How to Make Basil (Herb) Oil

Flavor infused oils are a great way to add colorful contrasts and interesting tastes to a dish, especially as a last minute garnish. When making your own oils infused with the essence of a fresh green herb, you'll be walking a fine line between extracting the most flavor and color, and completely breaking down the chlorophyll molecules which will give an off taste and appearance.

In this video I demonstrate a great method for extracting both color and flavor using basil, yet this technique will work for any green herb including parsley, cilantro, tarragon, oregano, mint and marjoram, just to name a few.

The standard ratio used in this video is:

  • 3 parts neutral flavored oil (canola) to...

  • 1 part blanched basil leafs and stems

It is always preferable to use a neutrally flavored oil that will not overpower the fresh flavor of the herb being used.

Further Information:



For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Kitchen Prep Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

10 comments

Nesty
Hi Chef Jacob,

Nice video.

May I ask what is the shelf life of the herb extracted oil in general? thanks
Jacob Burton
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Hi Nesty,

This oil will last a few weeks at least if you keep it refrigerated. After that, it won't be dangerous to use but it will start to slowly loose its flavor.
Jongomez12
Hi Chef,
  I was just wondering if it would be ideal to use the basil oil if I were making a basil mayonnaise?
Jacob Burton
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Basil oil would be a nice addition to basil mayonnaise. If using a blender, I would still add some blanched basil with the eggs and blend them together for a few seconds before adding the basil oil.
Phisher
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Do you recommend freezing this oil ? Is there any reason not to? Thanks
Jacob Burton
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Yes, you can freeze this oil if you don't plan on using it within a week or two.

Phisher
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Hello Jacob - thanks for the quick reply!

As I had picked a huge bunch of Thai Basil a day ago, last night I set up your video on the ipad and set about to make the oil.  Couldn't wait for the 24- 48 hr infusion in the fridge so I decanted and filtered this morning.  Had some on bread with homegrown tomatoes  and a drop of sticky balsalmic today. I must say this recipe is a winner - the flavour is amazing.  It is by far the most elaborate that I found but the result is certainly worth it.  Thanks very much - will see how the freezing goes. I will also try it with some purple basil - the colour should be really good - I expect. 

Regards

Philip  

Jacob Burton
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Glad to hear it came out well.

sue pogson
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Hey - I just made this and it looked exactly like yours!!  I ams so excited - now off to try with red basil.... What dishes to you recommend using it with please?
Jacob Burton
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@ Sue,

Use this oil as a garnish for any dish that would benefit from a basil flavor; roasted chicken, pizza, pasta, etc.
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