Add flavor to your cooking with these herb infused olive oil recipes. Use herbs and spices to make different flavor options, from garlic, thyme or rosemary to chili oil.
The first time, I was flattered by flavored olive oil during our holiday in Greece. I finished the entire baguette while waiting for the meal to arrive, as I couldn’t stop dipping it in the ridiculously flavorful infused olive oil. Of course, there are olive trees everywhere in Greece, and they are masters in that. But in my case, it was the flavoring that caught my attention.
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When we returned from holiday, I searched to buy something similar and ended up in a fancy gourmet shop with swiss tags and prices. Thus I quickly left in disbelief that herbal olive oil can also cost a fortune.
Back to square one in my tiny kitchen with plenty of herbs on a windowsill and a memory of a taste fusion I had back in Greece.
I can’t wait to try my oils, like rosemary or basil, to add a delicious amount of flavor.
What is infused olive oil?
By infusing aromatic herbs in high-quality olive oil, you create a condiment packed with infused olive oil flavors that you can dip in bread, use for salad dressing or flavor pasta. These are just a few examples of endless variations. It is an incredibly creative process that allows you to experiment with various combinations to make unique tastes. When decanted into pretty bottles, they make fantastic homemade gifts that every gourmet appreciates.
Infused Olive Oil Recipes
Select aromatic herbs and spices that appeal to your senses. I like rosemary, dill, oregano, mint, dill, chives or thyme. But you can also experiment with lavender or yarrow, or use orange or lemon peel.
You can experiment and make either herbal olive oils with one herb or a blend. Note that these oils will carry both the flavor and their medicinal properties.
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While sage oil may improve memory and brain function and rosemary oil promotes hair and beard growth, calendula and yarrow also possess healing properties.
Use ½ cup Dried Herb for 4 cups (960 ml, 32 oz) olive oil
Or 1 cup of fresh or whole herbs (always reserve a sprig for the bottle)
Note that infused oils made with new material are easy to get rancid and should be used within about a month. Infusing dried material is safer, and the oils last longer.
If you don’t have your own herbs, you can purchase them online, Mountain Rose Herbs are a great source of organic culinary and medicinal plants.
Rosemary is easy-to-grow and famous in the culinary world. Rosemary-infused oil has a distinctive and robust flavor with a slightly bitter and pungent taste. It is often described as somewhat pine-like, with a little bitter, earthy, and woodsy taste.
Rosemary-infused oil can be used in various ways in basting meats or vegetables before roasting, for dressings, marinades, or baked goods.
With its typical needle-like leaves and spicy scent, rosemary is a great addition to shampoo, hair oils, soaps, or perfumes.
And it is not a coincidence that rosemary often appears in hair and beard products.
Basil infused oil
Basil-infused oil has a fresh and bright flavor with a sweet and slightly peppery taste. It is often described as having a lovely, anise-like flavor with a slight licorice taste.
Garlic infused olive oil
Garlic oil has a robust and spicy flavor, with a strong garlic taste that is both sharp and slightly sweet. It is a staple in many kitchens and is used in various dishes.
However, using fresh garlic can lead to the development of an odorless and tasteless botulism bacteria. To safely make this garlic olive oil at home, use garlic powder or roast the garlic before the infusion.
Chili -Infused olive oil
Chili-infused olive oil is a popular condiment that steers dried or fresh chili peppers in high-quality olive oil. This results in an oil that has a spicy and bold flavor, which can be used to add heat and depth to a variety of dishes. Some popular uses for chili-infused olive oil include drizzling it over pasta, using it as a base for a marinade, adding it to soups and stews, or using it to make a spicy dipping sauce.
You don’t need much equipment to prepare these oils.
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What type of oil is best for making infusions?
A good balance between olive oil flavor and herb flavor should be maintained if one wants to achieve high-quality infused olive oil. Thus I prefer a lighter olive oil flavor as the pronounced flavor of extra virgin olive oil may overwhelm the herb flavor.
You can also choose carrier oils other than olive oil, such as canola or sunflower oil.
Making infused olive oils
There are two Infusion methods you can use to achieve flavored olive oil. The solar method uses sun and time to extract the flavors. I would rather use the double boiler method that uses heat to extract all the flavors when making infused olive oils.
First step – Prepare herbs.
If you are using fresh herbs, clean them from dirt if any, and let them dry. Using dry herbs keeps the infused olive oils last longer, as any moisture can spoil the oil. Avoid using herbs that show any sign of mold, as it can cause rancidity.
You can also use scented and potent fresh material; however, I suggest making it in a small batch. The infused oil made with fresh herbs may last up to 4 weeks.
Second step – Prepare a double boiler
You can use a store-bought double boiler or a homemade alternative. Place herbs in a metal bowl. Pour oil over and place a pot in simmering water. I always use a thermometer not to exceed the temperature of 50 C (122)F. Heat the mixture and keep it low for a longer simmer (5-6 hours) to help release all its flavors and medicinal properties.
Third step – strain the oil
Remove the mixture from the heat, let it cool down, and strain the herbal material. Pour herbal olive oil into a bottle with a funnel and seal.
You can also use a solar method to infuse your herbal olive oil. The solar-infused method is very easy. Use a sterilized jar where you place the dry herb of your choice and pour over a carrier oil, so all herbal material is submerged and covered with the oil. Close it with a lid and let it sit on a sunny windowsill for several weeks to infuse all its flavors and medicinal benefits. Strain the material afterward, and your oil is ready.
Infusing oils safety
The best way to avoid any risk of food poisoning, specifically botulism, is to follow strict food safety guidelines and use safe preservation techniques.
- Keeping the oil refrigerated at all times, including during preparation and storage.
- Avoid using herbs showing any spoilage, such as black spots or a sour odor.
- Roasting the garlic before infusing it in oil can help to reduce the risk.
- make small batches of the infused oil and consume them within a short period of time.
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How to use flavored olive oils
Now that you know how to make herbal olive oils, let’s go through some ways of using them. One thing I never use them for is cooking. They are too delicious and precious, packed with flavors and medicinal properties that heat can easily destroy. The best practice is to use them for the final drizzle of finished dishes.
- I love to use infused olive oil flavors just for bread dipping. This is honestly my favorite.
- To make a flavorful salad dressing, combine infused oil with vinegar, lemon juice, and other seasonings.
- Drizzle over ice cream or pancakes.
- Mix your herbal olive oil with garlic, soy sauce, and honey to create a marinade for meats, poultry, or vegetables.
- Brush herbal oils onto meats, poultry, or vegetables before roasting or grilling for added flavor
- Drizzle a few splashes of infused olive oils onto creamy soup or pasta before serving
- instead of using mayonnaise in tuna salad, use herbal olive oil.
- I even like it on scrambled eggs.
- Mix it into homemade hummus.
- Use it to make this delicious pesto recipe.
- Great for charcuterie boards.
How long do these olive oils last?
Flavored olive oils don’t stay as fresh as processed oils, and you’ll need to use them quickly after opening. Using infused oils within two months will ensure the best flavor and aroma. If you strain the material and refrigerate the oil, the oil will last up to a year. Remember that many gift recipients don’t want to use it immediately, so put the “expiration date” date on the label and don’t use the oil. It stays fresh for a long time.
How to store homemade infused olive oils?
Store your homemade infused olive oils in airtight bottles or glass jars that are sealed properly.
Keep them stored in a cool, dark place with limited exposure to light. It can also be stored in the fridge to extend its shelf life up o one year. I like to store the oils in smaller batches so they can be used up before they develop off-flavors.