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How to Make Infused Olive Oil

How to Make Infused Olive Oil

Stephanie Eckelkamp

How to Infuse Olive Oil

Have you ever plowed through an entire baguette at an Italian restaurant because you couldn’t stop dipping it in the ridiculously flavorful infused olive oil? Same here. And while we’ll always love a high-quality, unadulterated extra virgin olive oil, there’s just something about a garlic, or herb, or chili-infused EVOO that takes everything it graces to the next level—whether it’s crusty bread, a warm grain dish, or a salad.

The problem: When you go to buy an infused olive oil at a fancy gourmet food shop or olive oil store, things can get a tad pricey. The good news: It’s incredibly easy to make infused oils at home (in a matter of minutes!) by combining a few simple ingredients with EVOO over low heat. Plus, you can experiment with different combinations and amounts of herbs and aromatics to create a custom oil that’s perfectly suited to your unique tastes.

Infused Olive Oil Recipes

When you search online, there seem to be countless methods of infusing olive oil. The recipes below follow a simple heated-infusion method. This process involves four simple steps:

  1. Lightly heat the olive oil in a saucepan with aromatic ingredients such as herbs, garlic, or lemon for 3-5 minutes. The oil may bubble slightly, but it should not splatter.
  2. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the oil mixture to sit, covered, for 1-2 hours.
  3. Strain the mixture to separate the infused oil from the solids.
  4. Store the oil in an airtight, sterilized container such as a mason jar (here are three ways you can sterilize your glass containers before adding your oil) for up to 1 week at room temperature or 1 month when stored in the refrigerator.

On the other hand, some people prefer a cold-infusion method, which actually involves blending the olive oil with fresh herbs or fresh chili peppers, then straining the oil with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a jar with a good seal. Because these are made with fresh ingredients and are not heated, they should be stored in the refrigerator and used up in 1 week.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled

What to do:

  • Crush the garlic cloves: Place the broad side of a chef’s knife over each clove, then, using the heel of your hand, press down on the knife.
  • Add olive oil and crushed cloves to a small or medium saucepan and warm over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat, cover with a lid, and allow it to sit for 1-2 hours so flavors can marinate.
  • Strain to separate the oil from the garlic.
  • Pour the oil into a sterilized glass jar and seal tightly.

Herb Infused Olive Oil

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of your favorite herbs, or a combination (rosemary, thyme, and sage work well)

What to do:

  • Rinse and dry the herbs.
  • Add olive oil and herbs to a small or medium saucepan and warm over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat, cover with a lid, and allow it to sit for 1-2 hours so flavors can marinate.
  • Strain to separate the oil from the herbs.
  • Pour the oil into a sterilized glass jar and seal tightly.

Lemon Infused Olive Oil

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Peel of one lemon

What to do:

  • Remove the peel from the lemon with a vegetable peeler (try to avoid peeling off much of the spongy white pith—you want the flavorful yellow part)
  • Add olive oil and lemon peel to a small or medium saucepan and warm over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat, cover with a lid, and allow it to sit for 1-2 hours so flavors can marinate.
  • Strain to separate the oil from the lemon peel.
  • Pour the oil into a sterilized glass jar and seal tightly.

Chili Infused Olive Oil

What’ you’ll need:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 small dried red chilis (or 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes)

What to do:

  • Add olive oil and chili pepper to a small or medium saucepan and warm over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat, cover with a lid, and allow it to sit for 1-2 hours so flavors can marinate.
  • Strain to separate the oil from the chili peppers.
  • Pour the oil into a sterilized glass jar and seal tightly.

Ways To Use Infused Olive Oils

These flavorful infused olive oils are good for so much more than bread dipping! Although, they’re great for that, too. Just do yourself a favor: Don’t use them for cooking (you’ve got your plain olive oil for that). Their flavor truly shines when they are used to finish side dishes, main dishes, and even desserts. Here are some ways to try your latest creations:

  1. Mix into homemade hummus
  2. Drizzle over ice cream (try chili-infused oil on chocolate ice cream!)
  3. Drizzle onto creamy soups
  4. Use to punch up homemade salad dressings
  5. Use as a mayo replacement in tuna salad
  6. Drizzle onto cooked meats or fish
  7. Drizzle onto roasted potatoes
  8. Drizzle onto steamed or roasted veggies
  9. Drizzle onto grain bowls, or grain-based sides
  10. Use, along with a splash of red wine vinegar, to marinate mushrooms
  11. Use as a dipping oil for warm, crusty bread
  12. Drizzle over fried or poached eggs