Everyday Meals

Basil Oil

Active Time: 10 MinsTotal Time15 Mins
Yield: About 7/8 cup

Don’t bother purchasing a bottle of basil oil when it is this easy to make your own. Stirred into hot pasta or used as a dipping oil, basil oil adds a fresh herby element to any dish. To preserve the bright color and soften the grassy taste, blanch the basil before making the oil. To blanch, place basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds, then plunge them in an ice bath. Gently squeeze the leaves dry. Use pure olive oil, not extra virgin, which is really sharp and will overwhelm the basil, or you can also use a 50/50 blend of extra virgin and canola.  Be careful not to process in the blender any longer than necessary; if it gets overheated the oil may take on a rancid flavor. Once processed, drain the solids, and store the oil for up to three days. If you don’t grow your own basil, purchase the freshest you can find at the market. Snip the stems and keep the basil in a glass of water until you are ready to use.


  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves and stems
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high. Add basil; cook until bright green, about 20 seconds. Immediately transfer basil to an ice bath; submerge until chilled, about 1 minute.

Step 2

Transfer basil to paper towels, and gently squeeze dry. Process basil, oil, zest, and salt in a blender on HIGH until basil is very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Pour mixture through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer into a bowl; let strain, stirring mixture occasionally, about 5 minutes. Press on mixture to release additional oil; discard solids.

Step 3

Store oil, covered, up to 3 days. To use, drizzle over soups, use as a vinaigrette base, or stir into pasta.

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