DIY Infused Oils

Knowing how to make your own infused oils is helpful for both culinary use and natural body care.  

I use infused oils as the base for the healing salve I keep on hand.  I also use them as a base oil to mix with essential oils for massaging onto a scar, wound, or rash, and I plan to use infused oils when we begin making homemade soap.

We use infused oils for cooking as well. Basil infused olive oil is one of my favorites to use in homemade vinaigrette salad dressing or to toss with pasta for a side dish.  Infused oils are also good in marinades and sauces, as dipping oils, or in baking breads.

It is easy to make your own infused oils. Simply follow the instructions below:

Choose your herbs 

You can use fresh or dried herbs.  Fresh herbs give great flavor, but many will need to be acidified to ensure safety. Click here for an article describing how to safely use fresh herbs for infused oils.  You can use a single herb, or a blend of herbs for a more robust flavor. If picking herbs from the garden or foraging for plants, you can clean them and dry them yourself before infusing into the oil.

Culinary  herb suggestions - basil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, chive, cinnamon, clove

Body Care herb suggestions - rose, plantain, comfrey, chamomile, chickweed

Choose your oil

You can use many different types of oil.  Olive oil is a great option since it is safe for culinary use and for skin care. For skin care, I like to make a blend that includes coconut oil, which is nourishing for your skin. Remember that your skin will absorb what you put onto it, whether it is toxins or beneficial plant extracts, so be sure to avoid  highly processed oils and stick with more the more natural, non-gmo oils.

Sterilize your jars

Anytime you make something that you will be ingesting or putting on your skin,  be sure to use sterilized equipment in order to prevent botulism or other contamination. Use a glass jar to store your oil.  You do not want plastic to leech into a product you will be putting on or in your body. Once you have chosen the jar you will be using,  you can sterilize the jar by submerging it in boiling water for a minimum of 10 minutes.  You will need to be sure it is completely dry and has no water remaining on it before adding your oil.

Choose your ratio

How much oil and herb you use depends on your preference.  Some people use a one part herb to 10 parts oil.  I personally prefer to use something along the lines of a one part herb to four or five parts oil ratio for a stronger oil. 

Choose your warming method

Method 1 - Warm oil pour over

Place herbs in your sterilized jar. Heat oil in a pan to just warm and pour over the herbs in the jar.  Screw on a clean, sterile lid and leave for  one to ten days before straining the oil. The longer you leave it sit, the stronger the flavor of the oil. Be careful not to get the oil too hot or it will burn the herbs in the jar, leaving an unpleasant taste to the oil. 

Method 2 - Warm water bath

Place herbs in your sterilized jar. Pour oil over the herbs and cover the jar with a clean, sterile lid.  Sit the jar in a pot of warm water (or a crockpot filled with warm water) and let warm for two to four hours.  You do not need the water to simmer, just to get warm enough to distribute the heat to the oil and allow the plant extracts to release into the oil. Be careful not to get water into the jar with the oil. Let sit for one to ten days for a stronger flavor.

Method 3 - Sun warmed oil

Fill jar with herbs.  Pour oil over the herbs and cover the jar tightly with a lid.  Place in a sunny location for ten days.  

Infusing rose oil using the stovetop water bath method

Strain your oil and pour into a jar

Once you have allowed the oil to infuse, strain out the plant material using cheesecloth and pour the oil into sterilized containers. Close with a clean, sterile lid.

Oils are best stored in the refrigerator or in the freezer, especially if they are made from fresh herbs. Oils made from fresh herbs should last in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.  Oils made from dried material and kept in a cool, dark place should last 2 to 3 months.