Bottles of infused oils are a popular way to decorate kitchens. Many of the versions you find in the store aren't meant for human consumption, but you can make your own infused oil at home in a few minutes. This infused oil recipe makes one cup of oil, but you can make more by doubling, tripling or even quadrupling the infused oil recipe. Just remember they'll only last about two months (only one if you use olive oil).
In addition to the ingredients below, you'll need a jar with an airtight seal. Mason jars work well, but you can also use well-sterilized bottles and jars left from other foods you've purchased, like jarred mushrooms. Jalapeños and other strong flavors may imbue your oil with the original flavors, so make sure the jar is well cleaned and has no remaining scent from its previous occupant. For large batches of infused oil, wine bottles (with corks) also work well.
- Heavy-bottom, nonreactive (e.g., stainless steel) saucepan
- Candy thermometer
- Airtight jars
- Funnel (optional)
- 1/4 cup of your favorite spice(s) or herb(s)
- 1 cup canola, safflower or other flavorless oil
- Put half the oil and all the spices in the saucepan and heat to 140 degrees F (the spices will begin to sizzle and the oil will bubble lightly). Stir constantly during this process to prevent burning.
- Cook for five minutes or until the oil is aromatic (but you smell no burning).
- Allow the oil to cool; then taste it to ensure it hasn't burned and that it has the flavor you want (remember, it should be extra flavorful, as you have more oil to add). You can always put it back on the burner with more spices if it doesn't and repeat the process.
- Strain the oil mixture (through cheesecloth if necessary). Repeat if it has too much of the herb or spice in the strained oil.
- Mix in the remaining oil and pour it into your bottles (use a funnel for wine bottles).
- Store the infused oil in the refrigerator.
More on cooking oils
Olive oil: The secrets of cooking with extra virgin olive oil
5 Essential oils for the whole family
The healthiest cooking oils: Good for you fats