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What is Infused Olive Oil?

Olive oil is great for cooking a variety of meals.
Some olive oil is infused with shallots.
Basil is often infused in olive oil.
Containers of olive oil.
Olive oils can be infused with cardamom or other spices.
An olive tree.
Article Details
  • Written By: Kate Monteith
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
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Infused olive oil is cooking oil that has been flavor enhanced with natural seasonings. Infused oils can add a tasty flair to dishes that are sautéed or fried. Flavoring oil is also good for bread dipping or drizzled on a salad. Olive oil is known to be one of the healthiest forms of cooking oil, and the infusion of added flavorings makes it all the more popular.

Infused olive oil can be made three ways. The simplest is to place the olive oil and the desired spices in a clear bottle. The bottle is sealed and left at room temperature for a few hours, or as long as a month or more. It is extremely important to be sure the bottle and cap are completely sterile, as the introduction of the flavorful ingredients can cause the oil to become rancid. After the infused oils have reached the desired flavor level, they should be refrigerated to ensure freshness.

Another process for cooking infused olive oil is hot infusion. The olive oil is combined with herbs and spices in a saucepan and gently heated on a stove. To fully release the flavoring into the cooking oil, the mixture is brought to a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees Farenheit (82 to 93 degrees Celsius). The flavored cooking oil is then strained into a bottle, sealed and refrigerated.

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The cold method of making infused olive oil involves a food processor or blender. This method works especially well for dry spices and woody fibers. The olive oil and added ingredients are placed in the food processor and liquified until well blended. The mixture may be strained or not, depending on the taste of the chef. The infused oils are then poured into bottles and immediately refrigerated to preserve optimum flavor.

There is a wide list of herbs, roots and spices that can be added to olive oil to make flavored cooking oil. Infused oils featuring fresh rosemary, thyme, taragon, basil, chives, or oregano are popular. Spicier flavors of oil can contain fresh or dried chilies, curry, cumin, or cardamom. Root additions include shallots, ginger or horseradish.

The seasonings used in making infused oils are up to the individual cook. Some people just like to add one or two cloves of fresh garlic for an all-purpose flavoring oil. Others will concoct exotic creations featuring mint or citrus zest infused with specialty cooking oils. The best recipe for infused olive oil is the one that suits the taste and cooking needs of the chef.

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Discuss this Article

anon339125
Post 8

I tried to make infused olive oil using fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil, which I heated first. Within minutes of pouring the oil into a glass container with the basil, the oil got cloudy. It was a freshly opened bottle of oil. Is this normal?

myharley
Post 7

I have never tasted an infused olive oil that I did not like. I love the taste of lemon in just about anything, so when I saw a recipe for lemon infused olive oil, I had to give it a try.

This is the first time I had done something like this, and I was surprised at how easy it was. After I washed the lemon I used a peeler to scrape off some of the zest and added this to a pan that had olive oil in it.

I warmed it up for about 10 minutes and then let it cool to room temperature. Then I strained the oil to remove the zest, but leaving the oil infused with the taste of lemon.

I store this is a glass jar in the refrigerator. If this is your first time doing this, many times the oil will appear cloudy after it has been in the refrigerator for awhile.

This is normal and should appear clear once it sits out at room temperature for a few minutes.

Mykol
Post 6

I love to make infused olive oil at home so I can add the herbs and spices that I like best. The two I use most often are garlic infused olive oil and olive oil infused with rosemary.

Since garlic goes so well with so many different kinds of dishes, this is the one that I use most often. But once I tired the rosemary with chicken, it quickly became one of my favorites as well.

I heat the olive oil in a pan and than add some fresh rosemary sprigs and a little bit of dry, red crushed pepper.

Whatever I don't use right away I store in the refrigerator. When you are using infused olive oil, the aroma when cooking is wonderful.

The rosemary infused olive oil is also great as a dipping sauce for bread. Once I began using olive oil that has been infused, that is what I prefer when I am eating bread with a meal.

SteamLouis
Post 5

@fify-- That's right, the sooner the better. I personally don't use it after about four days in the fridge. That's why it's a good idea to only make a small amount at a time so that it's not wasted.

We have to be very careful when it comes to canning and bottling foods at home, including infused oils. A rule I always follow is that I never add any fresh herb, fruit or vegetable into something that has already been bottled and waited.

The reason is because these fresh foods will release toxins into the oil and bacteria and mold can easily multiply. The same goes with adding citrus juices into infused olive oils. It's best to do that before bottling because the citrus can cause the infused oil to ferment.

fify
Post 4

I just love olive oil infused with fresh herbs. My favorite to use are oregano and basil, they make the olive oil taste so fresh and fragrant, it's perfect for pasta salads and with cheese.

Making it is pretty easy too, you just have to know which method to use. I use a method that I learned from my best friend. What I do is first keep the fresh herbs in boiling water followed by cold water for a few seconds. Then I put it through a blender to make a paste of it and finally squeeze through a sieve. I combine it with good quality virgin olive oil and make sure to finish it in a week.

Actually I head that the sooner it's finished, the better it is. It doesn't last for very long since it's fresh.

turquoise
Post 3

I agree, infused olive oil is delicious and can be eaten so many ways. But I think the best way to have it is just as a dip with fresh bread. I don't like to use it in salads and pasta because I don't want to lose the delicate flavors in the olive oil by mixing it with other foods.

I first tried infused olive oil at a really nice Italian restaurant. No matter what you order, this restaurant first brings out fresh Italian bread and olive oil as an appetizer. They have a variety of infused olive oil dips available. My favorite is the garlic and thyme one and the one infused with red peppers. They are so delicious!

manykitties2
Post 2

If you like salads herb infused olive oil can make a great salad dressing. I find that when herbs are added, especially something like pepper, that you can really taste it when you sprinkle it on things.

I only buy organic olive oil because I am on a bit of health kick right now and don't like the idea of too many additives in my food. The supermarket near my home doesn't sell infused olive oil so I am forced to buy it online.

Does anyone know if it is possible to make your own infused olive oil? I would love to try it if it is easy to do.

letshearit
Post 1

There are a lot of things you can do with infused olive oil, but what I love the best is using it to make bruschetta. I buy garlic olive oil from the farmer's market near my home and it really adds great flavor to my dishes.

Another simple thing to try is using basil infused olive oil as a topping for pasta. If I am feeling lazy I will just make some penne and drizzle it with the olive oil and eat it like that.

I know some people are worried about the fats in oils, but olive oil, infused or otherwise is great for your heart health.

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