There are many different ways to make infused olive oil. From dried herbs to nuts to fruit, you can make infused oil with just about anything. These are simple to prepare with 5 easy recipes to get started.
Make Your Own Flavored Oils
One of my secrets to fast meals on busy nights is using flavored oils! I have been doing this for years because it’s a breeze to put together a sheet pan of chicken and vegetables with a drizzle of flavored oil and pop in the oven. So easy and delicious!
I also love to share these homemade infused olive oils as gifts for friends and family. Inspired by my ridiculously popular Vanilla Extract gifts, I decided this year to do a few infused oil recipes tailored to my friend’s taste buds. You can also use these as a base for things like beauty treatments, but I am mainly focusing on making edible oils with this tutorial.
How can you use flavored oils? They have a ton of uses! For example, you can use them in these recipes: oven baked chicken and rice, Steak Kabobs, or Creamy Tuscan Chicken. Although a staple use is as a bread dipping oil, they are also great drizzled over salads, soups, grilling marinades, pasta, oven roasted vegetables, or making bread into croutons!
What you will Need
Herbs/seasonings: I recommend using High quality DRIED herbs as they last much longer than fresh. Dried peppers, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, celery seed, and Meyer lemons are just a few of the many choices you have. However, you can use fresh herbs if you wilt them first for 12-24 hours to remove some of the moisture, which can cause the oil to go rancid or increase the chance of bacteria growth.
Oil: Use a high quality olive oil or avocado oil. While we are focusing on olive oil today, I sometimes use avocado for the higher smoke point and lighter taste. Olive oil doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be extra-virgin as this is an unrefined oil and preferably in a dark or opaque container.
Jars: You want a sealed container. DO NOT use pour spout style bottles. (I purchased some rubber stoppers for mine, but they have not arrived as of today, so no false advertising. Promise.) Also, the pour-spout is somewhat useless as the herbs will not flow out of the bottle through a pour-spout.
It is fine to leave the herbs in the bottle and eventually all the flavors will leach from the herbs.
Step 1: Pick Your Recipe
For each recipe, you will need about 3 tablespoons of herbs and seasonings per cup of oil. These flavored oil recipes will get you started but you can create a multitude of combinations!
Herb Infused Olive Oil: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano. You can use fresh or dried, although dried will last longer. Rosemary sprigs are especially pretty in the bottle.
Lemon Thyme Olive Oil: Lemon zest or peel of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons of dried Thyme. This is excellent for recipes such as chicken piccata.
Chili Infused Oil: 5-7 dried chipotle peppers, split down the center.
Bread dipping oil: 1 teaspoon each of – dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, and dried rosemary. 2 teaspoon dried parsley. I leave the herbs in after infusing and shake before pouring. Add garlic powder, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes just before serving if you like a little more spice.
Garlic Infused Oil: 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled. Before adding to the oil, soak the garlic cloves in lime or lemon juice for 15 minutes then drain well.
Important Safety Tip: Garlic oils need special care because the oil creates an oxygen free environment for botulism causing bacteria growth. It is best to remove garlic after cooking and store in the refrigerator below 50 degrees F, where they cannot germinate. This bacteria will not change the color or taste of the oil so I generally toss garlic oil if it isn’t used within 2 weeks.
Step 2: Start Cooking
For safety and taste reasons, I do recommend heating the oil during the infusion process. Heat reduces some of the possible risk of bacterial contamination, but it can also affect the flavor and health attributes of the oil if you used unrefined oil.
- Wash and dry herbs. This includes fresh herbs, peels, or other ingredients that aren’t dried. You don’t want water in your oil.
- Gently steep the oil. Add the olive oil and choice of flavor infusions such as fresh herbs, dried chilis, or fruit peel, to a small saucepan. Heat the oil slowly over medium low-heat to about 150 degrees for 20 minutes. It should not bubble, boil, or spatter.
- Strain. Remove from heat and let the oil cool. If desired, strain the herbs or peels out of the oil.
Step 3: Bottle & Store
With a funnel, pour the oil into a jar with enough oil to cover the herbs by at least one inch.
Store in refrigerator, particularly if you have fresh herbs or fruit in the oil. For dried herbs, as long as it is in a well-sealed container, you can store in a cool, dry, and dark place like in the pantry.
How long the oil will last depends on what you put in it and how it is stored. I would recommend about 2 weeks for some fresh herbs or fruit, but others can last around 2 months like dried rosemary or dried chipotle peppers. If you notice the oil turning a cloudy color, throw it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
As for the shelf life of homemade infused oil depends on what type of ingredients you place in the bottle. Fruits and peels may last about 2-3 weeks, where dried herbs such as thyme or rosemary can last about 2-3 months. Straining fresh herbs out before bottling will also allow the oil to last longer.
Yes, although there are a few oils to be aware of such as garlic infused oil. The oil creates an oxygen free environment for clostridium botulinum bacteria growth, which may be present in garlic. It is best to remove the garlic after cooking and store in the refrigerator below 50 degrees F, where they cannot germinate. This bacteria will not change the color or taste of the oil so you won’t see any change if the oil is contaminated.
Yes, you can use any fresh or dried herbs including sage, rosemary, basil, oregano, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and others. You imagination is the limit for delicious combinations.
It depends on what you will use it for. For edible flavored oils, I recommend Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil as they have the most uses and health benefits. For non-edible infused oils such as beauty treatments or massage oils, I like sweet almond or jojoba oil as they work on the skin well without being too greasy.
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Infused Olive Oil
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Small Saucepan
- Measuring Cup
- Sealed Jars
- ¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoon Herbs or seasonings *See notes for ideas and safety precautions
- Wash and dry any fresh herbs you use. This includes fresh herbs, peels, or other ingredients that aren’t dried. You don’t want water in your oil. For fresh herbs, I recommend hanging them upside down in the air for 24-48 hours to remove any moisture.
- Add the olive oil and choice of flavor infusions such as fresh herbs, dried chilis, or lemon peel, to a small saucepan. Heat the oil slowly over medium low heat to about 150 degrees for 20 minutes. It should not bubble, boil, or spatter.
- Remove from heat and let the oil cool. If desired, strain the herbs or peels out of the oil.
- With a funnel, pour the oil into a bottle with enough oil to cover the herbs by at least one inch. Seal the bottle and store in refrigerator, particularly if you have garlic, fresh herbs or fruit peels in the oil.
- How long the oil will last depends on what you put in it. Most dried herbs will last around 2 months, but fresh herbs and peels will last at least 2 weeks, perhaps a month when stored in the refrigerator.