I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making infused oils. I buy them all the time, but they are a little on the expensive side, so making my own seems like the better value. Infused oils are a great way to layer flavor in almost anything, be it a salad, warm or cold, or as a highlight to fish, potatoes or a finish to a hummus. The process is super simple–especially if you use a slow cooker or a immersion circulator. I had originally planned to make this with my immersion circulator, but I didn’t want to exclude a lot of you from making it. So I borrowed my mom’s crock pot, so that I could adapt this recipe to fit the needs of a slow cooker. Sous vide and slower cookers have a lot in common, both cook food at low temperatures. Immersion circulators offer the option of cooking at even lower temperatures than slow cookers. If you have a slow cooker that has the option of allowing you to set exact temperatures then you’re ahead of the game. If your slow cooker only has a low, medium, high, or warming settings, don’t fret, you can make this. My mom’s slow cooker has a high, low and warm setting. I went online and did some research on what exactly those setting are and found out that the low temperature setting on slow cookers is 200F, the high is 300F and warm is 145-165F. I planned to set my circulator to 131F for 3 hours for this recipe, so the warm setting on my mom’s slow cooker was more than sufficient to match that. In fact it was sufficient enough to allow me to shave off a few minutes from the 3 hour cook time. I did not, because I was busy doing other things while the oil was in the slow cooker, but if you’re anxious, you could take 15 minutes off of the cook time. I made this lemon infused oil in both my immersion circulator and my moms slow cooker–set a timer for 3 hours for both. The results were identical. The lemon was nicely infused in both oils. I used avocado oil, but this can be done with olive oil, grape seed oil, or any oil that you choose.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
1 cup of avocado oil–or oil of your choice
peel of 2 medium sized lemons
Directions for slow cooker: fill slow cooker with water and set to 131F,–if your slow cooker has an exact temperature setting– or set it on the warm setting–low if your pot doesn’t have a keep warm setting. Place oil in a bag, then add lemon peels–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.
If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the slow cooker and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours. If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.
Directions for Sous vide: Fill a pot or container with water, then set the circulator to 131F and wait for the water to come to temperature. Meanwhile add the oil and lemon peels to a bag–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.
If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the water bath and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours. If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.
At the 3 hour mark, carefully remove the oil from the water–remembering that even at 131F-165F water is very hot.
Transfer the oil to a clean container–removing all of the peels–you can leave one or two for decoration if you’d like.
The lemon oil is ready to use. There are so many uses for this oil. Drizzle a little on avocado toast, or on roast chicken–the uses are endless and always delicious!
2 thoughts on “Lemon Infused Oil-How to Make Infused Cooking oil with a Slow cooker or Sous Vide circulator”
all other places I have read on making infused oil basically heat the oil on the stove and then simply add the seasonings etc, but the oil then only had a 10 day shelf life do to risk of botulism. does the long slow heating time in your method prevent that? I would love to make some for Christmas gifts and for myself, but I don’t want to give a gift with a two week shelf life. thoughts?
There is definitely a risk of botulism when infusing oils, no matter the heating method, the risk is of special concern when using fresh herbs or garlic. I would not gift herb or garlic infused oils because of that risk. However, it is possible to make a safe infused oil with dried herbs —Note: the herbs must be completely dry in order to eliminate the risk of botulism spores growing—the spores need water to grow. A highly acidic environment is also a safe guard against those pesky spores—they cannot live in anything with an Ph level of 4.6 or lower— for example lemons have a ph level of 2.1-2.3. I hope this helps you! Thank you for stopping by.