It only takes one trip to the local specialty grocery store to see that flavored cooking oils can be quite expensive. Not long ago, a recipe I was making called for garlic-infused olive oil. It was about $12 at my corner market, which I consider to be highway robbery. I’m a work-at-home mom who has to be careful about where to save and where to splurge, and this was definitely NOT a splurge item for me. So I made my own. It was super easy, and you can make your own flavored cooking oil with any of your favorite herbs and spices. You can even mix flavors and create wonderfully flavored combinations. You can use flavored cooking oil to sauté fish, veggies, or chicken. Substitute it in any recipe that calls for olive oil. You can also use it with your favorite vinegar for salad dressing, and it is to-die-for as a dipping sauce for bread!
Choosing Your Oil
To make your own flavored cooking oil, the first step is to choose your oil. Most any cooking oil will work, so there is no need to purchase the most expensive oil on the shelf. Besides, you are adding flavor to the oil, so it will be delicious. To get a flavor that is closest to the herb or spice you are using, use a more flavorless oil like peanut, corn, vegetable, or canola oil. My personal preference, though, is to use olive oil. While the olive oil has its own distinct flavor which will infuse with the herbs and spices, I actually prefer this blending of flavors because I want the flavor of the olive oil to shine through.
Choosing Your Herbs and Spices
Hands down, my favorite herbs to use to make your own flavored cooking oil are ones that come from my herb garden. Basil and rosemary are my go-to herbs, but I also love to use green onion. Fresh roasted garlic and whole peppercorns are terrific spices to add, and you can adjust the level of punch to your liking. Don’t be afraid to mix herbs and spices together in oils. For an Italian flavored oil, you can combine basil, oregano, and garlic. Another favorite combo is lemon and garlic. When using fresh herbs, I typically add about 15 leaves of basin, about 5 garlic cloves, around 15 peppercorns, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and/or about 5 long sprigs of rosemary.
Choosing Your Container
Most discount stores like Walmart and Target carry olive oil dispensers. They are found in the kitchen section, and they are pretty inexpensive, usually around $5. You can order the Tablecraft Olive Oil Dispenser from Amazon, and I believe it is the one I used when I made this basil oil:
A couple of things to note:
- Flavored cooking oils will last around ten days in the cabinet or around a month in the fridge. If you refrigerate, give the oil about 20 minutes to come to room temperature before using.
- Using dried herbs can make the oil last longer, but be aware that chopped herbs can clog up the spout.
- Flavored cooking oils make a fun gift for your friends and family. Who doesn’t love a handmade gift, especially one that is as useful and thoughtful as this!