Homemade Flavored Oils

By flavored oils, I mean for salad, bread dipping, or for cooking.  I make some with extra-virgin olive oil so you can just sprinkle it over your tossed salad and squeeze a little fresh lemon juice or lime over top.  Add salt and pepper, if you like.  For cooking, it is better to use regular olive oil or a vegetable oil.  It is lighter in color, less expensive, and takes the heat better.  Just use the flavored oil to saute as you would unflavored oil.  It will add a subtle layer of flavor to vegetables, chicken, and meat.  Win!  Win!  It is really easy to make flavored oils at home.  The hardest part is finding pretty jars to store them in.  Once made, they should be refrigerated and used within one week if using fresh ingredients.  Dried ingredients can last for a little longer.  Their is a cold-infusion method and also a heat-infusion method.  They are all made basically the same way.  For the heat-infusion method, start with 1 cup of olive oil (or extra-virgin), heat over low heat, add herbs and/or spices, let bubble 3 to 5 minutes, cool, strain into a jar (I like to add in a few fresh herbs or let some of the ingredients stay in the bottle to look pretty).  Use your imagination!  Use fresh herbs whenever possible, dried can burn, but can be added after simmering.  For instance, when I make the herb version, if I only have dried bay leaf, I add that only after simmering.  I say to simmer 3 to 5 minutes, because sometimes the herbs look a little “crunchy” after 3 minutes, so I shut the heat off so as not to burn anything.  In the cold-infusion method, simply stuff everything into a jar.  Here are some combos to get you started.

Homemade Flavored Oils

Heat-Infusion Oils


  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup fresh bay leaf

Whole Spice

  • 2 tablespoons whole star anise
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 2 tablespoons whole nutmegs
  • 2 tablespoons dried chilies


  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 4 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Chili Oil

  • 4 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (only simmer 1 minute)

Italian Herb Oil

  • 4 large fresh basil leaves (you can also place small leaves in your jar to decorate the oil)
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano

Lemon-Basil Oil

  • peel from 1/2 a lemon (I cut a few pieces of thin strips for decoration)
  • 6 large basil leaves

Rosemary Oil

  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary

 Annatto Oil

  • 1/2 cup annatto seeds, crushed (only use bright red seeds, darker ones are old and bitter)
  • 1 piquin pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Herb and Spice Oil

Use 1/4 cup of one of the following fresh herbs (or a combination):

rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano, tarragon

Use 1/8 cup of one of the following spices (or a combination):

chopped garlic, dried chili peppers, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, peppercorns


In a saucepan, over low heat, warm 1 cup of olive oil with one of the above ingredient options, or a combination of your choice.  When adding herbs, you should bruise them or tear them a little when adding to the oil to help release their flavor essence.  Allow to bubble and simmer for three to five minutes; cool.

Strain and funnel into a clean bottle or other container.

Keep refrigerated and use within two weeks.  Bring to room temperature before using.


Cold-Infusion Oils


  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Porcini Mushroom Oil

  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms


Place all ingredients into a clean jar and let steep several hours before use.

Store refrigerated.  Keeps two  weeks.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Nancy says:

    I made the basil and lemon oil and it turned out so fragrant and beautiful. I have 5 more empty bottles to make some of the other oils — I am especially looking forward to the annatto oil and the chili oil. Thanks so much for these great flavored oil recipes.


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