Garlic Oil

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Olive oil infused with garlic plus cooking tips.

how to make garlic oil, The Wimpy Vegetarian

Flavored olive oils are fun and so easy to make. But there’s good reason to take precautions. There is risk of botulism in making some types, and this seems to be particularly true of garlic oil as it has a low pH and harbors moisture. It’s believed that this combination promotes growth of Clostridium botulinum in an anaerobic environment, like oil. To be safe, here are some general recommendations to follow.

Safety Tips:

Cook the garlic in a little olive oil until softened before adding the remaining olive oil.

Once all the oil is added to the garlic, maintain a low oil temperature.

The safest bet is to store the garlic olive oil in the refrigerator and use within three weeks. If stored on the counter at room temperature, use within one week. This is not true of commercially available garlic olive oils as manufacturers are required to include acidifying agents to raise the pH level, for example phosphoric or citric acid.

As a note, many home cooks do not follow these guidelines and have no problem, but risk does exist.


Garlic Olive Oil

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 1 cup

  • 1 cup of your best olive oil, divided
  • 20 large garlic cloves, smashed to smithereens
  1. Warm one tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until just softened. Lower the heat to the lowest setting.
  2. Add the remaining oil and keep warm for 45 minutes. Small bubbles may appear around the garlic, but this should be more of an oil bath for the garlic. If the garlic begins to simmer, remove from the heat to cool before rewarming.
  3. Strain the oil into a jar using a coffee filter. If you don't have any coffee filters, use the doubled thickness of a paper towel.
  4. Label and store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator or one week on the counter at room temperature.
Refer to the Safety Tips in the post before making garlic oil. There is some risk of botulism, and there are guidelines that support a safe result.



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  1. says

    Really good tips, I often wondered about the shelf life for homemade garlic olive oil. I keep it in the fridge but its still concerning. Found some the other day tucked in back of the shelf it had to be over a month old, Threw it out because you just don’t know and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Great post.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..The Basics- Hollandaise SauceMy Profile

  2. says

    I’m so glad you mentioned the precautions when making flavored oils like this one. I remember Sara Moulton warning about botulism, but many recipes make no mention of it. I would have no trouble going through a batch of garlic oil in 3 weeks…your recipe looks terrific!

  3. mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits says

    Hi Susan,
    Glad to see you informing others about the dangers of botulisum in garlic oil. I teach food safety and have found that few people are aware of this.

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