A Helpful Guide: How to Infuse Olive Oil
Infusing olive oil at home is a fun kitchen DIY project that does not require any special equipment or complicated kitchen skills. Here is a guide to infusing your own flavored olive oil, plus tips for buying infused olive oils if you do not feel like making your own.
How to Infuse Olive Oil
First, decide what flavor you want your olive oil to have. Various combinations of herbs are always a good choice, as are citrus options such as lemon and orange. Once you have decided on your flavor (or flavors), gather your ingredients. We recommend fresh herbs and fruits to get the strongest flavor.
We also recommend infusing only smaller amounts of olive oil at a time, starting with one or two cups. Foodborne botulism is a small risk with homemade infused olive oil (as well as any other foods preserved, fermented or canned at home), so you want to make a small enough amount that you can use it up quickly before it can go off. The risk of botulism is especially high with homemade garlic olive oil infusions, so if garlic infused oil is what you are looking for, you may want to try buying one instead.
Wash all the ingredients and let them dry completely (ideally overnight) in order to reduce the risk of botulism. Get a bottle with a well-sealed stopper and also wash that and let it dry completely alongside the other ingredients. You do not want any lingering water droplets on the inside of the bottle.
Once everything is dry, prep the ingredients by bruising herbs with a mortar and pestle to begin releasing their juices. If you are using citrus fruits, peel the rind off the fruit, leaving behind as much of the pith as possible. Bruise these with a mortar and pestle as well.
For cold infusion of olive oil, place the ingredients in the jar and cover them in olive oil. Store the bottle in a cool, dry place for one to two weeks and periodically taste test the olive oil. Once the taste is strong enough for your liking, your olive oil is ready to serve. Strain out the solids and rebottle the olive oil in a clean container.
You can also infuse your olive oil using heat in order to speed up the infusion process. However, you must be careful not to heat the olive oil too hot or too long, as this will cause the natural flavor of the olive oil to degrade and defeat the purpose of infusing it. Exposing olive oil to heat can also cause the beneficial antioxidants in the oil to break down.
To infuse your olive oil using heat, place the ingredients and oil in a pot and heat it on medium-low heat until it reaches approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a relatively low temperature and it happens rather fast, so do not walk away from the stove. Constantly monitor the olive oil with a cooking thermometer. Once it reaches this temperature, take it off the heat and let it cool completely. Then, strain out the solid ingredients and bottle the olive oil in a clean bottle. Store in a cool, dry place and use within one to two months.
Not Ready to Infuse Your Own Olive Oil?
Infusing olive oil at home can be a fun project, but it can actually be quite tricky to get the flavors right. In the case of cold infusion, you also have to wait for a while before the olive oil is ready to be used. If you do not have the time or the patience to infuse your own olive oil, then you can buy it already infused from brands such as Brightland.
When buying infused olive oil, it is usually best to purchase it from a reputable brand that is transparent about its harvesting and manufacturing processes. Some cheaper brands will use the infusion process to mask lower quality olive oil by adding additional flavors to the oil.
If you want high-quality infused olive oil, then try some of our flavored olive oils, which we have extensively blended and taste-tested to get the taste just right. Choose from our chili infused olive oil, basil infused olive oil or lemon olive oil — or get all three for a cornucopia of olive oil flavors!