Cooking with Essential Oils

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Essential oils are VERY concentrated, and therefore should be used in small amounts and never ingested undiluted or directly from the bottle.

Essential oils are the highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. These natural plant oils are appreciated for both their aromatic and flavoring qualities. Many essential oils such as peppermint, lemon and orange are commonly used to flavor desserts, candies and chocolates. Other, more herbal oils, such as thyme and marjoram are better suited for flavoring savory foods such as stews and sauces. Lavender and bergamot oils have become popular in chocolate crafting especially.

Many essential oils are suitable for use as a flavoring and are safe for human consumption. Used sparingly, these powerful, all natural oils can add intense flavor and aroma to candies, chocolates, frostings, baked goods, soups and marinades.

Let's be clear about something as you continue to read the blog...

The FDA doesn’t actually classify essential oils— or anything else — as “food grade.” It lists “appropriately regulated indirect additives” and categorizes foods and other items as “Generally Recognized as Safe” [GRAS] for human consumption when used for their “intended purpose.” That regulation may not be much comfort, but it’s as good as it gets.

So please don't be fooled by the term 'food grade'... Let's just stick to the FACTS..

There are bloggers, magazines 'quote un quote' genuine news articles who are anti essential oils that want to make you believe that adding essential oils to food is a bad thing. These people are likely paid by lobbyists for the pharmaceutical companies or let's be kind and say they just don't understand what they're talking about... You'll notice if you ever come across one of these snippets that they only tell you part of the story, they want you to think that because essential oils only come under the 'GRAS' that this is awful and you should never use essential oils in cooking.

What they don't tell you is there are hundreds of additives listed by the FDA under the GRAS and you ingest them each and every day without harm!

We've left a link at the bottom of this blog that takes you to the Food Additive Status List, produced by the FDA. When you have time, use the link and then get some items out your fridge, larder, food cupboards and check against the list and see how many items you recognize..

Then you'll understand that Essential Oils are just as safe to cook with as the hundreds of additives on the FDA list that you are already familiar with.

Caution: 100% pure and natural botanicals are very strong, please check with our Certified Aromatherapist before cooking if you're unsure how to use them safely.

Ideas and Tips

Using Citrus Oils in Place of Citrus Zest

  • Substitute lemon oil for lemon zest, orange oil for orange zest and lime oil for lime zest.

  • In recipes calling for grated citrus zest or peel start with 1/8 teaspoon essential oil in place of 1 tablespoon of zest. No more grated knuckles! This is an easy way to add a punch of citrus flavor to glazes, toppings, sauces – even piecrust!

Using Essential Oils in Savory Cooking

  • For most oils, one drop replaces a teaspoon of dried herb or spice.

  • For bolder tasting herb oils such as Thyme, Oregano (Origanum), Rosemary and Marjoram, dip a toothpick into the bottle and stir into your recipe just before serving. Stronger flavored oils can be simmered at length in soups and stews to produce a milder flavor.

  • For milder herb oils use 1 - 2 drops at the end of cooking, or just before serving. 

Using Essential Oils in Baking and Candy Making

  • Super strength oils, natural essential oils are about 3 to 4 times stronger than alcohol-based extract flavorings (an extract is a flavor diluted in alcohol or a combination of alcohol and water).

  • To substitute natural essential oils for an extract, start by using ¼ teaspoon essential oil in place of 1 teaspoon of an extract. Some essential oils such as clove and peppermint are particularly potent. We recommend starting with less and adding more to taste.

Using Essential Oils in Chocolate and Chocolate Crafting

  • Essential oils are appropriate for use in real chocolate and chocolate coating (candy melts).

  • Use approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per pound of chocolate or chocolate coating. Also ideal for flavoring candy centers & fondants.

  • To use, add oil to melted chocolate and stir to mix thoroughly. When using a floral or herbal essential oil such as lavender and bergamot, just a hint of essence is needed. We recommend dipping a toothpick into the bottle and stirring into the melted chocolate. With these flavors, it’s best to start with a tiny amount and add as necessary.

Here's some other essential oil ideas

Oatmeal and Honey Facial Mask Recipe

A terrific all-purpose mask. The oatmeal and yogurt soothe and soften skin, the honey has natural anti-oxidant and moisturizing properties, while the egg white will tighten pores, giving skin a smooth appearance.


1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon honey

1 egg white

3 drops Almond Oil, Sweet

1 drop essential oil such as:

Peppermint (oily skin) 

Lavender (sensitive or combination skin) 

Geranium (normal or combination skin) 

Chamomile (dry skin) 


In a food processor or blender, process oatmeal until finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and process until mixed well. Apply to face and neck in circular motions. Leave on skin for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove with warm water. Mask can be applied once per week. Must make a fresh batch each time.


Natural Carpet and App-Purpose Deodorizer Recipe

This natural deodorizer will freshen everything from carpets to shoes to your refrigerator! Customize with your favorite essential oils to make a scent you love. Try mixing lemon with lavender, orange, or tangerine essential oils for a refreshing blend.


1 cup baking soda

Up to 30 drops natural essential oils of your choice.


In a glass jar with a lid*, shake together baking soda and essential oils until oils are well dispersed.

To use:

To freshen carpets, sprinkle liberally over carpets or rugs. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum well. 

Sprinkle lightly in shoes to freshen. 

Remove lid and place in refrigerator. A combination of lemon & orange oils is great for the fridge! 

*A glass jar with a perforated lid, such as a parmesan cheese shaker works well. Or make your own! Start with a mason jar and cut out a round of construction paper to fit over the mouth of the jar. Punch out a few holes using a hole punch. Slip the paper over the mouth of the jar and secure with the screw top from the mason jar


Natural Lemon and Ginger Sore Throat Lozenges

This quick & easy recipe uses the microwave! Natural ginger and lemon essential oils pair with real honey to give these lozenges throat-soothing power AND great flavor. For a calming drink, dissolve one or two lozenges in a cup of hot water or tea.

For this recipe, the instructions are how to make the lozenges using a microwave. To make the lozenges on the stove-top, use 1-3/4 cups sugar, 2/3 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon Lemon essential oil, 1/4 teaspoon Ginger essential oil, and 1 teaspoon Tart & Sour (optional). Add the honey along with the sugar and corn syrup; If using Tart & Sour, add to the cooked sugar mixture at the same time flavoring is added. The stove-top recipe will fill about 6 of the Candy Discs Pieces molds.


1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon Lemon essential oil

1/8 teaspoon Ginger essential oil

1/2 teaspoon Tart & Sour flavor enhancer (optional)

(Tart & Sour is a liquid blend of citric and malic acids and is used to enhance fruit flavors)

Candy Discs Pieces mold - (this recipe will fill approximately 3 molds)


Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the microwave. Use only metal measuring and mixing spoons.

  1. Lightly spray the cavities of clean, dry candy molds with cooking spray (we recommend PAM) or coat lightly with vegetable oil. 

  2. Thoroughly mix sugar, light corn syrup, and honey in a 4-cup microwave-safe glass measure designed for high temperatures (such as Pyrex). Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes and 15 seconds.* 

  3. Remove from the microwave and carefully remove plastic wrap. Quickly stir the sugar mixture and then cover with a NEW sheet of plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 15 seconds.* 

  4. Remove from microwave, carefully remove plastic wrap and add the Tart & Sour, if using; stirring with a clean spoon. After boiling has ceased, stir in the Ginger and Lemon essential oils. 

  5. Pour syrup quickly, but carefully using a spoon to control flow, into the waiting molds. Allow syrup to harden at room temperature. Do not refrigerate. 

  6. Cool completely. Lightly dust lozenges with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Store in a dry place at cool room temperature, not in the refrigerator. 

  7. For easy clean-up, soak measuring cup and utensils in hot, soapy water until hardened syrup is dissolved. 

*Another alternative is to pour the hot syrup onto a heat-resistant surface, or cookie sheet, covered in powdered sugar. When the candy is slightly cooled, it can be cut with well-oiled scissors into pillow-shaped pieces.


Lavender Hand Balm

This rich, soothing balm will re-hydrate even the driest patches of skin. A friend for the hands, but there's no reason other spots can't become acquainted with this balm as well!


1-1/2 ounces jojoba oil

3 ounces shea butter

1-1/2 ounces bees wax beads

1/2 teaspoon lavender oil

1/4 teaspoon lemon oil

Glass wide-mouth jar with lid (such as a small canning jar), I use a wide-mouth half-pint (8 ounce) jar.


In a pyrex measuring cup, combine jojoba, shea butter and beeswax. Set in a pan of simmering water (water should reach 1/4 of the way up the sides of the pyrex cup). Stir until wax is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in lavender and lemon oils. Pour into jar and cool overnight.

Note: This recipe makes a firm balm. For a softer salve, add up to 2 more tablespoons of jojoba oil.

Makes about 6 ounces.

Please contact us for any additional information on cooking or using essential oils.


This link will take you away from my blog - Food additive status list..

#cookingwithessentialoils #GRAS #chocolate #clove #peppermint #FDA #foodgrade

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