free recipe infused oil, hot or cold method

A step-by-step guide to herb and flower-infused oil (Hot or cold method)

Infusing oil with herbs is a great way to add color, scent, and beneficial properties to natural skincare and soap recipes. Infused oil can even be used to give your soap medical abilities. But you can also make infused oil for many other purposes, even for cocking.

You can incorporate herb-infused oil in any of our free soap recipes, just follow the step-by-step guides in this article, and use the amount of (infused) oil as described in the recipe.

There are several choices to make, when you want to start infusing your own oil:

  • What oil do you want?
  • What herbs or flowers?
  • What part of the plant can be used for infusion?
  • When should I harvest my herbs?
  • Should you use dried or fresh herbs and flowers?
  • How long can you wait until use?

Which oils can be infused?

Almost any oil can be infused with herbs or flowers. Some oils denature easily in heat like rosehip seed oil, so google your oil first, if it is not n my list below.

When you make soap, you probably want a lot of herb infused, and I recommend you infuse one of the oils you use in large quantities in your recipe.

Examples of great oils for infusion:

Dried or fresh herbs and flowers for infusion?

The easy route to take is dried herbs and flowers. Fresh plant material has higher water content, leading to rancid oil or mold issues, so special care should be taken when infusing fresh herbs in oil.

You can either buy herbs or harvest them yourself, but make sure there are no additives to the bought ones.

Good herbs and flower to infuse

  • Lavender – relaxing, antibacterial
  • Calendula – healing, adds golden color to oil
  • Chamomile – calming
  • Dandelion – beneficial for dry, chapped skin, achy muscles, and arthritic joints
  • Sage – pain relief, anti-inflammatory
  • Turmeric – Yellow color, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory. It makes skin glow and luster
  • Mint – energizing, pain-relieving, darkens the color
  • Clove – powerful anti-aging ingredient that prevents wrinkles and sagginess
  • Rose – for scent (disappear during the saponification process, but very popular)
  • Cedarwood – antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. The ultimate ingredient to give dull, lackluster skin a boost
  • Geranium – for scent (disappear during the saponification process)
  • Rosemary – antibacterial. It helps to balance acne and oily skin conditions

Hot Oil Infusion Step-By-Step

Infusing herbs into oils with heat takes less time, reduces the chances for fresh herbs to turn the oil rancid or moldy, and extracts more volatile oils and color. It is a good choice for a quick project if you just don’t have the time to wait for the cold infusion method. I find it to be simpler, and easier for beginners who really enjoy the instant gratification of a job well done.

Ingredients:

  • Oil of choice
  • Herb of choice (fresh or dry)

Equipment

  • Sanitized heatproof Mason jar, Pyrex bowl, and an old pot
    • or
  • Double boiler
Homemade double boiler for infused oil
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  1. Harvest the herbs or flowers of your choice. Do not rinse them.
  2. If you are using fresh herbs, let the herbs wilt for 24 hours. If you use dried herbs, let them dry at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celcius). The duration depends on which herb your choose – 4-24 hours.
  3. Chop your herbs or flowers if fresh, or separate them with your fingers if dry.
  4. Place the fresh or dry herbs in the jar, bowl, or double boiler. Fill the jar ¾ full for fresh herbs or half full of dried herbs.
  5. Cover the herbs completely with the carrier oil of choice.
  6. Add water to your double boiler or old pot, about 1/3 up the pan.
  7. Place the double boiler or old pot on the stove and turn it on low. The water should be steaming, not boiling, ideally, under 170 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celcius).
  8. Place the jar into the water, being sure no water will get into the oil.
  9. Allow the jars to sit in the warm bath for 12-24 hours. Make sure the water never runs low.
  10. Allow the oil to cool to room temperature.
  11. Sift the oil with a cheesecloth to filter the herbs from the oil into a glass jar and store it in a cool, dry, dark place.

Cold Infusion Step-By-Step Instructions

Ingredients:

  • Fresh or dry herbs
  • Oil of your choice

Equipment

  • Sterilized glass jars with airtight lids
  • Sterilized rock or fermenting crock weight
  • Sterilized wooden chopstick (or something similar)
  • Coffee filter or cheesecloth and a rubber band
  1. Harvest the herbs or flowers of your choice. Do not rinse them.
  2. If you are using fresh herbs, let the herbs wilt for 24 hours. If you use dried herbs, let them dry at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celcius). The duration depends on which herb your choose – 4-24 hours.
  3. Chop your herbs or flowers if fresh, or separate them with your fingers if dry.
  4. Place the fresh or dry herbs in the glass jar. Fill the jar ¾ full for fresh herbs or half full of dried herbs, and place the rock on top of the herbs. The rock will make the herbs not float to the top when adding oil.
  5. Cover the herbs completely with the carrier oil of choice.
  6. Use the wooden chopstick to push the herbs under the oil to release all the air bubbles (this must be done for a week or two every day if you are using fresh herbs).
  7. Make sure the dried herbs are completely covered with oil. Put a lid on the jar and store it dark at room temperature.
  8.  If you are using fresh herbs, place a coffee filter or cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. This will allow water from the herbs to evaporate.
  9. Let herbs infuse for 4-6 weeks at room temperature in a dark place.
  10. Remove the fresh herbs after no longer than 6 weeks. Dry herbs can be left in the jar until use.
  11. Sift the oil with a cheesecloth to filter the herbs from the oil into a glass jar.
  12. If you use fresh herbs, allow the oil to sit covered with a breathable barrier for two days. Then check the bottom of the jar to see if any water has been collected on the bottom. If so, extract the oil from the top of the jar.
  13. Decant your finished oil into a mason jar and store it in a cool, dry, dark place.

Alternatives to infused oil

If you think infusing herbs into oil is too much work you can consider making a herbal tea and use the tea instead of water in your soap recipe.

Infused oils vs. essential oils

Do not mistake infused oil for essential oil!

Essential oils are made by extracting oil from a plant. Essential oils are very condensed and should only be used in small amounts.

Infusing herbs into oil still maintains the properties of the carrier oil but adds beneficial components from the herbs. The infused oil can be used in large amounts and are harmless (if the herb or flower is not poisonous).