Add flavor to your favorite dishes with Infused Olive Oil. Try all 5 flavor variations: Italian, tomato basil, garlic, lemon thyme, and chili!
It’s Choose Your Adventure: Olive Oil Edition. Do you want to:
- Instantly flavor-upgrade every meal, or
- Give the BEST gifts this year, or
- Save that “meh” bottle of olive oil, or
- Teletransport to flavor land
Oh hey, would ya look at that. The road to all of these adventures is…INFUSED OLIVE OIL!
Food is a global language. No matter what we’re cooking, we’re all after the same thing: flavor! And we all have our favorite methods of adding extra flavor to dishes whether it be dried spices, fresh herbs, extra ingredients, or pounds of garlic (I don’t judge — garlic rocks).
But there’s one simple way to add flavor that I feel is often overlooked: olive oil!
Because olive oil is so versatile (I mean, you can use it in so many different recipes), we’re covering how to infuse it 5 different ways! These simple ingredient additions enhance the oil in a quick and easy 20 minute cooking method.
As we approach the holidays, keep these in mind. Infused oil recipes make great Christmas gifts for the chefs, foodies, and all around kitchen connoisseurs in your life! Just bottle up your favorite, add a pretty decoration (like a dried herb), and voila! A gift that is both functional and delicious — everyone’s fave!
How to make homemade infused olive oil
Infused olive oil requires a sauce pot, flavor ingredients, and a bit of time on the stove. Heating the ingredients with the oil will allow those flavorings to truly seep in.
- Steep: Start by adding 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil and your chosen flavorings to a sauce pot and cook over medium/low heat for 20 minutes. Don’t let it simmer or smoke.
- Strain: Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the flavor ingredients from the oil.
- Bottle: Transfer the oil to a clean bottle and store somewhere cool and dark.
Best Practice Tips:
- Good Quality herbs: For the best flavor, use new dried herbs. Avoid using those dried herbs that have been in pantry for 7 years — over time they lose flavor and take on a musty flavor!
- Dry bottles: Be sure the bottles are completely dry (water will make the oil go rancid more quickly).
- Decorate the bottles: Optionally decorate the bottle with a sprig of clean, dry, fresh herb (like thyme or rosemary). It’s best to let the herb hang for 24 hours to slightly dry it out.
Italian Infused Olive Oil
To make Italian infused olive oil, use basil, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and crushed red pepper. You can use more or less crushed red pepper depending on the amount of heat you’re looking for.
Italian olive oil makes a delicious pairing for dipping thick, hearty breads (it’s similar to a good Restaurant-Style Olive Oil Bread Dip!). It’s also great for using as a salad dressing, adding flavor to pasta, or sautéing vegetables.
Sundried Tomato & Basil Olive Oil
Tomato and basil olive oil requires only two ingredients: sundried tomatoes and basil! It’s an easy pairing filled with flavor as the olive oil really soaks up all of that tomato goodness. I used Mezzetta Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, but any type will work!
Like the Italian oil, this sundried tomato and basil rendition makes a great salad dressing (like on this one made with quinoa). It’s also perfect for using on Mediterranean dishes like Avocado Bruschetta or Hummus Dip.
Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Next up is one of my favorites – garlic! For this recipe, we’re not using fresh garlic because it can develop an odorless and tasteless botulism bacteria when in an anaerobic (oil) state. Instead, we’ll use 2 tablespoons of powder, which will add a delicious amount of flavor and avoid any risk. (To make a fresh garlic oil, use this recipe).
To be on the safe side, I recommend storing garlic oil in the refrigerator (even when using powdered garlic!).
Enjoy garlic infused olive oil on all of your favorite dishes like pasta, Slow Cooker Carrots, Stuffed Avocados, or salad, like this grilled zucchini number! You can also drizzle it over fried eggs or steamed veggies. And like Italian olive oil, it makes a great oil for dipping your favorite bread.
Lemon Thyme Infused Olive Oil
Lemon thyme infused olive oil is the perfect recipe for adding a dash of zing to your oil. The combination of a lemon peel and 2 tablespoons of thyme is just the right amount of flavor.
The properties of the oil and lemon combined are a particularly good combo health wise as they support the liver and fight cell damage.
One of my favorite ways to use lemon thyme olive oil is in caesar salad! Classic caesars are typically made with a dressing that includes lemon juice and olive oil. Using this lemon thyme infused oil is the perfect way to supplement the flavor! You can also use this infusion in Grilled Romaine Salad, Lemon Basil Risotto, Berry Salad, or grain bowls (like this Lemon Arugula idea)!
Chili Infused Olive Oil
Last but not least, we have chili infused olive oil! This one requires just 2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper. However, if you love heat, you may enjoy using a bit more than that!
Chili infused olive oil is perfect for using in meals where you want to add a bit of extra heat. It’s delicious when used to roast or broil vegetables like asparagus or broccoli, and it can also be drizzled over eggs or added as a pasta flavoring.
One of my favorite ways to use it is drizzled over a raw salad! Nothing pairs better than cold, refreshing veggies and a bit of a bite.
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 236 mL
Flavor (choose one)
- Italian: 1 tsp dried basil, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried rosemary, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- Sundried Tomato & Basil: 3 sundried tomatoes (chopped), 2 Tbsp dried basil
- Garlic: 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- Lemon Thyme: 1 lemon peel (sliced), 2 Tbsp dried thyme
- Chili: 2 Tbsp crushed red pepper
- Steep: Combine oil and chosen flavor ingredients in a small saucepan. Set over medium/low heat and cook for 20 minutes to infuse the flavors into the oil (do not let it simmer or smoke).
- Strain: Using a fine mesh sieve, strain flavor ingredients from the oil, then transfer oil to clean bottles.
- Store: Label and store somewhere cool and dark until ready to serve.
Tips & Tricks
I’m excited to be one of Google’s paid early testers for their Thank with Google pilot program. Thank with Google is an experimental feature that allows a creative and fun way for my audience to connect with me and show their appreciation of my work on this site by purchasing a virtual sticker. It’s also a way to share which content you value the most and why. When you send a paid sticker, you can add a personal message.
You can find the Thank with Google feature at the bottom of each blog post and in my sidebar! If you test it out, even just to send a free sticker, let me know what you think. Thanks as always for your support. Happy Holidays!