How to Make Infused Oil

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Introduction: How to Make Infused Oil

About: 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 likes to be in the centre of things, so you will see him in several of my instruc…

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:

  • 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

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:

Basil

  Clove

  Oregano

  Peppercorns

Garlic

  Rosemary

  Tarragon

  Sage

Chilies

  Coriander

  Thyme

  Cumin


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

  • 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

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

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:

Lavender

Rose, carnation, chamomile, jasmine, violets

Comfrey

Geranium, violets, lily, sweet pea, hyacinths etc

Clove

Vanilla bean

Citrus peel

Cinnamon bark

Calendula
Lemongrass

Pine

Mint


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

  • 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.
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91 Comments

0
bleachtimes
bleachtimes

4 months ago

In doing my own research on making infused oils, I came across information from a University of Idaho publication: http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/pdf/PNW/PNW664.pdf that warns about botulism when using fresh or dried garlic and/or herbs. The publication calls for properly preparing the items and then properly acidifying them. The only items researched and considered acceptable for use are garlic, basil, oregano, and rosemary. I know the author of this instructable mentions botulism regarding garlic, but it applies to all added ingredients.

0
lillyatnine
lillyatnine

Question 5 months ago on Introduction

Can I dilute the herb I fused oil with more oil. Will it lose its “power”

0
adelehayes32357
adelehayes32357

Tip 10 months ago

Once U've done the cooking or the window process do U have to take the flowers or what ever U've infused out of the oil or can U leave it in the oil & store it?
Then how do U know if the oil has gone bad?

0
zerrudokrt48
zerrudokrt48

1 year ago

can I use cooking oil,I mean ,my mom does'nt have any budget.

0
ChrysN
ChrysN

Reply 1 year ago

Yes, it should be fine.

0
carlos777
carlos777

1 year ago

If infused olive oil is bottled and sealed correctly what would the expiration be before opening the bottle and after opening the bottle . Many thanks for your feedback.

0
Errick27
Errick27

1 year ago

Can i use palm oil? Thats the only oil available here

0
ChrysN
ChrysN

Reply 1 year ago

To be honest, I haven't tried it but I see no reason why it wouldn't work.😁.

0
Chrissie1960
Chrissie1960

Question 2 years ago

Can I add more than one pain relieving herb to my base oil to make an infused oil or am I better in making an infused oil one for each of the five herbs I want to use? Thank you for any helpful replies

0
juniaj1996
juniaj1996

2 years ago

Can i make beetroot infused coconut oil... Or beetroot infused sesame oil?? Which is better and may i know the best preferred method to do the same...

0
DanielM1076
DanielM1076

3 years ago

I want to infuse virgin coconut oil with lemongrass, please let me know what to do

0
ChrysN
ChrysN

Reply 3 years ago

Hi, since you are using virgin coconut oil you do want to heat it as it would destroy it's good qualities so I recommend using the method in step 2 above.

0
Peterv209
Peterv209

Question 3 years ago on Step 6

What is the best way to infuse cymbidium orchids?

0
SHOE0007
SHOE0007

5 years ago

Lemon cat mint aroma Oil.

0
ChristinaS147
ChristinaS147

5 years ago

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.

0
KendraG8
KendraG8

Reply 5 years ago

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... https://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/c-156-savory-flavors.aspx

0
JanetteH7
JanetteH7

5 years ago

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

0
ChrysN
ChrysN

Reply 5 years ago

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.

0
JanetteH7
JanetteH7

Reply 5 years ago

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.

0
ChrysN
ChrysN

Reply 5 years ago

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