You've probably tried infused cooking oil, perhaps at a restaurant, or maybe you've purchased some from a local specialty shop. Infused cooking oil is easy to make at home, and definitely worth doing. Why? It's a great way to add a new dimension of flavor to a huge variety of dishes and infusing oil at home lets you customize and mix your favorite flavor combos. Ready to get started? Here's everything you need to know about making infused cooking oil at home.
Glass is best for keeping your infused oils fresh. Make sure the containers you'll be using to store your infused oil are completely sanitized. You can do this by washing them well with hot soapy water and boiling them for 10 minutes.
Also, be sure to wash and dry whatever ingredients you're adding to the oil.
Fresh is best when it comes to infused oils. Using fresh ingredients will give you the best flavor.
If you're using spices, temper them by gently roasting them in a pan before adding them to the oil.
You can leave the added ingredients in the oil or strain them out. Some people prefer to leave them in because they're aesthetically pleasing – perfect if you're making infused oils as a gift.
There are two main ways you can make infused cooking oil. One uses heat, the other doesn't. Which you use is entirely up to you.
Heat the oil and added ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it begins to gently simmer, remove from the heat and let the oil cool. Strain the oil into a clean, sterilized container. Out of the two methods, the heat method is faster, so if you're looking to use your infused cooking oil the same day you make it, this is the way to go. However, the flavor may not be as intense as oils infused with the no-heat method.
Place your clean, dried ingredients in the oil, seal the container, and store it in a cool, dark area for about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you can either strain out the add-ins or leave them in the oil where they will continue to impart flavor.
Once you've made your infused cooking oil, store it in the fridge for up to 1 month. This will reduce the risk of spoilage. If you see any of the added ingredients in the oil starting to turn or if the oil smells off, throw it out immediately.
You can infuse your oils with just about anything. Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and basil, dried herb mixes like herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning, flowers such as lavender or roses, spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, chili peppers – the list goes on. Experiment and discover what combinations you love best.