Forget visiting boutique stores and shelling out big bucks for flavored olive oil. You can learn how to infuse olive oil at home so that you have the perfect flavor, every time.
Infusing olive oil is extremely easy. Simply combine the flavoring of your choice with olive oil, apply gentle heat to infuse the flavor, then cool, strain and enjoy. It’s truly as easy as that!
Here, we’ll detail a basic method for how to infuse olive oil in the oven.
Then, we’ll offer alternate methods and tips so that you can tailor the experience to suit your preferences.
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Place a baking sheet on a lower rack (to catch any potential drips).
Find a heatproof vessel in which to make your infused olive oil. I use oven-safe ramekins (with an approximately 10-ounce capacity) so I can make small batches of various flavors concurrently.
Place your flavoring in the heatproof container, then submerge it with olive oil. Make sure the liquid level isn’t too high in the container — you don’t want it to slosh around later on, when the oil is hot.
How much flavoring should I use?
The amount of flavoring depends on what you’re infusing and your personal flavor preferences. For instance, I might fill the container about halfway full with fresh chopped herbs. This is enough to flavor the oil but not so much that it can’t be submerged. For a more potent flavoring, such as chili flakes or dried herbs, I would just use a generous spoonful.
Bake in the oven for about 2 hours; the oil should be fragrant when you (carefully!) remove it from the oven. Let cool to room temperature.
Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer and into a storage container. Depending on the flavoring, the olive oil may have a different hue after being heated.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Alternate methods for infusing olive oil
The same basic method of submerging a flavoring in olive oil can be applied in various different ways. Here are a few alternatives:
On the stovetop
Instead of baking in the stove, put your herbs and oil in the top of a double boiler and cook for 2 hours. Monitor the level of water in the lower portion of the double boiler, adding more if the water begins to evaporate during the cooking.
In a slow cooker
Place your herbs or flavorings in a slow cooker; submerge with olive oil. Cook on the “low” setting for 3-4 hours. Note that the “low” setting on some slow cookers is hotter than others. If you know that your slow cooker tends to be on the hotter side, this might not be the best method for making infused olive oil in your house.
This particular method doesn’t require heat, but it needs quite a bit more time. Place your herbs or flavorings in an airtight container; submerge fully with olive oil. Seal and store in a cool, dark place. Check the progress every few days. It can take anywhere from 1 week to a few weeks to really infuse the olive oil with flavor.
Ideas for olive oil flavorings
You can flavor your olive oil with just about any flavoring you can dream up (and some that you probably haven’t dreamed of!). Here are just a few inspiring ideas!
1. Green onion
Use extra green onion that you have lying around to make infused olive oil! Green onion, as well as its flavor friends garlic, shallots and onion, make versatile and flavorful infused oils.
Dried herb mixes
Chances are, your favorite dried herb mix will taste great as an olive oil infusion. For instance, the infused oil pictured above is made with herbes de provence, using a heaping tablespoon of the herb mix to about ½ cup olive oil.
Slices of lemon or lime (or any citrus or citrus mix you fancy) can make for vibrant, zingy infused oils that taste great on top of salads and Mediterranean food.
Warm bread dipped in rosemary olive oil is an experience that everyone should enjoy in their life. A spring or two of rosemary per ½ cup of olive oil works well in this recipe.
Chocolate olive oil? It’s a thing, and it is glorious. Coarsely chop some chocolate and place it in the bottom of your heatproof container as your “flavoring” in the above recipe. You’ll be rewarded with a truly unique and sophisticated dessert sauce that tastes great on ice cream.