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.

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!

There is no Nutrition Label for this recipe yet.


44 responses to “How to Make Basil Oil”

  1. From what I know, olive oil is not to be exposed to light since it loses its potency. Do you use regular olive oil or the extra virgin variety? Also, I have seen people leave rosemary inside their oil decanters. (I did that for my hair oil and it helped with my scalp psoriasis). Do you think leaving the basil leaves for a few more days will allow it to release the oils better?

    • Fahima, thanks for your comment! If you click the green text in the ingredients portion of the recipe you will be taken to the exact product I use. The safest way to make this product is to infuse the herbs into the oil for 1 day :-)

  2. I would love to make this and use it in a recipe for a cold salad with things available in the winter. Any ideas? Quinoa, or cauliflower maybe. Just not sure which flavors would combine well. I am trying not to heat olive oil anymore as I have heard that it degrades the oil and you lose the benefits.

    • Nancy, we drizzle this Basil Oil over salads, eggs, fish, beef, and chicken. It’s especially amazing over fresh heirloom tomatoes :-)

  3. At the funnel step, should I strain the oil so that there are no basil leaves/remnants in the oil? I am unclear what happens to the leaves as oil pours through the funnel. Thank you.

    • The recipe is great and a good culinary tool. Yet, I must concur with Carol Little about the potential for botulism. When adding fresh anything to oil, it can introduce the bacteria to the right environment (anerobic) for growth. Besides, I spend a lot of money to get a true olive oil. Doing so require less to bring our flavors of the dish. So after protecting it in cool darkness, I must admit that I would have a tough time putting it out on the window sill. I think I will make up small bathes to use quickly. But they are going directly into the fridge because moisture spoils olive oil easily and, more importantly, the botulism risk.

      I’m curious Elana: what do you mostly use basil oil on/with?

    • Thank you for the information. I was thinking maybe I’ll put the basil to dry a little at the windowsill first, which will also help kill any bacteria on the leaves. Once it’s with the oil they will be in the shade for a little longer. That way the oil won’t degrade, but I wonder if it would get much of the basil smell and taste either.

  4. I love basil and also have a lot in my garden. I have been drying some for winter use. What do you use basil oil for?

    • JoAn, It’s fantastic over tomatoes from my garden, like a dairy-free caprese salad! It’s also amazing on salad, fish, meat, and chicken :-)

  5. What a great idea!

    When I had too much fresh basil from my garden I would make our favorite pesto and then freeze it in 1/2 pint jars. Then when we were hungry for pesto I would thaw one of those little jars and we would have pesto that tasted almost as good as fresh for supper.

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