By Chef Lauren Cox, Closer to Your Food

Many of us keep essential oils around the house for a variety of uses, but did you know that they also come in handy in the kitchen? First off, make sure you are using food-grade oils that are safe for consumption. Citrus oils, lemongrass, mint, spearmint, clove, cinnamon, oregano, and basil all have great culinary applications.

Flavoring for Baking

Often baking recipes call for extracts and flavoring. Artificial flavorings and food coloring are easily found in most grocery stores, but did you know you can use essential oils in their stead? I love using lemon and orange essential oils in recipes. I also find myself using mint oil and lavender. Be cautious – you need much less essential oil than you would most flavorings because they are far more concentrated. Start by adding one drop of oil and taste. You can always add more, but can’t take it away.

DIY Teas

If you’re in a pinch or don’t have a particular tea, you can add a drop or two of essential oil to hot water. With a sore throat I add 2 drops of lemon essential oil, 1 drop mint, and a teaspoon of honey to a mug, stir, pour in hot water and stir again. Try a drop of lavender at bed time for a more restful night or peppermint when you have a stomach ache.

Broths and Sauces

If you don’t have any fresh herbs, you can always finish a soup, stock or broth with a drop or two of oil. Basil and oregano oils are great additions. Start by stirring in one drop after your broth has cooked down, and adjust from there.


Fresh oils make really beautiful garnishes for plates, and are great in salad dressings. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making something like parsley oil from scratch, try adding a drop or two of essential oil to high-quality extra virgin olive oil.





Closer to Your Food is a wellness blog focused on eating and cooking for health and sustainability with recipes and lifestyle tips formulated around a plant-based diet and home-grown local foods. Chef Lauren Cox holds a B.A. from the le Cordon Bleu in Culinary Management with over 8 years of fine dining experience in private dining, catering and Michelan star restaurants.



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.