solid at low temperatures.

  • 8
    @MSalters wasn't pemmican dried meat mixed with lard? Classic polar explorer food.
    – Chris H
    May 22, 2017 at 14:13
  • 2
    @DanC: Indeed, with some proteins and lactose both @ 4kcal/g. That's how you can show that at 800kcal/g, 80% fat is the lower limit (that would be 900*80% = 720kcal from fat plus 400*20% = 80 kcal from proteins and sugars)
    – MSalters
    May 22, 2017 at 14:39
  • 3
    Coconut oil is pretty much pure fat, and solid at room temperature (and certainly solid at temperatures that arctic explorers would be trekking around in)...
    – Doktor J
    May 22, 2017 at 15:15
  • 9
    I heard of a cross-Greenland "on skis, unassisted" expedition that carried peanut butter as the main food source. Slightly less caloric (588 kcal/100 g), but a mix of fat, protein and sugar that provides both immediate fuel, protein to maintain muscle mass, and fat for greater caloric content. Plus it's a little less nasty to eat than pure butter.
    – Floris
    May 22, 2017 at 16:03
  • 6
    See williamcolgan.net/blog/?tag=greenland&paged=2 which describes the requirement (in order to purchase valid "search and rescue insurance") to carry the equivalent of 30 kg of peanut butter per team member for a 21 day expedition...
    – Floris
    May 22, 2017 at 16:06

Lard (which is pure animal fat) is 902 calories per 100 grams.


As mentioned, you are near the limit at 884 calories per 100g.

However, ghee, clarified butter, a common ingredient of Indian cookery, has 900 calories per 100g. I don't know of anything more calorific than this.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.