Colour is an organoleptic characteristic of virgin olive oil and an important attribute that affects the consumer perception of quality. Chlorophylls and carotenoids are the main pigments responsible for the colour of virgin olive oil. A simple analytical method for the quantitative determination of chlorophylls and carotenoids in virgin olive oils has been developed. The pigments were isolated from small samples of oil (1.0 g) by solid-phase extraction using diol-phase cartridges (diol-SPE), and the extract was analysed by reverse-phase HPLC with diode-array UV detection. Chromatographic peak resolution, reproducibility (coefficient of variation (C.V.) <4.5%) and recovery (>98.4%) for each component were satisfactory. A comparative study of the proposed method was performed versus classical liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) with N,N′-dimethylformamide and solid-phase extraction using a C18 column (C18-SPE). While 96.4% of the pigments were recovered by LLE, only 51.3% were isolated by C18-SPE in comparison to diol-SPE. Likewise, a higher alteration of pigment composition was observed when such LLE and C18-SPE procedures were used. In this sense, a higher ratio of pheophytin in comparison to that isolated by the diol-SPE procedure was achieved with both extraction procedures, indicating a greater extent of the pheophytinization reaction. Therefore, quantification of pigments from virgin olive oil by diol-SPE followed by RP-HPLC was found to be rapid, simple, required only a small amount of sample, consumed only small amounts of organic solvents, and provided high recoveries, accuracy and precision.