Scope: Cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL (CEC) is inversely associated with cardiovascular risk. HDL composition, fluidity, oxidation, and size are related with CEC. We aimed to assess which HDL parameters were CEC determinants after virgin olive oil (VOO) ingestion. Methods and results: Post-hoc analyses from the VOHF study, a crossover intervention with three types of VOO. We assessed the relationship of 3-week changes in HDL-related variables after intervention periods with independence of the type of VOO. After univariate analyses, mixed linear models were fitted with variables related with CEC and fluidity. Fluidity and Apolipoprotein (Apo)A-I content in HDL was directly associated, and HDL oxidative status inversely, with CEC. A reduction in free cholesterol, an increase in triglycerides in HDL, and a decrease in small HDL particle number or an increase in HDL mean size, were associated to HDL fluidity. Conclusions: HDL fluidity, ApoA-I concentration, and oxidative status are major determinants for CEC after VOO. The impact on CEC of changes in free cholesterol and triglycerides in HDL, and those of small HDL or HDL mean size, could be mechanistically linked through HDL fluidity. Our work points out novel therapeutic targets to improve HDL functionality in humans through nutritional or pharmacological interventions.