Dipping Oil


Recently, a girlfriend of mine asked me if I had a recipe for dipping oil. And I was taken aback. I have never made a dipping oil before. I love them – in fact I love when restaurants serve their hot breads with the combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. As long as I don’t choke on the vinegar, it’s absolutely the most decadent treat. But I’ve never served that at home.

I looked up dipping oils on Williams-Sonoma, just for the heck of it, and what I found really shocked me. Now as you all know, I’m a huge fan of Williams-Sonoma, and I’ve probably single handedly built a few stores from my purchases over the years. But these dipping oils are $12.95 for one 8.5 ounce bottle!

Even considering a high quality olive oil as the base for these seasoned oils, I still find these overpriced. Here are the varieties that can be purchased:

Pesto recreates the bright flavors of the classic Italian sauce with basil, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and tangy lemon.

Herbs de Provence is a French-inspired blend of herbs de Provence, black pepper, lemon and a hint of Dijon mustard.

Parmesan Garlic is a rich, savory combination of aged parmesan cheese, roasted garlic and Mediterranean herbs.

Rosemary Garlic features a Mediterranean-style blend of rosemary and fragrant garlic, highlighted by tangy lemon and a touch of Dijon mustard.

Sun-Dried Tomato showcases the rich sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes, accented with basil, shallots and spices.

They all sound really good, but the first thing I thought of, not surprisingly, is that they can easily be made at home!


So I decided to do just that. I started with a clean jar, and then added these ingredients:

Spiced and Herbed Dipping Oil

Good quality olive oil, although any good oil could be used
peppercorns, a nice colorful variety
dried chile peppers
some lavender sprigs
a sprig of rosemary
a couple sprigs of thyme
a few bay leaves
a couple of peeled garlic cloves

Then I shook everything up and let the jar sit in my pantry for 2 weeks. I didn’t add salt, nor did I add cheese. I felt that those ingredients could be added at the time when I serve the dipping oil with bread.

I usually do a separate post for liqueurs and such that take a couple of weeks to “age” properly, but in this case, the oil was ready right before Thanksgiving. So I’ve already played with it, and I am impressed.

I firstly used a funnel with a sieve attached to pour some of the oil into a small dipping bowl.


And then the tasting began. Or, uh, testing. The taste was spectacular by itself, but I did add some salt.

Then I added some balsamic vinegar for fun.

It was a fabulous combination; the vinegar didn’t overwhelm the oil because it’s pretty potent itself.
I will definitely play with making these oils again. So many different possibilities!

48 thoughts on “Dipping Oil

  1. Wonderful! I absolutely adore infused oils — my favorite is the chili-infused olive oil you can get on your pizza in Europe. I’ve been wanting to make my own for some time, so glad you posted how to!

    • It came out really wonderfully. Just for fun, I added more oil to the goodies in the jar and thought I’d see if they would have the same impact for a second batch. Probably not, but the flavor is fairly subtle in any case! I can always just use it on salads!

  2. Well done and how beautiful, Chef Mimi. Please be careful with garlic. Botulism grows quickly with garlic. Best to add it to the oil right before serving, or keep it all refrigerated. :D

      • I might have to create a label for you, Mimi! If time allows, I’ll do so in the near future. Out of curiosity, how would you like a homemade product created by you labeled? As a gift from “Chef Mimi”… or “from Mimi’s Kitchen”?

      • Oh my god, are you serious? from Mimi’s kitchen would be better. chef mimi was just a nickname, but i wish I hadn’t made it my blog name cause of course i’m not a chef, and i’m still a little worried that people might think that I really think I am! I knew you were creative, but I had no idea…. I’m so excited!

  3. I love this idea! I’ve got quite a few beautiful glass bottles (the joys of working for a company that sells them) so I’m absolutely sure there are gonna be some dipping oils coming out of my house in the near future! I’d probably switch out the fresh garlic for dried (botulism just isn’t festive) and maybe add a hint of lemon zest for brightness. Your post definitely got my creative juices flowing!

  4. I love dipping oils . . . beautiful post. The one I make in almost continuous rotation is made with rosemary, garlic, sea salt, pepper, basil and crushed red pepper. Mmmm. Now I want some! And I LOVE Williams Sonoma . . . great stuff!! Cheers!

  5. Great idea to awe the guests at a dinner party… I never bought a bottle of flavored oil, mainly for fear of going rancid before we have a chance to finish it, as with only the two of us in the house, can be a bit tricky. But once, on the early days of my blog, I made a focaccia using infused oil instead of the simple oil + rosemary mix and was blown away by how much better it was. I recently used a similar flavored oil in a baked ricotta dish, but a drizzle of your concoction would have been even better!

  6. I love dipping bread in oil and balsamic – mind you I nearly choked once because the vinegar caught the back of my throat – i couldn’t breath or speak for ages – much to everyone’s relief no doubt

  7. What an awesome gift idea, not to mention economical for our own use. And I am with you on the tag part. I’d have to download some printable ones, my handwriting is awful (and my crafty skills sparse, at best even though I took a scrapbooking class once. I am very impatient).

    • Scrapbooking – ugh. Ugly handwriting – right on. terrible. printer rarely works after I upgraded to windows 8.1
      so these days I really avoid tags and labels!

  8. Never knew that about garlic. Must do some research. Especially as garlic infused is so typical here. I never bother with them. For one person it seems too much fuss. But, oh so nice to dip bread into!

  9. I love making dipping oil, but I love eating it more. This is a beautiful oil recipe. I absolutely love how it looks in the jar, and I love how it looks with the vinegar. You have me intrigued with the lavender, what a wonderful fragrance/taste it must give to the oil. Love this.

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