Instructables
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.
 
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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.
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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?

ChrysN (author)  ssmithsonian2 days ago

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!

ralphvel7 months ago

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

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

ChrysN (author)  ralphvel7 months ago

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:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Bacon-Flavored-Olive-Oil

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.713 days ago

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.

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.5015 days ago

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

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.

ChrysN (author)  BlackHeart.Insainity1 month ago

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!

sacaluka8 months ago
Can i get the scent strong enough to use it for aromatherapy candles ?
ChrysN (author)  sacaluka8 months ago

They won't be as strong as essential oils since they mostly made from a distillation process.

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.
DSC00118.JPG
ChrysN (author)  RuudvandeLooij1 year ago
Wow, those look gorgeous!
emmaazing2 years ago
This is great! im going to use cinnamon infused almond oil to add to my lip balm so it promotes circulation and soft pouty lips! so excited!
ChrysN (author)  emmaazing2 years ago
Sounds awesome!
humblebug3 years ago
hi ChrysN, i'm so glad to have your instructable on infused oil..i made one, a mix of fresh oregano and basil leaves... its been 5days now..i want this as massage oil and ive been thinking if its ok to put a little of fragrance oil, what fragrance would you recommend...(i bought diff. fragrance oils but read a warning it should not be used for the skin...) what should i mix to have a better smell..

pls help.,....thanks!
ChrysN (author)  humblebug3 years ago
You should be able to use an essential oil on your skin rather than a fragrance oil. You can try sage or bay oil, those would probably go nicely with the oregano and basil. If you want your infused oil to have a stronger scent you can drain off the leaves and re infuse with more herbs.
thanks for the response chrys...please take some more time to answer some more of my questions ;)

is it possible to mix dry herbs since i originally processed fresh herbs (i saw dried sage and bay leaves in the supermarket) ?

or should i drain the leaves (oregano and basil) before mixing the dried ones?

i also found methyl salicylate in a drugstore (with labels like: 65ml methyl salicilate, 35ml mineral oil) and it smells good (minty smell), is it safe to add this? ( its even indicated in the bottle that its oil of wintergreen -antirheumatic)

i am also bothered whats the best thing to do, if to store it in a dry cool dark place or to place it where it can really be spotted by the sun...what i do is put it in direct sunlight for 20-30 minutes in the morning, is this ok? by the way, my bottle is clear so i wrapped it with a dark colored plastic bag.

i tried putting the oregano-basil infused oil in my skin and it feels really good, but im just bothered with the smell... i hope you could help me with this questions before i share it with mom and dad ;)

Thank you in advance....
ChrysN (author)  humblebug3 years ago
1) You should drain the old leaves before adding the dried ones.

2) methyl salicylate smells nice and is used in sore muscle creams but it is also toxic so only use small amounts (see the wiki article).

3)Only leave in a sunny spot while the herbs are steeping, once you drain off the herbs you should store in a dry cool place.

3)If you don't like the smell try adding something with a smell that you like.
is there a duration when leaving it under sunlight? i have read one of the comments that direct sunlight for long hours might have an effect on strength of the aroma...
ok then, il try to put some drops of methyl on it. :)
and try to look for fragrance oils that's good for the skin... :)

one last (i hope so) is it also save to mix ethyl alcohol? just wonderin ;)
ChrysN (author)  humblebug3 years ago
I think it is the warmth of the sun rather than the light which helps absorb the herbs in to the oil, so if you don't have a spot that doesn't get long hours of sunlight but is warm, it is okay. Ethyl alcohol is okay to use on skin, it is used in hand sanitizers as well as perfumes.
thanks again...i might try putting ethyl alcohol..i hope it wouldnt affect on the effectiveness and strength of the massage oil... i wiki the methyl salicylate and now having doubts of mixing it :)
ill take your advise on putting dried bay and sage, il let you know how the smell would turn out in a couple of days ;)

thanks again ;)
Batness3 years ago
GREAT JOB! Especially mentioning the whole "DRY the herbs/etc" part. There have been a few 'Ibles without that mention, and it bugs me. THANK YOU!

I also love that you've included the massage oil/botanical oils. Now I can smell good and cook with delicious oils! Have you tried lavender? I have not but am curious to see what it smells like in an oil base...
ChrysN (author)  Batness3 years ago
Thanks for your comment. I have tried lavender, it is really nice definitely one of my favorites.
chillen13 years ago
How would you use these oils? Heating them up, with reed infusors or just laying them out in a bowl or open bottle?
ChrysN (author)  chillen13 years ago
You could use them as massage oils or in homemade lotions, soaps personal care products or in the bath.
Awesome! Thank you very much (=
lydwatters3 years ago
Is there a way to speed the process up?
ChrysN (author)  lydwatters3 years ago
You can try heating it like in step 4, though I've never tried it myself with flowers.
This is on my 2011 to do list. BTW, your photography is amazing.
ChrysN (author)  cdawisconsin3 years ago
Cool, thanks!
robbied4 years ago
If you boil the garlic in the oil for around 10 minutes, it will kill the bacteria. This also helps infuse the oil with the garlic flavours.
Other sites I have seen also say to store it cold. So if you boil it first, let it cool then into the fridge, you should be safe
cjccjc4 years ago
Very nice. I was wondering if these could be used in a reed diffuser?
ChrysN (author)  cjccjc4 years ago
The scent in infused oils are generally not as concentrated as in essential oils or fragrance oils.
dustinbikes4 years ago
You definitely want to keep these out of the sun, the uv light causes cooking oils to go rancid faster, also another thing i would like to add is, do not try to do this with garlic and oil. Putting garlic into the oil creates an anaerobic environment and there is a likelihood that botulism will grow. The garlic infused oils that are available from the grocery store are acidulated to a very specific ph balance that inhibits the growth of the botulism.
ilieva4 years ago
Place the oil at the sunny window for 15-30 min. just before using the oil. It will get the benefits of the sun energy but will not have time to destroy the aromatic molecules of the infusion.
GreenD4 years ago
Placing in a sunny spot may be bad - this can cause degredation of the aromatic molecules, or even of the oil's aroma itself. If you have a UV filter or UV blocking windows than this will be ok, but sunlight is very powerful!
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