Herb-infused olive oil is a light, tasty way to add flavor to many types of meals. It can be used in cooking or as a dressing on your food. Both cold-infused and heat-infused olive oils are easy to make at home, but the process requires careful consideration of your ingredients to prevent the growth of bacteria in the bottle.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Creating Strong Flavors

  1. In the supermarket or a speciality grocery store, look for a darker green bottle of olive oil, which is colored to protect the flavor of the oil. Read the label to make sure the oil is labeled as “extra virgin” olive oil, which is the highest quality olive oil available. Try to buy a bottle that clearly labels the region where the olives were grown and the date of harvest.
    • If you can’t find extra virgin olive oil, you can also buy “virgin” olive oil, which is slightly lower quality, but still has a very good flavor and can be used for infusions.
    • Be sure to check the “best by” date to ensure that the expiration date gives you enough time to make and use the oil.
  2. Many people prefer to add only 1 ingredient to their oil to give it a distinct taste. For a pleasant and strong infusion, try making rosemary olive oil, thyme olive oil, garlic olive oil, truffle olive oil, lemon olive oil, or basil olive oil.[1]
    • For example, if you make Italian food frequently, you can make a garlic olive oil to use while cooking.
    • If you like to use olive oil on salads, try infusing a lemon or ginger olive oil.
  3. Choose flavors and herbs that you use together in recipes often, as those tend to work together well. Popular multi-ingredient infused oils include garlic-chili olive oil, Italian herbs olive oil, and rosemary-garlic olive oil.[2]
    • As a general rule, try to stick with creating infusions that have no more than 2 ingredients. More ingredients can sometimes result in muddled flavors and conflicting tastes.
    • If you want to experiment with multiple-flavor infusions that have more than 2 ingredients, try making smaller batches of the infused oils to taste test. This will prevent waste and ensure that the flavors work together.
  4. If your ingredients are tender herbs like basil, oregano, cilantro and parsley, or small ingredients like peppercorn, they’ll release their flavor easily when cut or chopped and can be cold-infused. This method is also the best for ingredients like lemons, which should be kept cold to prevent rancidity.[3]
    • If you’re unsure of whether your ingredient should be cold or hot infused, try a cold infusion first. This method works well with most ingredients and creates a mild flavor profile.
  5. If you’re using woody herbs, like rosemary and sage, a heat-infusion is best for releasing all of the bold flavors. This method is also good for preserved ingredients like dried mushrooms and chilis.[4]
    • For woody herbs, including rosemary, sage, and thyme, you’ll need only a few sprigs of the herb for your infusion, since they tend to be stronger and the hot oil will draw out the flavor.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Cold-Infusing Fresh Ingredients

  1. Cold-infusion works best for tender ingredients, such as parsley, cilantro, and fresh chilis, or small ingredients like fresh peppercorns. Wash them under warm water, and lay them out to dry overnight to avoid transferring water into your infusion.[5]
    • While bacteria won’t grow in olive oil, it can grow on wet ingredients that have been added to an infusion.
  2. For every 1 US quart (950 mL) of oil, use about 1 cup (240 mL) of fresh herbs for your infusion. Place the ingredients into the food processor, and let it run for 30 seconds or until the herbs are pulverized.[6]
    • This helps the herbs begin to release their flavors to infuse into the oil and will speed up the infusion process.
  3. Scoop the pulverized herbs into a clean, dry bottle, and pour room temperature oil into the jar until it’s full. Leave as little room at the top of the jar as possible, and screw the lid or cap on tightly. Invert it a few times to thoroughly mix the ingredients.[7]
    • Make sure the lid is on as tightly as possible to prevent air from entering the bottle while it infuses.
  4. The refrigerator is the perfect place for cold-infusing olive oil because the temperature is regulated and it’s dark unless the door is open. Every 2-3 days, pour out some oil and taste it to check how the infusion is progressing.![8]
    • Cold-infusion oils should be refrigerated at all times to prevent them from becoming rancid.
  5. Once the flavor is to your liking, the olive oil is ready. Pour the oil through a strainer to remove the solid ingredients, and then funnel the oil back into a clean, dry, resealable bottle, like a mason jar or bottle with a cork stopper. Place the bottle back into the refrigerator for safe storage.[9]
    • Cold-infused oils will last 2-3 weeks when stored in the refrigerator. If you notice a change in the flavor of your oil, throw it away immediately and infuse a new batch.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Doing a Heat-Infusion

  1. On the burner, slowly increase the heat of the oil until it reaches 150 °F (66 °C). Then, take the pan off of the burner and set it aside to begin to cool.[10]
    • Heating the oil over 150 °F (66 °C) can change the flavor profile. Try to keep the heat at or just below this temperature for best results.
    • Don’t begin to add ingredients to the oil as it’s heating. This can cook the ingredients and change the overall flavor of the oil.
  2. Once the olive oil has dropped from it’s highest temperature, begin adding your ingredients, like rosemary, thyme, sage, chilis, or dried mushrooms. Use a spoon or spatula to mix them into the oil thoroughly, and then let the oil sit to cool.[11]
    • After your initial mixing, try not to disturb the ingredients as they infuse into the oil. This can change the flavor of the oil and cause it to cool too quickly.
  3. After about an hour, the oil should be around 72 °F (22 °C). Pour the oil through a strainer to remove the solid ingredients, and funnel the strained oil into a clean, dry, resealable bottle.[12]
    • Keep in mind that the longer the ingredients sit in the oil, the stronger the flavor will be. If you want a stronger flavor, let the oil sit for an extra 1-2 hours before straining and bottling.
  4. Since the oil was heated and there are no other ingredients in the jar, it’s safe to keep the heat-infused oil on a counter outside of the refrigerator. However, you can also refrigerate this oil if you prefer to use it cold.[13]
    • Heat-infused oil will be fresh for 1 month after bottling. If you notice a change in the flavor of the oil, throw away the oil and infuse a new batch.
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Ideas for Infusing Olive Oil

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I cook the garlic before adding it to the olive oil?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Sautee the garlic for five minutes before adding it to the oil.
  • Question
    Can I blend basil with olive oil?
    Samantha L. Campbell
    Samantha L. Campbell
    Community Answer
    Yes! Basil olive oil is very common and is great for cooking Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
  • Question
    Is it okay to infuse the olive oil with the pre-dried herbs or spices that I can buy at the grocery store?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Whole herbs are fine, but the powdered herbs/spices may not work well. They will not taste as flavorful as fresh herbs that you dry yourself.

Things You’ll Need

Cold-Infusing Your Ingredients

  • Fresh ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • Clean, dry, resealable jar or bottle
  • Food processor
  • Strainer
  • Funnel

Doing a Heated-Infusion

  • Medium saucepan
  • Hardy or preserved ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • Clean, dry, resealable jar or bottle
  • Strainer
  • Funnel


  • Make sure your herbs are completely dry before adding them to the oil. If they’re wet, a dangerous bacteria called botulism can form.

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About This Article

Marrow Private Chefs
Co-authored by:
Private Chefs
This article was co-authored by Marrow Private Chefs. Marrow Private Chefs are based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It is a chefs’ collaborative comprised of an ever-growing number of chefs and culinary professionals. Though regionally influenced primarily by coastal, traditional southern, cajun, and creole styles and flavors, the chefs at Marrow have a solid background in all types of cuisine with over 75 years of combined cooking experience. This article has been viewed 365,619 times.
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Co-authors: 12
Updated: March 1, 2023
Views: 365,619
Article SummaryX

To infuse olive oil, start by washing your fresh herbs and letting them dry completely overnight, which will help prevent the growth of bacteria. Then, place the herbs in a food processor and pulverize them for 30 seconds. Next, add the herbs to a bottle and fill it to the top with olive oil. Refrigerate the bottle for 1-2 weeks so the flavors in the herbs infuse with the oil. Finally, strain and re-bottle the oil once you're satisfied with the flavor. To learn how to choose the best herbs for infusing olive, keep reading!

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