Garlic is a versatile spice, able to be used in most cuisines, with many researched health benefits. Olive oil is one of the most versatile and one of the healthiest cooking oils, so the infusion of garlic into olive oil is a perfect culinary marriage.
Making homemade garlic infused olive oil is a fairly easy process, and the result is a quality product for more than half the cost of expensive flavor infused cooking oils found at the supermarket and more than 75% less expensive than garlic infused cooking oils sold in specialty and gourmet shops.
How to Make Garlic Infused Cooking Oil
Ingredients and Supplies
- Garlic cloves, roasted (or store-bought prepared garlic, minced or diced)
- Extra virgin or extra-extra virgin olive oil (or your favorite oil)
- Glass jar with a sealable lid (preferably a dark bottle, to preserve the flavor)
- Frying pan
- Cooking Funnel
How to Prepare the Garlic
It’s important to avoid a rare but potentially dangerous food poisoning problem with garlic that you cook the garlic prior to putting it in the oil to infuse the flavor. Garlic is a root, and as such, grows in the ground where it can pick up bacteria. Typically, this bacteria is killed by oxygen and by heat, but placing garlic raw into a bottle of cooking oil allows it to breed.
The first step in learning how to make garlic infused cooking oil is to roast the garlic.
How to Prepare the Cooking Oil
Olive oil is the best for preparing garlic infused oil, but any oil will work in a pinch. Olive oil is a milder oil that allows the flavor of the garlic to permeate the oil fully. The desired amount of oil can be poured into a pan and then heated to about 200 degrees. A candy thermometer can help with the temperature, but isn’t necessary. The oil should be heated until it is warm to the touch but not boiling.
Adding the Garlic to the Oil
While the oil is heating, take the roasted garlic (or the minced or diced pre-prepared garlic) and add the chopped cloves to the oil, stirring constantly. Heat the oil for about five minutes with the garlic, and then allow the oil and pan to cool.
Preparing to Store or Serve the Garlic Infused Cooking Oil
A cooking funnel with a large opening should be used, large enough to allow the chunks and pieces of the roasted garlic to flow through and into the bottle. Once the oil is cooled, simply pour it and the garlic pieces into the oil bottle.
One with a sealable lid or a tight-fitting cork is preferable, to help keep the oil fresh and sealed.
Once the oil has been poured into the bottle, it should be kept in a cool, dark cabinet for at least twenty four (24) hours before being used, to allow the garlic flavor to permeate the oil fully. The bottle can be stored in the cabinet, out of direct sunlight and humidity, for one to three months. The flavor of the garlic in the infused oil will become stronger the longer it sits.
Other spices and flavors can be added to the garlic and oil infusion, with varying results, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different varieties and see what works best.