Mrs. Jones' Soapbox

  • Cooking with Essential Oils

    Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes, but only in the past few years have they become all the rage for so many different reasons. Not only are they known for their stimulating, antidepressant, detoxifying, antibacterial, antiviral and calming properties, certain oils can be incredibly useful in the kitchen, too. Essential oils are the concentrated essences of the natural oils found in plants, so when processed in a particular way, they are safe to use in cooking. I know this topic has been controversial, so I want to make it extremely clear this post is about cooking with essential oils, not ingesting essential oils in therapeutic doses. There is a big difference.


    The first step to cooking with essential oils is buying a quality oil that is suitable for such a thing. It’s also important that I mention that not all essential oils are created equally. Many oils sold for aromatherapy or even bath and body use are not suitable to consume. Before you add a drop to any recipe, be sure that the oils are food safe. Here is a starter list of edible essential oils:


    Lavender oil 

    Neroli oil

    Lemongrass oil 

    Sweet Orange oil 

    Lemon oil

    Lime oil

    Clove Bud oil

    Nutmeg oil



    Melissa oil

    Spearmint oil

    Peppermint oil

    Cinnamon oil


    They have a ton of flavor, so keep in mind that just a drop of oil is equal to about a teaspoon of a comparable extract. A little goes a long way. And because heat can decrease the flavor of the oil, I usually try to add oils to the recipe at the very end of cooking. 


    Here are a few easy combos as you get started:

    As one of the most gentle oils, lavender essential oil is a great oil to start with as you learn to cook with essential oils. Try it in dessert recipes like scones or even savory dishes like fish bakes. 

    Wild Orange can be added to a recipe that calls for orange zest or mixed with chocolate concoctions. Chocolate orange ice cream or brownies are heavenly. 

    Add 2–3 drops of peppermint essential oil to hot cocoa for instant minty chocolate. 

    Dill is great when added to homemade dressings and dips. 

    Cinnamon essential oil works very well in sweet dishes, particularly cinnamon bark oil to replace powdered cinnamon bark. 

    Use 2–3 drops of lemon essential oil in water for a delicious citrus flavor. You can also use lemon essential oil to replace a recipe that calls for lemon zest. 

    Use 1–2 drops of peppermint essential oil in your favorite tea for a hint of mint. 

    Ginger can be added to sweet treats like ginger snaps, gingerbread, and spiced drinks, but also try it in sauces for savory dishes like stir-fries and marinades.


    With proper use, dilution, and amounts, I believe cooking with essential oils can be both safe and fun. From drinks all the way to dessert and everything in between — breakfast, snacks, salad dressings & main dishes — here’s a great website where you’ll for sure find a recipe or two so you can try cooking with essential oils, too!



    Oil up buttercup,

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