How to Make Basil Oil

This 2-ingredient Basil Oil is super easy to make and tastes like summer. Basil oil packs one of my favorite sun-kissed ingredients into a bottle! If you’re wondering how to make basil oil you’ll love this simple recipe.

What is Basil?

An incredibly fragrant herb that is part of the mint family, basil grows like a weed. In the mountain climate of Colorado, this herb is an annual that needs to be replanted each year. Basil is a nutrient dense plant used in both herbal medicine and numerous culinary traditions, including Italian and Asian cooking. Customarily used as the main ingredient in pesto, it’s also the perfect seasoning for meat, fish, pasta, and egg dishes.

What to do with Basil?

Sometimes my garden is overflowing with basil and I have more on hand than I can use. What to do with that bounty of basil? Take it to the neighbors? No, they have too much as well. The answer? Learn how to make basil oil.

How to Make Basil Oil

I tried making basil oil three ways –using whole, chopped, and minced basil leaves. The best outcome was with the leaves left in tact. Those that were cut began to degrade in the oil as they marinated. It makes sense if you think about it, like an apple that has been sliced, the flesh starts to oxidize and turn brown. You’ll notice that this recipes calls for more oil than it yields. That’s because you’ll lose some of the oil in the leaves while marinating.

How to Make Basil Oil

1 cup
Print Recipe
  • 12 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces basil, 1 packed cup
  1. Remove basil leaves from stem
  2. Place oil in a pint mason jar
  3. Carefully stuff basil into mason jar
  4. Close with lid
  5. Store on a sunny windowsill for 1 day
  6. Use a funnel to strain oil and a spoon to smash last bits of oil out of leaves
  7. Discard basil leaves
  8. Transfer oil to a decorative jar
  9. Refrigerate for up to 1 week

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil is one of the healthiest herbs you’ll find. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin K and is packed with robust antioxidants that reduce inflammation. The phytochemicals in this super food herb are cancer preventative. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties likely explain the use of basil as a defacto preservative in the culinary traditions of warmer climates such as South East Asia. Basil is simply a wonder-food that you need to include in your diet because it tastes good and is good for you!

Healthy Basil Recipes

The word basil comes from the Greek basileus, meaning king. Some people consider basil the king of herbs. I love the stuff. Here are some of my easy basil recipes for you!

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54 responses to “How to Make Basil Oil”

  1. Hi! My basil oil has been in the fridge for a week now but it has some white things on the top part. What is it? What to do? Is it bad? Help!

      • This is probably just your oil solidifying. Good extra virgin olive oil usually has some solid whiteish blobs in it at room temperature. To test it just warm you oil back up to room temperature and the blobs may disappear. Or add a bit of oil with the blobs to a warm pan and they should melt.

  2. I want to use some fresh basil from my garden to make oil I can use on my skin. Can you tell me how to do that?

  3. Hi Elana, I made fresh basil infused oil 4 days ago but I didn’t put in sunny place. Now as soon as I saw the basil leaves started changing color to dark brownish, I strained the oil. Would the oil be OK to consume now or it has developed botulism? Thanks

  4. A slightly different question: I forgot to wash the basil leaves from my home-grown plant before putting them in the processor with walnuts for a future pesto. It is now in the freezer but I worry about bacteria. Will sautéing it kill off any bacteria OR should I throw it out? PS: the fresh basil plant originally came from the supermarket. I had put it in my own, larger pot and it grew beautifully before I cut off the leaves. Thank you.

    • Rose, thanks for checking in. I would not use that oil unless it is heated well above 300F for a minimum of 3 minutes :-)

  5. Hi Elena! Just to confirm, the oil will only last for 1 week? I was thinking that I can make it, and then have it for a month or so. No? :( I guess this is because there are fresh herbs infused, right? I buy basil olive oil from an olive oil store, and it lasts forever. Does this mean that they don’t use fresh herbs?

  6. Concerned about the comments on botulism, not real clear after reading how to best do the process and should I use ex virgin or regular oil?
    Sorry, second question in a row…

    • Paula, yes I use EVOO. If you click on the highlighted text in the ingredients portion of the recipe you will be taken to the exact type and brand of each ingredient I use :-)

  7. Great idea!
    Or you could puree basil with olive oil (or any oil really) and freeze in ice cube trays. I’ve done this with garlic cloves added too :)
    I’ve also layered cilantro with sea salt and let it sit for days/weeks then taken out the leaves and the sea salt is flavored. Salt is a preservative so I don’t think there would be the same risk of botulism that there would be with oil and fresh leaves… but I’m not completely sure… if in doubt – puree and freeze :)

  8. I take my garden basil, stems and all, place in a freezer sip lock bag and freeze. I just take some out when needed as it breaks off easily and then return bag to freezer. I used to put chopped basil in ice cube trays with water, freeze and then put cubes into a freezer zip lock bag.

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Recipes » Condiments » How to Make Basil Oil