Adding essential oils to your favorite recipes is a great way to incorporate their healthful benefits throughout the day. There are many variables with dealing with essential oils for cooking. If you have ever used fresh herbs instead of dried, you know the flavor and the quantity used is different. This also applies to essential oils. The oils are very concentrated in flavor and aroma. Essential oils can add a very subtle or very strong taste to your cooked dishes, depending on how much you use. We like to enjoy and identify as many flavors in our foods as possible, so use caution and know that less is best. Start with a tiny amount, then add more as you need it. If you get too much, the flavor will dominate and can spoil your dish.
One good way to ensure that you don't accidentally add too much is to drip onto a utensil first then use from that what you need for the dish. For example, to get 1/2 drop, drop it onto a spoon, then use the tip of a knife to take off the spoon what you need for the recipe. Add slowly and test often.
You can also use the toothpick method:
1 toothpick dip = dip a toothpick into the essential oil and dip it once into the recipe
1 toothpick swirl = dip a toothpick into the essential oil and swirl it around in the recipe
Be sure to use a fresh toothpick with each use so as not to contaminate your essential oil bottles.
Hot, savory, or spicy herbs are particularly hard to judge (for example, basil oil maybe much more subtle in flavor than oregano), so the general rule should be: if it isn’t citrus oil, use a toothpick until you test it or have a guaranteed recipe.
It’s always best to mix your essential oils with an olive or other oil or liquid when cooking to more evenly disperse the flavor in your dish.
Baking typically requires more oil flavoring than cooking does. For example, where you might use 2 or 3 toothpick swirls of oregano in spaghetti sauce, you might use 2 or 3 drops when making an artisan bread.
SUBSTITUTING OILS FOR HERBS
Substitute an oil for an herb to increase the health benefits and increase the flavor of any dish.
SUBSTITUTING OILS FOR CITRUS
- ½ teaspoon dried herbs = 1 ½ teaspoons fresh herbs = 2-3 toothpick swirls essential oil
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 drops essential oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract = ⅛ teaspoon lemon essential oil = 16 drops
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest = 1/16 teaspoon lemon essential oil = 8 drops
Here is a video, showing how to use an essential oil in a beverage:
TIPS TO CONSIDER:
- Always use glass, ceramic, or metal bowls and spoons. Avoid plastic utensils and storage containers.
- Make a yummy fruit dip as a side or topping by mixing 1 cup vanilla yogurt with ½ cup mashed berries and 1-2 drops lime essential oil.
- You can add essential oils to your favorite breakfast drink or tea.
- Essential oils absorb well into meats and make great marinades
- When making vinegar dressings, pari ingredients. Balsamic or red wine vinegar (dark vinegars) pairs with raspberry or strawberry salads, beef, and lamb. White wine vinegar, rice, or champagne vinegars (light vinegars) go well with chicken, fish, pears, chunks of grapefruit, mango or orange.
- Candied nuts and feta cheese go well with both dressings.
For recipe ideas, using essential oils, check out our Recipe Page
or our Pinterest Board