Lemon-Infused Olive Oil

Lemon-infused olive oil recipe

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
121 Calories
14g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 121
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 7mg 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.)

Infused olive oils are a great way to add layers of flavor to a dish, and can include herbs, garlic, and citrus, such as lemon. The best lemon olive oil is made by including lemon with the olives when the olives are cold-pressed for their oil. Most commercial lemon-infused olive oils are not made that way and instead are made with a gentle heat-and-soak, a technique that can be simply done in the home kitchen.

Lemon-infused olive oil is fabulous to use in a salad dressing but is also nice to have on hand to simply drizzle over grilled vegetables, chicken, or fish. It's also delicious drizzled over fresh goat cheese or even plain whole milk yogurt or lemon sorbet. Lemon-infused olive oil keeps, sealed well, in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Ingredients

  • 1 large lemon

  • 1 cup olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lemon-infused olive oil
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt 
  2. Scrub the lemon clean using soap. Rinse and dry it thoroughly.

    Scrub lemon clean
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Use a very sharp paring knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Unlike most recipes calling for zest, you want big strips, not small gratings. The zest is just the bright yellow part of the peel, not the bitter white pith immediately below it; make sure to peel off only the zest, leaving the pith behind (the pith will turn the oil bitter); if bits of pith cling to the zest, use a sharp knife to carefully cut it off.

    Cut peel
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  4. In a small saucepan, warm the lemon zest and the olive oil over medium heat. Do not allow the oil to simmer or develop any bubbles (even little ones along the side of the pan). Keep the oil warm for about 10 minutes.

    Water on zest
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. Remove the pan from heat and let the zest steep as the oil cools to room temperature. Strain the lemon zest out of the oil: either pour it through a sieve or simply use tongs or a fork to lift the zest out of the oil, letting any excess oil drip off back into the pan.

    Peels
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  6. Transfer the lemon-infused oil into a clean jar or another type of sealable container.

    Funnel and pot
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  7. Store the oil in the refrigerator. Use in your favorite recipes and enjoy.

Tips

  • It's important to wash the lemon thoroughly; the peel needs to be completely clean since the outside zest is going to be cooked in the oil. Scrub it thoroughly with soap and water and then rinse and dry well.
  • You may be tempted to leave the lemon zest in the oil, but the oil will keep longer if you remove it before storing. Plus, once the oil has cooled down, it's not going to take up more flavor from the zest.
  • This infused oil needs to be stored in the refrigerator because of the lemon. It may become cloudy but should clear up when brought to room temperature.

How to Use

A simple way to use this infused oil is in recipes that call for both oil and lemon (whether juice or zest), such as a salad dressing or marinade. But it can also add flavor to simply roasted vegetables, like asparagus, or a whole roasted chicken. Drizzle over grilled fish, sautéed shrimp, or grilled octopus. Or enjoy it on its own by serving alongside some crusty bread.

Recipe Variations

You can certainly infuse olive oil with other things, and the method is the same.

  • Garlic-infused olive oil. Use 3 whole peeled garlic cloves (you must remove the garlic cloves once the oil cools; it is not safe to leave the garlic in the oil).
  • Orange-infused olive oil. Switch out the lemon zest for orange zest.
  • Rosemary-infused olive oil. Pop in a sprig of rosemary; this oil looks lovely and is perfect to give as a gift.