How to Infuse Oil with Herbs and Flowers

How to Infuse Oil with Herbs and Flowers

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If you walk in to my kitchen, 365 days of the year, you will find some sort of dried herb or flower petal infusing in oil on my counter or window sill. Infusing your herbs with oil is a great way to utilize and preserve herbs and flowers while they’re in abundance in the summer, and the oil comes in handy for so many things!

I use lavender and wild rose infused oil for lip balms and face creams; oregano, rosemary and sun-dried tomato infused oil for cooking; and rose hip, calendula, comfrey, yarrow and plantain infused oil for various healing salves and creams.

Just recently, I’ve started using calendula oil in my homemade eczema relief cream, which, come next week, I’ll be sharing the recipe for! But before I can do that, I first need to share with you how to infuse oil with herbs using the solar and slow-cooker methods.

Both methods will yield the same end result, however, the solar method takes about 2-6 weeks (or more for a more potent oil) and the slow-cooker method, in comparison, takes about 10-12 hours.

The time of year and my patience level determines which method I use. As it’s name suggests, the “solar” method uses the sun, so you can guarantee that, come summer, I’ll have a window sill lined with herb and oil-filled mason jars. However, on the west coast of B.C., sun is rather hard to come by during the winter months, and I mainly rely on the slow-cooker method.

Before combining the oil and herbs, it’s important that you first dry the plant you’re using completely, or at the very least, wilt them. This will insure that there is little to no moisture in the oil, which could potentially lead to the oil going rancid or molding because water is a breeding ground for bacteria. Learn How to Dry your Herbs and Flowers here!

Oils which work well for infusing, and which I’ve used, are olive, grape seed, sweet almond, sunflower, castor, jojoba, and avocado oil. Coconut oil will not work unless it remains in a constant, liquid state. Each oil holds different beneficial properties of it’s own, so thoughtfully choose. Here is a great article that distinguishes different carrier oils.

From Nature With Love has an incredible selection of Carrier Oils.

How to Infuse Oil with Herbs and Flowers

Infusing Herbs Using the Solar Method

There’s something so much more magical and healing about the sun infusing oils, as opposed to the slow-cooker method. I know I sound like a total non-modern hippie when I say that, but it’s true! This is why it’s my go-to method come the summer months. 

To infuse oils via the solar method:

  1. Fill a mason jar with desired, dried, herbs or flowers. (Read this)
  2. Cover the herbs with carrier oil of choice, e.g., olive, grape seed almond, jojoba.
  3. Leave to infuse on a sunny window sill for 2-6 weeks.
  4. Shake occasionally to agitate.
  5. Using a very fine sieve or nylon stocking, strain the infusion, making sure to squeeze every last drop of precious oil out of the herbs and petals!
  6. Store the oil in a cool dark place.

DIY doesn’t get any easier this!

How to Infuse Oil 4

Infusing Herbs Using the Slow Cooker Method

If you’re lacking sun, or eager to use your infused oil, then the slow cooker infusion method really comes in handy.

To infuse oils via the slow cooker method:

  1. Fill a mason jar with desired, dried, herbs or flowers. (Read this)
  2. Cover the herbs with carrier oil of choice. e.g., olive, grape seed almond, jojoba.
  3. Place the jars in the slow cooker with a tea towel lined on the bottom (this will prevent them from moving around.)
  4. Fill the slow cooker half full with water so that the mason jars are about 3/4 covered.
  5. Turn the slow cooker on low heat and leave to infuse for 10-12 hours.
  6. Using a very fine sieve or nylon stocking, strain the infusion, making sure to squeeze every last drop of precious oil out of the herbs and petals!
  7. Store the oil in a cool dark place.

Use your infused oils for homemade balms and salves, cooking, and lotions!

How to Infuse Oil with Herbs and Flowers

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19 comments on “How to Infuse Oil with Herbs and Flowers

  1. Thank you for this Carly!! I tried this a couple years ago with calendula and olive oil and it didn’t go so well, so I’m excited to try it again this summer now that you’ve shown me how to do it properly :). – xo Anna

        1. Some herbs and flowers will change the color, but I know from experience, that rose petals won’t change the color of the oil.

          1. Thank you. BTW I did my infusion in a dark cupboard for about 6 weeks … will this oil still be as potent as if I had left it in the sun for 2 weeks

  2. Hello!
    I have been infusing my own oil and I really do not know what to do with the flowers that are left, once you strain the oil from them… Throwing them away seems silly and at the same time it seems the only option… Any recommendations?
    Thanks!

    1. I really wish I knew! I have the same problem… I just throw them in the compost. Not sure how the excess oil affects things. I’ll do more research and get back to you!

  3. Hi Carly,

    I am looking forward to trying this, but I am wondering if it will be hard on my crockpot. I have a nice one I also use for cooking, but should I find a cheap one at a garage sale for this purpose?

    Thanks!

    1. I have two crock pots – one I use for stuff like this as well as soap making, but using it for oil infusion shouldn’t be hard on it!

  4. can you put multiple types of flowers into the oil…say black eye susan’s and queen anne’s lace? or can you only do one at a time? I’m interested in using it in the soap i make ( a good use for your leftover flowers…sprinkle a little in the soap mold)

  5. My sister would like to give rosemary infused olive oil to her wedding guests next year. How long would it last after using the slow cooker method? I’ve looked at different websites and one said 2 months at room temperature or 6 months in the fridge. Others say 1 month in the fridge. She wants to be sure it’s done properly because she doesn’t want anyone to get sick.

    1. As long as she’s using completely DRIED rosemary to infuse the oil, then it should last up to 6 months, or as long as the oil’s shelf life is. If the rosemary isn’t completely dried, then the remaining water in the rosemary could potentially create a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.

  6. Greetings! Thank you for the informative post. I sun-infused dried calendula and chamomile in olive oil and let it sit on the window sill for 2 months. I don’t know if I missed something or did something wrong, but it still smells of only olive oil (and very strong at that!). I’m hoping that something infused, but I’m wondering if when using it we’ll actually get the benefit of the flowers. Can you shed some light?

    1. Hi Heather! Yes, you’ve done everything right. It’s not going to smell like the flowers you infused, especially if you’ve used olive oil because it has a strong smell of it’s own, but their constituents are still there and you will benefit from the oil 🙂

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