Keeping Herbs Fresh in Oil: Tips for Safe Storage

Herbs are a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals. Fresh herbs in particular can be a wonderful addition to many dishes. However, they can be difficult to store and tend to go bad quickly. One way to preserve fresh herbs is to keep them in oil. In this article, we will explore the benefits of storing herbs in oil, as well as tips for safe storage.

Benefits of Storing Herbs in Oil

Storing herbs in oil is a great way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value. The oil helps protect the herbs from air and moisture, which can cause them to spoil. In addition, the oil itself can be infused with the flavor and aroma of the herbs, creating a delicious and versatile ingredient for cooking.

Tips for safe storage

While storing herbs in oil can be a great way to preserve them, it’s important to do so safely to avoid the risk of foodborne illness. Here are a few tips for safe storage:

  • Use clean, dry herbs: Before storing herbs in oil, be sure to wash them thoroughly and pat them dry with a clean towel. Excess moisture can increase the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Use a clean, dry container: Use a clean, dry container with a tight-fitting lid to store herbs in oil. Glass containers work well because they are non-reactive and won’t affect the flavor of the herbs.
  • Use fresh, high-quality oil: Use fresh, high-quality oil to store the herbs, as rancid oil can cause the herbs to spoil more quickly. Olive oil is a popular choice for storing herbs because it has a neutral flavor and is rich in antioxidants.
  • Store in the refrigerator: Store herbs in oil in the refrigerator to slow bacterial growth. The cool temperature will help preserve the herbs and prevent spoilage.
  • Use within a reasonable time frame: While storing herbs in oil can help extend their shelf life, it’s important to use them within a reasonable timeframe. In general, herbs preserved in oil should be used within two weeks to one month.
  • Discard if there are signs of spoilage: If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold or a foul odor, discard the herbs and oil immediately. Do not consume them as they may cause foodborne illness.

Infusing Oil with Herbs

To infuse oil with herbs, simply place the herbs in a clean, dry container and cover with oil. Be sure to use enough oil to completely cover the herbs. You can use a single herb or a combination of herbs, depending on your preference. Some popular herbs for infusing oil are rosemary, thyme, basil, and garlic.

Once the herbs are covered with oil, seal the container tightly and store in the refrigerator. The oil will gradually take on the flavor and aroma of the herbs. After a few days, you can strain the herbs if you prefer a smoother texture.

Using herb-infused oil

Herb-infused oil can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used as a dressing for salads, a marinade for meats and vegetables, or a flavorful oil for dipping bread. It can also be used as a base for sauces and soups, adding an extra layer of flavor to your dishes.

When using herb-infused oils, be sure to use them within the recommended time frame to avoid the risk of spoilage. It’s also important to note that herb-infused oils are not suitable for canning or long-term storage at room temperature. The risk of bacterial growth is too high, and the oil can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.


Storing herbs in oil is a great way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value. By following safe storage guidelines, you can enjoy fresh herbs longer and create delicious, flavorful oils to enhance your cooking. Remember to use clean, dry herbs and containers, fresh, high-quality oil, and store herbs in the refrigerator for safekeeping. With these tips, you can keep your herbs in oil fresh and take your cooking to the next level.


How long can you keep herbs in oil?

Herbs frozen in oil or butter may be stored 6 to 9 months without significant loss of flavor.

How long can you keep herb infused oil?

This involves acidifying the fresh herbs or garlic before adding them to the oil to absorb the flavor. Other methods of infusing oils involve using fresh herbs and refrigerating the product to use within 2 to 4 days or preparing the oils using dried herbs and refrigerating the oil for up to three months.

How long can you keep dried herbs in oil?

Bottle in dry, sterilized glass bottles. Be sure to label your bottles with the date and contents before storing them. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to six months. Vitamin E oil at a concentration of up to 1% may also be added to prolong shelf life for oils to be used topically.

Can I leave dried herbs in oil?

Using dried garlic and/or herbs is the safest way to make infused oils without acidifying the product. Fresh herbs introduce water into the oil, and dangerous bacteria need water to grow. Dried herbs and garlic add no water to the oil, so bacteria can’t grow. Select a good-quality olive or other vegetable oil.

How long can you leave fresh herbs in olive oil?

We’ve got a great tip to keep those fresh herbs from your garden or your crisper drawer from wilting and browning before you get a chance to use them. You can preserve them in olive oil for up to three months in your fridge, enjoying the same freshly-picked flavor.

How do you know if infused oil is bad?

How Do You Know If Infused Olive Oil Is Rancid? You can do a taste or smell taste. If it tastes or smells like crayons or even slightly sour, it is rancid. It might not make you sick if you use it, but it will alter the flavor of your food.

How long can infused oil last?

Entertaining and design expert Annette Joseph posits to the DIY Network that a typical bottle of infused olive oil is “good for about six months, although I’ve had some infused oils for over a year.” Some organic matter, such as fresh fruit (Joseph uses kumquats and olives as examples), might form a cloudy appearance.