Introduction: How to Make Infused Oil

Picture of How to Make Infused Oil

Making infused oils is a process of transferring flavour and scent into a carrier oil.  It can be used to add flavour to cooking oils. As well as making scent oils for use in aromatherapy, massage oils and making beauty products like soaps and lotions. 

It is a simple process of infusing flowers, herbs or spices into an oil by heating or letting it sit in a sunny spot so that  the volatile oils can transfer into the carrier oil. I will show you how I make them in this instructable.

Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:
  • Oil (I will discuss the different types to use in Steps 2 and 5)
  • Herbs, spices, flowers
  • Clean, dry glass jars
  • Clean decorative glass containers
  • Coffee filters, cheesecloth, sieve
  • Funnel
  • Spoon
  • Hot plate/double boiler or pan/skillet
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Sunny windowsill
Sterilize the glass jars and bottles that you will be using by running them through the dishwasher.  It is important that they are completely dry.

As you will see in the following steps a wide assortment of flowers, herbs and spices can be used in making infused oils.  Since you will ingesting or putting these oils on your body I would recommend using organic material if you can.  Better still if you can grow them in your garden, you can control what goes on the plants as well as save yourself a lot of money too.  Even a little potted herb plant on your windowsill will do.

Step 2: Culinary Oil: Preparing Herbs

Picture of Culinary Oil: Preparing Herbs
Culinary infused oils are a great way to add flavour to your cooking. An assortment of herbs and spices can be used depending on your tastes and cooking style. You can use either fresh or dried herbs.  Fresh herbs will give a stronger flavour but the oil won't keep as long and needs to be stored in the refrigerator (see note below**).  I tend to make small quantities of infused oil at at time so that it will be used up quickly.

Here a few suggestions, don't be afraid to mix and match:













The best type of oil to use is extra virgin olive oil, you can also use grape seed , peanut or sunflower oil.  Walnut oil is also good if it will be used cold such as for salad dressings since it is not good for heating.

How to make:
  • Wash your herbs and dry completely**
  • Bruise or rub herbs, for spices toast them to bring out the flavour
  • Place in a clean dry glass jar.
  • Add oil until it completely covers the herbs/spices.
  • Place a lid on  the jar and close
  • Place the jar on a sunny windowsill or other sunny spot.  Swirl or shake the jar every day or so.

**It is important that no moisture is introduced into the oil as it can become rancid or prone to mold or bacteria growth. (Garlic is particularly prone to this so it should be stored in the fridge or made with the heating method in a skillet described in step 4.)

Step 3: Culinary Oil:draining and Storing

Picture of Culinary Oil:draining and Storing
  • After a week drain off the oil into a clean dry jar using a sieve (for larger herbs) or cheesecloth or coffee filters.
  • Taste the oil to see if the flavour is strong enough
  • If you want it stronger add more herbs/spices to the oil, close the lid and place back in the sunny spot for another week.
  • Repeat as needed.
  • If you are happy with the flavour, pour the oil into a nice glass bottle, you can also add a fresh sprig of herb to make if look fancy.
  • Store in a cool dry place or better still, in the refrigerator.

Step 4: Culinary Oil: Heating Method

Picture of Culinary Oil: Heating Method
Heating the herbs/spices in oil is a quicker way of making infused oil and is great for dried herbs and spices since the heat helps brings out the flavour.
  • Grind dried herbs/spices with mortar and pestle
  • Place into a clean glass jar
  • Cover in oil
  • Place a lid on top of the jar (don't tighten)
  • Place the jar on hot plate and simmer for several hours (about 3hrs - warning: your kitchen will smell wonderful!)
  • Taste to see if the flavour is strong enough
  • Drain with a sieve or cheesecloth/coffee filters
  • Pour into a clean glass bottle, label and store.
For spices you can do this in a skillet or pan instead. Heat the oil and spices until the oil bubbles and spices sizzle, it needs constant stirring but should only take about 5 minutes, don't overcook.  When ready, strain and pour into a clean glass jar and let cool. When it has cooled taste to see if it is to your liking. Store.

Step 5: Massage, Bath and Scent Oils

Picture of Massage, Bath and Scent Oils
You can also capture the scent of flowers and herbs in infused oils.  These infused oils can be used as massage oils, bath oils or can be used in making lotions, soaps or perfumes. There are several plant based oils that you can use in making infused scent oils (these are referred to as carrier oils):

Sweet almond oil

Evening primrose oil

Jojoba oil

Avocado oil

Apricot kernel oil

Borage Seed Oil

Olive oil

Various nut oils (eg walnut,pecan, hazelnut)

Grape seed oil

Various seed oils (eg hemp,sesame, sunflower)

These oils are easily absorbed into the skin (making them great moisturizers) and do not have a strong odor.  They can be bought at health/natural food stores or specialty aromatherapy stores. Some can be found at grocery stores, but try to get cold pressed oils.

The type of flowers or herbs that you can use is really up to your imagination or what you happen to have growing in your garden, here are some suggestions:


Rose, carnation, chamomile, jasmine, violets


Geranium, violets, lily, sweet pea, hyacinths etc


Vanilla bean

Citrus peel

Cinnamon bark




Using fresh over dried is usually better, also if you are getting them from your garden, cut the flowers/herbs in the morning and start making the infused oil right away if you can. You can mix different flowers and herbs together creating a variety of different scent combinations. The instructions for making scent infused oils are basically the same as culinary oils, though I wouldn't recommend using the heating method since flowers are more delicate than culinary herbs.

How to make:
  • Gently bruise, crush, or chop the flower petals, herbs, spices or peels
  • Place them into clean dry glass jar
  • Cover them in a carrier oil
  • Place a lid on the jar and close
  • Place jar in a sunny spot. Swirl or shake the jar every day or so.

Step 6: Drain and Store

Picture of Drain and Store
  • After a week drain off the oil into a clean jar using a sieve or cheesecloth/coffee filters.
  • Smell the oil to see if the scent is strong enough
  • If you want it stronger add more flowers(or herbs etc) to the oil, close lid and place back in the sunny spot for another week.
  • Repeat as needed.
  • If you are happy with the scent pour the oil in to a nice glass bottle and label.  You can add a pretty ribbon and give it as a gift.


SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-06-11

Here 10 g of catnip leaves and steams and Lemon Oil Juice. I made it today.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-06-11

Lemon cat mint aroma Oil.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-06-10

Here is Cocoa lemon juice soy Oil perfume or scent. Combine 5 table spoons of dark ultra pure Cocoa with 120 ml of Oil and add 120 ml of Lemon Oil Juice.

Here are some pictures.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-06-09

I also have made Coffee-Ceder water Oil extract. First I get 50 g of ceder leaves in a boiling flask (500 ml approx) for a max 1 L volume. I slowly with an Oil bath (this is very important) boil the Oil Soy and add the collection ceder water to the Soy and light olive Oil with 15 g of instant coffee. It smells like Coffee-fresh ceder. I will collect 150 ml of ceder water to increase the combo of both smells.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-06-09

I have also made cocoa (99% dark type) with Korean Lilac in Soy Oil. Here a picture. The duck tape protects the content from light.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-06-08

I have made Korean Lilac Soy diffusion perfume oil. It has no water and it then can be mixed with water and shaken to make am oil/water perfume. It will take 4-5 days to do this.

ChristinaS147 (author)2017-02-25

I know this is going to sound like a bazaar question, but is it possible to create a perfume that smells like fried chicken? If so, how would I go about making that happen? I imagine that I would need to use the oil I would have used to fry chicken in, but I'm not really sure.

I know it's weird, but I want to create it as a gag gift for a relative who would find it both funny and usable.

KendraG8 (author)ChristinaS1472017-03-14

Hi there... You might want to try Perfumer's Apprentice. They have TONS of stuff to choose from. They also do flavors, which seems fun but I've never bought those. They have a chicken and waffles flavor...

JanetteH7 (author)2017-01-31

I need to make vinca (periwinkle) infused oil. Any suggestions?

ChrysN (author)JanetteH72017-01-31

If you want to use it medicinally I would not use the heating method unless you use a low temperature, the sunlight method would probably be best.

JanetteH7 (author)ChrysN2017-02-01

Thank you. I am using it for medicinal purposes. What oil would you suggest? Most everything I have read, which isn't much, is for cooking and they are using olive oil.

ChrysN (author)JanetteH72017-02-02

Any of the edible oils should work such as the nut or seed oils, olive oil or grape seed oil.

PattyO6 (author)2016-02-23

I want to infuse lavender oil with cannabis. Could you tell me if the week in window or the double boiler is the best method. Thanks for you help. Oregon330

satoko68 (author)PattyO62016-08-15

There isn't an easy answer to your question, so please bear with me bc I'm about to write a very long response.

Infusing cannabis can be a long, tedious process which intimidates a lot of people. And it's fairly easy to screw up if don't have the patience or time. It is very much doable at home, however. It's enough of a pain in the arse that I plunked down a couple hundred $$ for a machine which helps me infuse all my herbs, including non-psychoactive ones, much more easily & efficiently. I've been making infusions & herbal products for many many years & still find the process of infusing cannabis a big fat pain. Check out Magical Butter machine. It rocks & is well worth the expense if you regularly make infusions of any kind, including tinctures, butters, oils, honeys etc.

If you mean infusing cannabis into lavender *essential oil*, I wouldn't recommend that. You'd need a truckload of it to have it deep enough in your container to do that because you've got to completely cover your herbs. Essential oils in that volume can get expensive, even at wholesale prices, and especially if you're not used to working with them as they diffuse/evaporate into the air.

I'd suggest infusing dried lavender into your base oil first, using either the sunlight method given here or the low heat method. The low heat method is far faster. I'd suggest 2-4 weeks if using the method given here. The longer the better. And crush, don't grind, the lavender buds/leaves up really well before covering with your carrier/base oil.

As for your cannabis, what are you using your finished product for? Topical pain relief? Skin care? A massage oil? Edibles? If edibles, I'd go easy on the lavender bc it doesn't taste so hot in oil infusions. It's alright in flavored sugars & honey, however.

How much cannabis are you looking to use & what form? Bud? Shake? Frosty trim? Don't throw away stalks before doing your infusion bc they too are valuable when making this form of cannabis extract. I wouldn't recommend regular old trim (non-frosty) as your end product won't be that great.

Either way, the 'cold-infusion' (non heating) method of infusing cannabis takes forever. I also personally doubt it's effectiveness/strength compared to heat infusing for several reasons, which I'm not getting into here.

The process I'd recommend, based on trial & error & much wasted material, is using low heat (nothing above 225°-230° or you get close to temperatures that destroy your cannabis actives) to infuse cannabis into coconut oil (the oil type for cannabis is *very* important) separately from the lavender, then mixing *some*, not all, of your cannabis oil into your lavender oil. Again, your intended usage would dictate how much of the cannabis oil you'd use.

You can find instructions all over the internet for heat infusing cannabis. Different people use different methods based on their level of knowledge or experience. Just be aware that there are several important steps to follow in getting the best quality cannabis oil such as decarboxylation etc. Decarbing is a must (at no higher a temp than 225-230°; get an oven thermometer bc this is crucial). I'd suggest you follow those steps carefully so you don't waste your cannabis. These steps are well worth the effort, believe me. You'll wind up having to use much less weed overall if you do it properly, greatly reducing your costs & hugely increasing the quality of your end product. Gotta say, though, I don't like the methods that use water with oil. I'd personally avoid that technique as it's unnecessarily complicated & messy.

Your other (easier) option would be to simply infuse your cannabis into coconut oil following the important steps I mentioned above, but then adding lavender *essential oil* to this rather than lavender *infused oil*, as well more of another base oil with a high level of medium chain triglycerides (as coconut oil has, which is incredibly important to get the highest amount of active ingredients out of your cannabis). You'll need to do a bit of research on this yourself.

Don't use liquid coconut oil - also known as fractionated coconut oil. Look for the stuff that is solid when under 100°. You'll see the term 'virgin' or 'unprocessed' used on the label. If you want your end product to be solid under 100° (eg. for cooking), just use more coconut oil to dilute your cannabis infusion. If you want it to be liquid (such as massage oil), use an oil that's liquid under 100° which contains high levels of MCT as I said above.

Lecithin makes your cannabis actives more bioavailable & is incredibly important. Adding this will result in your body absorbing those actives much more thoroughly/easily/quickly whether through the stomach/skin, so I'd strongly recommend *not* leaving lecithin out of your formulation. If you've ever eaten an edible with/without lecithin & compared the two, you'll know what I'm talking about. MASSIVE difference. Research how to work with the form of lecithin you buy - liquid/granual/powder. It's nothing complicated.

I'd suggest sunflower lecithin over soy lecithin. You can use the powder/granular/liquid form, doesn't matter. Just don't use lecithin capsules as they aren't pure lecithin & contain binders/fillers.

There's a lot of info out there on this subject. Good luck :-)

ChrysN (author)PattyO62016-02-23

The cooking method is quicker and is better for culinary oil.

PattyO6 (author)ChrysN2016-02-23

My lavender oils are for topical application. Would the oil prep also apply. Thanks

ChrysN (author)PattyO62016-02-23

If it is non culinary than week on the window would be better.

PrincessM8 (author)2016-07-24

As far as storage goes, if I use just olive oil to infuse with, would storing it the same as regular olive oil be okay? I read somewhere that infused olive oil for topical application must be used quickly to avoid going rancid.. I will be using the windowsill method, not any of the heated methods. Thanks!

ChrysN (author)PrincessM82016-07-25

It would be best if it was stored in fridge and used right away.

BeckmanM (author)2016-06-03

The text on their web site has been put in many different categories, to enable the public to find the answers to their questions more quickly. One should slowly go over the entire contents of the website, which will inform you about many views concerning many different aspects of this oils production consumption and acquiring it.

grace6 (author)2016-04-24

Would the fresh flowers mold during the windowsill infusion process?

ChrysN (author)grace62016-04-24

You need to make sure that all of the flowers are submerged in oil and check on them regularly. In a humid environment you make need to drain it remove the flowers and and fresh ones after a week.

eilisb (author)2016-02-27

i make an infused oil with dried lavender, calendula , chamomile and comfrey. To 4 cups almond oil i add 2 cups calendula and 1 cup each of the others. instead of infusing dried herbs can i just add essential oils of these plants and if so, how much essential oil is equivalent to i cup dried plant?

ChrysN (author)eilisb2016-02-27

I don't know, I have never tried. Essential oils are really concentrated so you would probably only need a small amount.

ZoëT2 (author)2015-11-16

I want to make a Christmas scent but I'm not sure which scents to use to get the max effect. I have sunflower oil too. I want to make candles and add this to them.
Thank you

ChrysN (author)ZoëT22015-11-16

You could try cinnamon and clove or pine.

ZoëT2 (author)ChrysN2015-11-17

Great thanks. I was thinking cinnamon and clove together. Is it just a case of trying and keep adding on taste? Or do you have an amount tips? Thanks

ChrysN (author)ZoëT22015-11-17

Yeah, it is pretty well adding by taste/scent but if it gets too strong you could just dilute it with more oil.

champoi (author)2015-08-25

i started infusing kakawate leaves (madre de cacao) ..for pets...just want to ask if im doing the right procedure..i harvested kakawati leaves and leave it to dry inside my room for 5days until it turns crispy dry..then i submerged it in container with virgin coconut oil ...ill be leaving it to infuse for 4 weeks and add honey ,vitamin e as preservative..and some essential i doing the right procedur? thank u very much

ChrysN (author)champoi2015-08-26

Yes, this sounds good.

Mrs.Lemonhead (author)2015-05-03

I didn't see lilac listed as one of your flowers or dandelion. I am infusing both of those starting today. Will adding the flowers without drying them I trounce mold into the oil? U said to dry the herbs but not the flowers. Thanks.

RuudvandeLooij (author)2013-01-24

Love the idea of making your own infused oil. I made 5 small jars for my mother in law for her birthday. I guess she will enjoy them, if not for the taste, then she must like the look of it.

From left to right: Green Peppercorns, Chilipepper, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Garlic.

KathrynP2 (author)RuudvandeLooij2015-01-20

where did you get those containers? they look so pretty!

ChrysN (author)RuudvandeLooij2013-01-24

Wow, those look gorgeous!

ladyamba (author)ChrysN2015-01-12

Yes! Oh wow! I just want to keep them as kitchen decoration!

ralphvel (author)2014-04-08

I have been dying to find whether it is possible to infuse the smell of fried chicken in oils strong enough for use with a scent diffuser. I saw that there are oils with bacon scent or pizza scent. Is it possible to make one smell like fried chicken? Thanks

ssmithsonian (author)ralphvel2014-11-24

This comment is the best thing I've seen all day. If you got this to work, I have to know!!!!

ladyamba (author)ssmithsonian2015-01-12

LOL! Me too! I absolutely HAVE to know!

ChrysN (author)ralphvel2014-04-08

LOL, I am vegetarian so that is definitely not something that I've tried, though I imagine you can try something like this with chicken instead:

apropas (author)2014-12-17

Running the jars through the dishwasher is NOT sufficient to sterilize them. You could be giving some dangerous advice. The only way to do this at home is submersion in boiling water.

ssmithsonian (author)2014-11-24

Can you do this with tobacco? I want to try and make a "manly" cologne and I love the smell of dried Virginia pipe tobacco, seems like it would work the same? What is the best carrier oil that will have the least amount of it's own scent transferring over?

AnnaR3 (author)ssmithsonian2014-12-10

i'm pretty sure that would create a poisonous concoction! steeping tobacco for long periods extracts the nicotine to a point that can be quite deadly and can be absorbed through the skin. maybe i'm wrong on this, but i'm almost positive making a cologne out of tobacco would not be a good idea. it would smell amazing, but wouldn't be worth the danger in my book!

ChrysN (author)ssmithsonian2014-11-24

I'd imagine it would work with tobacco, I would recommend using sweet almond or grape seed oil. What an interesting idea, I would love to hear how it turns out!

samantha.hurman.7 (author)2014-11-13

I do candle making as a hobby, can I use any of the oils you listed (in small quantities) to add some more natural fragrance? Will it affect the way the candle burns? I would rather not use fragrance oil as I have not been able to find any good quality ones in my area. I would rather do it my self and have it be more natural.

- Samantha

ChrysN (author)samantha.hurman.72014-11-13

When added to candles it should probably be used in small quantities. Also try to use an oil with a higher smoke point (temperature at which it burns), some example of oils with higher smoke points are: grapeseed, olive oil, walnut, or sesame.

bethany.vargas.50 (author)2014-11-09

I have flower and herb gardens I would like to use. Is it possible to use mineral oils to make scented body oils? Should I use the sunny window technique? I have extremely sensitive skin and mineral oils are about the only ones that don't bother me. Thanks for your input. Also if i wanted to make a candle or popurri is there a different technique? thanks

ChrysN (author)bethany.vargas.502014-11-11

Mineral oil should be fine with the sunny window technique and the same technique can be used for popurri or candle.

BlackHeart.Insainity (author)2014-10-13

I haven't done anything like this before, and I have to wait a couple years before I can, but my biggest question is do you have to remove the herbs? I'm guessing the answer is no but I really wanna make sure.

Yes, once the herbs have 'steeped' in the oil for a couple of weeks, the herbs should be strained out of the oil.

Okay, kind of figured. Thanks!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
More by ChrysN:Crochet Pokeball Keychain FlashlightYarn BrainAnalog Word Clock
Add instructable to: