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 with crunchy salt and cayenne pepper flakes.

I looked up dipping oils on Williams-Sonoma, just for the heck of it, and what I found really shocked me. 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!

Here are the varieties that can be purchased:

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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!

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

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

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Then I added some balsamic vinegar for fun.

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It was a fabulous combination; the vinegar didn’t overwhelm the oil because it’s pretty potent itself.

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I will definitely play with making these oils again. So many different possibilities!

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By Published On: December 17th, 201348 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

48 Comments

  1. tworedbowls December 17, 2013 at 9:08 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:13 PM - Reply

      It’s so easy, I have no idea why I’ve never done it before!!!

  2. foodbod December 17, 2013 at 9:17 AM - Reply

    Lovely and so good to make your own, like you say, they can be really expensive! And at least you’ll know exactly what’s in it 👍

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM - Reply

      I know! Just the cost alone is silly. And I’ve purchased quite a few oils in the past, not infused varieties, but regular oils that have gone rancid. So it’s just not worth the money!

      • foodbod December 17, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        No I know, much better to make a smaller amount as and when you want it like you have ☺️

  3. Judy @Savoring Today December 17, 2013 at 9:19 AM - Reply

    We love dipping oil and aged balsamic, just perfect with appetizers, and seasoned oils are even better. Thanks for the instructions on making my own, this will come in handy!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 9:24 AM - Reply

      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!

  4. Rörschåch J December 17, 2013 at 10:05 AM - Reply

    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

  5. apuginthekitchen December 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM - Reply

    You are so right, dipping oils can so easily be made. I too love WS, most of my purchases for my kitchen are from them. Nice assortment!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM - Reply

      I feel like I should own at least one WS store… We probably all do!

  6. Conor Bofin December 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM - Reply

    Lovely looking stuff Mimi. This is the time of year when we get to have friends over. Nice dipping oils make that type of casual entertaining very easy.

  7. mmmarzipan December 17, 2013 at 12:33 PM - Reply

    What a lovely post and idea! It looks beautiful and would make a lovely gift!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM - Reply

      It definitely would. Especially with all of the beautiful bottles available these days! I just wish I could do the labeling part…

      • mmmarzipan December 20, 2013 at 5:02 AM

        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”?

      • chef mimi December 20, 2013 at 6:10 AM

        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!

      • mmmarzipan December 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        will try to get on it soon… and if you don’t hear back from me, please feel free to give me a little nudge! xx

      • chef mimi December 23, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        I will not nudge you! You have enough on your plate! Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

      • mmmarzipan December 23, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        It is done! :D
        Check my blog for your Christmas present from me… Merry Christmas… best wishes! xxxx

  8. Pacific Merchants December 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM - Reply

      No, botulism isn’t festive at all!!!

  9. armchairsommelier December 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:17 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much! What would we all do without W. S.?

  10. sallybr December 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM - Reply

      I was equally wowed with this oil. I’ve never made one before and it is so much better, as you said!

  11. trixfred30 December 17, 2013 at 2:47 PM - Reply

    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

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM - Reply

      I’ve done the choking thing as well. It’s especially bad in public.

  12. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward December 17, 2013 at 4:07 PM - Reply

    You are so smart to make your own, Mimi. I always infuse my oils – they are so costly and don’t use as high quality oil if you buy the pre-infused ones. This recipe I will certainly make!

    • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM - Reply

      I’ve never done it myself, but it’s certainly worth doing!!!

      • ladyredspecs December 17, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        I save my parmagiano rinds to make cheesy oil which I use to dress aragula salad. Love infused oils!

      • chef mimi December 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Hmmm. I’ve cooked with the rinds, but adding them to the oil is a wonderful idea!!!

      • Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward December 17, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        I agree. Even if only with a bit of garlic – that makes a great counter staple. I like your addition of balsamic; what a great idea and very Italiano, no? :-)

      • chef mimi December 18, 2013 at 6:40 AM

        Very! I’m half Sicilian. You?

      • Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward December 18, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        I wish I was half Sicilian, Mimi. I seem to eat like an Italian. :-) Gosh, I need to visit Italy with Dr. Abba one day…! Be well – Shanna

  13. Our Growing Paynes December 17, 2013 at 5:38 PM - Reply

    So much better homemade. I agree, it is crazy how pricey they make them at the store.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2013 at 6:39 AM - Reply

      Much better homemade. And I’ve purchased various oils over the years – not infused varieties – that were rancid.

      • Our Growing Paynes December 18, 2013 at 7:29 AM

        Always a bad surprise.

      • chef mimi December 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        i know. i don’t know how to make a sad face, but I want to.

      • Our Growing Paynes December 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        : (

  14. anotherfoodieblogger December 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM - Reply

    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).

    • chef mimi December 18, 2013 at 6:38 AM - Reply

      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!

  15. Johnny Hepburn December 17, 2013 at 9:00 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2013 at 6:37 AM - Reply

      There’s actually nothing quite as good as really good olive oil, don’t you agree? Without all the fussing?

  16. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs December 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM - Reply

      It really did come out spectacularly!

  17. DellaCucinaPovera December 27, 2013 at 1:27 AM - Reply

    Homemade is always the way to go! Bet this would have made an awesome xmas gift to someone, too!

    • chef mimi December 27, 2013 at 7:15 AM - Reply

      I know. Why did I keep it all to myself? We did share it last night, however. It didn’t really make much. I’m making excuses…

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