Since our sense of smell is directly tied to our sense of taste. Many times when I open a bottle of oil, someone will say
That smells so good, I want to eat it!
Well, in fact, essential oils are great to use in kitchen!
And it’s not just that they boost flavor in your recipes, using essential oils for cooking has other benefits.
I don’t know how many times I’ve bought a bunch of mint leaves or lemongrass stalks, only to have them go bad before I got to use them. (Do you hear the sound of money being chewed up in the garbage disposal?)
Because essential oils are much stronger than herb or dried versions, you’ll be using just a tiny amount of them. Seriously, it comes out to pennies, for the drop or two you’ll use in an entire recipe.
And BONUS! Since you’re using your oils for many other applications besides cooking (like natural wellness & non-toxic cleaning), you’re getting more bang out of your buck from just one product.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find the herb I’m looking for, especially if it’s out of season, or in limited supply (read=expensive). And who hasn’t been struck with culinary inspiration while browsing Pinterest, only to find you don’t have the right ingredients?!
With essential oils, you can have a range of herbs and spices, (even the hard to find or expensive ones!) on hand for whenever the kitchen creativity strikes you.
Each oil has unique healthful properties—that’s why we love them for natural wellness, right?! When you use essential oils for cooking, you are getting some of that benefit as well.
Of course, it’ll be on a smaller scale (since you only need a couple of drops in an entire recipe), but one thing you WON’T be getting is artificial flavorings.
Is it safe?
Back when I got my first essential oil bottles, I had no idea about the difference in quality between oils, so I just ordered from the first company that popped up in the Google search. When I got my oils, I was surprised to see that the Lemon and Peppermint oils were labeled on the bottle “Do Not Ingest”.
I found that odd, because really, if it’s actually Lemon and Peppermint, why wouldn’t it be okay to eat?
It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to doTerra oils, that I learned there are different grades of oils. Oils you can ingest must be of high quality, pure and therapeutic grade. (doTerra is the brand I trust and recommend.)
If you’re looking to use essential oils for cooking, you MUST be sure that the oils you are using as safe to ingest. Check the label and be sure it has a supplement fact box (like the image below), which is just like the nutritional information label you find on food.
Oils that are labeled for internal use are safe to use in your recipes, although keep in mind that the therapeutic purpose of the oils will be diluted since you’ll be using a very few drops in an entire recipe.
How can I use essential oils in cooking?
Really, your creativity is the limit! Although since essential oils are fragile at high heat, you’ll get the most flavorful results when you add oils in the later stages of cooking or in recipes that don’t require cooking, such as drinks and salad dressings.
An exception to that is when using more potent oils, like Oregano, Thyme and Cilantro. These babies are so strong that extra cooking time will help them mellow a bit.
Experiment with essential oils in marinades, baked goods and casseroles, but keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated! Start with one drop and taste before adding more.
Which oils can I use?
So many! Since oils are derived from plants, you’ll be familiar with many of them and probably use the fresh or dried versions in your cooking already. Here’s a list of essential oils for cooking, broken down by type.
Citrus and Floral oils:
These oils are light and more mild. Still start with one drop when adding to a recipes, but you’ll probably be adding 2-3 depending on the dish.
Citrus and floral oils lend themselves well to baked goods, smoothies and salad dressings.
- Wild Orange
These oils tend to be highly potent. Since even 1 drop might be too strong, start with the “toothpick method”, when adding to your recipe. Dip a toothpick in the oil, stir into your food, and add more if needed.
Try this pasta salad recipe, which uses Basil oil. (I also add in some Lemon oil, as well.) In general, herbaceous oils are great for marinades and casseroles.
These oils are also quite strong, but I usually add 1-2 drops in a recipe with good results. I like to use these minty oils in baked goods and smoothies.
- Black Pepper
doTerra’s blog has tons of delicious recipes using essential oils for cooking. Head over there and take a look. But don’t be afraid to start adding essential oils to your own favorite recipes!
Have some essential oil cooking tips or recipes to share? Please post in the comments below!