How to Make Flavored Herbal Oils for Cooking

A variety of flavored olive oils in various shaped bottles

Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

Prep: 169 hrs
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 169 hrs 20 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
127 Calories
14g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 127
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 14mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Herb-infused flavored oils for cooking, such as basil, rosemary, or garlic oil, are widely available at high-end grocery stores and specialty cooking shops, but they can be very expensive and don't always have a true, robust herbal flavor. They are often processed and may have been sitting on a shelf for months. Fortunately, herb-flavored oils are very easy to make yourself either from the herbs you grow or purchase. They are wonderful to cook with, and when decanted into pretty bottles, they're always welcome as gifts. 

It is best to choose sprigs of herbs that do not require washing. The total prep time reflects that the oil needs to steep for one week to ensure maximum flavor.


  • Fresh or dried herbs of your choice

  • Light cooking oil, such as vegetable, canola, or virgin olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Shake off any soil from herbs and check for any insects. If you must clean herbs, rinse off and give them several hours to thoroughly dry before using. Any water left on herbs will impede contact with oil.

  3. Sterilize clean glass bottles or jars by boiling in water for 10 minutes. Allow the jars to dry thoroughly.

  4. Slightly bruise herbs with a wooden roller to release oils. Add herbs to bottles. You don’t need a large quantity of herbs; depending on pungency and freshness of herbs, a sprig or two should sufficiently infuse oil.

  5. Heat oil over low heat in a saucepan just until warm.

  6. Carefully pour oil into bottles over herbs. Allow contents to cool.

  7. If using fresh herbs, strain them out of oil by pouring oil from bottle through a strainer or coffee filter and into a new bottle. Dried herbs can remain in oil, but oil will stay fresh a bit longer if they are also strained out. 

  8. Once herbs are removed, seal bottles with lids or corks. Allow them to sit in a cool spot out of direct sunlight for about one week before using.


  • The lighter the oil flavor, the more pronounced the herb flavor will be. While extra-virgin olive oil is a kitchen favorite, it has a very pronounced flavor of its own. Lighter olive oil or something like virgin olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil are better choices.
  • Good choices for herbal oil infusions include basil, bay leaves, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, savory, tarragon, and thyme. You could also add things like citrus peel for even more flavor.

Notes on Food Safety for Infused Oils

  • Always start with clean, dry herbs and sterilized jars or bottles. Do not use herbs that show any sign of mold. It is crucial when preserving any type of food that you always follow the processing instructions specified in the recipe and adhere to the USDA guidelines on how to sterilize jars and other products for canning.
  • Homemade oils do not stay fresh as long as processed oils, and they will need to be used within a short time after opening. Flavored oils should be used within two months. Straining out the herbs and refrigerating the oil will help the oil last longer. Many gift recipients won’t want to use it up quickly, so be sure to put a "use by" date on the label and remind them the oil won’t stay fresh for long.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. United States, Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Complete Guide to Home Canning. Revised 2015. Prepper Press, 2017.