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Is it safe to use essential oils in cooking?

How to use, Kitchen recipes

Looking to explore new culinary experiences? Essential oils are concentrated aromatic extracts that are increasingly used in cooking.

You might not have known, but essential oils aren’t meant to stay stored in your medicine cabinet! Contrary to what one might think, it’s quite easy to cook with essential oils (well, with some of them!). You just need to be aware of their potency and the need to dilute them. However, it’s essential to take into consideration the contraindications of each essential oil and let your imagination run wild!


Because essential oils have incredible flavor potency.

Thanks to their high aromatic potential, cooking with essential oils may help you avoid adding flavor enhancers that are often unhealthy (such as salt, fats, etc.). No need for taste enhancers; even the simplest foods will regain all their flavor with the help of essential oils. Moreover, they can replace or enhance the flavors of herbs, flowers, or spices, which can sometimes be hard to find or out of season.

Because essential oils are very low in calories.

Just because they’re called ‘oils’ doesn’t mean they are calorie-rich! They are the only oils that won’t cause you to gain weight. If you are mindful of your diet, you can season all your dishes like salads, soups, and yogurts without the need to add a lot of fats or salt. However, it’s important to know that, contrary to what one might think, they don’t contain any vitamins (including citrus essential oils).

Because essential oils are fun.

Change your recipes and let your imagination run wild with a few drops of essential oil. Once you’ve developed the right skills, it will be very easy to incorporate them into your dishes


Essential oils used in cooking should be of very high quality, 100% pure, and natural. As always, I highly recommend choosing organic essential oils. The organic label is even more critical for citrus essential oils. These are obtained by expressing the fruit’s zest, which is the part most likely to retain pesticides. If the cultivation is not organic, you run a significant risk of finding them on your plate!



Since essential oils are not soluble in water, fatty or sweet substances like vegetable oil, sauces, egg yolk, honey, melted chocolate, or maple syrup are used to dilute them.

Don’t forget about ‘thick’ creams and liquids like milk, fresh cream, yogurt, smoothies, and soups. For these, the mixture is thick enough and stirred by the blender blades.

To flavor your beverages, you’ll also need an intermediary (usually sugar or honey) that you’ll mix into your tea, juice, or coffee.

Good to know: Cooking can cause essential oils to lose some of their fragrance.


You need to be very light-handed. Start by trying with just one drop (unless you’re following a specific recipe). Dilute this drop in a fatty, syrupy, or oily substance depending on your preparation.


You need to be cautious about the number of drops of essential oils you add to your dish, especially if it’s your first time using a particular essential oil. To avoid making a mistake and using the right amount, here’s our little tip: don’t add the essential oil directly to your dish. To avoid adding too much essential oil to your dish all at once, it is recommended to pour a few drops of essential oil into a separate spoon or bowl. Then, dilute these drops in a fatty or sweet substance, or in a small amount of your dish’s sauce. Gradually add the diluted mixture to the main preparation, tasting between each addition. Unlike dried herbs, if you’re adding essential oils to a hot dish, do it at the end of the cooking to preserve the oils’ flavors.

If you’ve added too much:

  • If it’s a cooked dish, you can put it back on the heat, as cooking reduces the taste.
  • If it’s a raw dish, you can dilute the essential oil by adding a fatty substance. For example, for a vinaigrette, you can add edible oil.

3 Rules to Follow:

  1. Alternate between essential oils to benefit from their complementary effects on the body.
  2. Never handle them near an open flame.
  3. Don’t cook them because their medicinal properties deteriorate. Add them at the end of cooking or to raw preparations


All yogurts (animal or plant-based) can be flavored with essential oils. In an unsweetened yogurt, add a spoonful of honey in which you’ll dilute the essential oil of your choice. For a classic flavor, add two drops of citrus essential oils. For an exotic yogurt, add a drop of Ylang Ylang essential oil. This also works for whipped cream!

Flavor your olive oil: for 1 liter of edible oil, add 15 drops of rosemary or basil essential oil (or 8 drops of each) to one liter of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Shake well to mix the different oils and let it rest for about a day before using it to season salads, pasta, vegetables, fish fillets, and more.

Add 1 or 2 drops of essential oil to half a spoonful of honey, agave syrup, or mashed fruit, mix it into an ice cube tray, cover with water, and freeze!

 Here are some quick ideas to get started:

  • In the case of a cake, chocolate mousse, or pancakes: add essential oils directly to the batter, which is sweet and rich in fats.
  • For syrup to drizzle over your cakes after baking, or for your ice creams: mix 250g of sugar syrup with about 4 drops of citrus essence (4 drops of one citrus or 1 drop of 4 different citruses, for example).
  • Jams, marmalades, or honey: add a few drops of essential oils (e.g., lavender, thyme, or citrus essences).
  • Season a pasta dish: add 4 drops of Clary Sage essential oil to a 400g pasta dish.
  • Flavour rice: add one drop of Lemongrass essential oil to 400g of rice.
  • Enhance an apple crumble with cinnamon essential oil


EO Taste Usage The+   

Allium sativum

Odeur forte difficile à utiliser .aïoli or garlic butter

. enhance the flavor of your sauces (tomato, dressing)


natural antibiotic

helps lower bad cholesterol and reduce blood sugar levels

Difficult to digest



Anethum graveolens

Slightly  anised and fresh cream-based sauces to season fish, especially salmon

vegetables (potato, zucchini)

salads (cucumber)

Stimulates digestive secretions and the gallbladder Risk of nephrotoxicity after prolonged and high dose ingestion

Ocimum basilicum

basil essential oil illustration

The essential oil of Basil has a stronger taste than the aromatic herb we know fruit desserts

poultry (chicken)

fish (calamari)

sauces (tomato, garlic)

pasta (garlic-olive oil, tomato)

vegetables (tomato, zucchini, coco beans)

olive oils

Relieves all intestinal and gastric problems Recommended for flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain
Java citronella

Cymbopogon winterianus

Acidic and lemony flavour Indian or Asian-inspired dishes

marinades, sauces (coconut milk)

Coriander (seeds)

Coriandrum sativumcoriander drawing

Earthy and slightly camphorated fragrance savory dishes (such as hummus)

Asian and Mexican cuisine

soups (pumpkin, carrot)

sauces (tomato, béchamel, coconut milk)


Aid for various digestive issues, bloating, and stomach-aches

Artemesia dracunculus

Light note gratins, seasoning oils, and sauces (béarnaise, sour cream)

vegetable dips

meats (rabbit, beef)

Effective against colitis and intestinal spasms Not recommended for use with anticoagulant treatments or coagulation disorders
Sweet Fennel

Foeniculum vulgare

Fresh taste gaspacho, tomato tart, fougasse, salads Against flatulences and indigestions
Bay Laurel

Laurus nobilis

laurel essential oil illustration

Sweet, bitter and fresh flavor stews

vegetables or fresh cheese

meats (game, pork, pâté, terrine)

fish (tuna, sardine)

sauces (béchamel, tomato)

vegetables (potato, tomato)

Pairs well with thyme
Marjoram (spanish)

Origanum majorana

Sunny vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers… In savory tarts or pizzas Recommended for hypertensive individuals Closely related to oregano with a finer flavor

Mentha arvensis

Milder flavor than Peppermint Hepato-digestive stimulant Very potent taste; a single drop is sufficient to season your dishes and drinks

Mentha piperita

peppermint essential oil illustration

Ideal for salads (cucumbers), cold soups (peas), fresh cheeses, mixed with chocolate, or in your drinks Ideal for salads (cucumbers), cold soups (peas), fresh cheeses, mixed with chocolate, or in your drinks Facilitate digestion

Mentha spicata

An even milder flavor than Peppermint or CornMint Tabbouleh

Moroccan tea

If you like the scent and taste of fresh mint, we recommend using this essential oil in your dishes instead.
Rosemary Cineole or Verbenon

Rosemarinus officinalis

Rosemary essential oil illustration

Meats, fish, soups Poultry (chicken, turkey) Vegetables (zucchini, garlic) Sauces Verbenon variety: detoxifying and liver protection Pairs well with Bay Laurel and Thyme
Savory (winter)

Satureja montana

Spicy, phenolic flavour Pizzas, saucy dishes, mefrenats Stimulates natural defenses
Clary Sage

Clary sage

herbaceous pasta, broths and soups Pairs well with Rosemary or Bay laurel
Thyme Linalool

Thymus vulgaris

Very strong taste, best used in cooked dishes Marinades, sauces (tomato), vinaigrettes, and vegetable preparations
Thyme Thuyanol
Lighter taste than Thyme Linalool meat, fish, sauces


EO Taste Usage The  +

Citrus bergamis

Tangy and sweet flavour Poultry (chicken breast)

Fish (carpaccio, en papillote)


Sauces (olive oil)

Pastries (cake, shortbread, madeleine)

Fruit salads (citrus, banana)

Infusion (iced tea)

Aids digestion, prevents constipation and intestinal infections Appetite stimulant

Citrus limonum

lemon essential oil illustration

Desserts or beverages

Fish sauces

Cake or sorbet preparation

Flavoring plain yogurt

Meat (veal)

Poultry (hen, chicken breast)

Shellfish (scallops)

Braised dishes (tagine)

Marinades (alone or with thyme, basil, cloves)

Cleanses and stimulates the liver. It also eases digestion and helps reduce gas and bloating Pairs well with mint / peppermint essential oil
Geranium Rosat

Pelargonium graveolens

geranium essential oil illustration

Floral flavour Jams

Red fruit desserts (crumbles, panna cotta, muffins, strawberries…)

Creams (crème brûlée, ice cream)

Fruit salads (kiwi), pairs well with red fruits, nectarines (peach)

Appetite suppressant to regulate blood sugar
True Lavander

Lavandula angustifolia

lavender essential oil illustration

Floral, herbal scent Candy, shortbread, sorbets

In savory dishes, in flavored olive oil for salads

Jams (apricot)

Pastries (crème brûlée, ice cream)

Green Mandarin

Citrus reticulata

green mandarin drawing

Sweet and tangy flavour Juices or cocktails

Pumpkin soups

Poultry (poultry breast)

Shellfish (scallops)

Fish (monkfish, whiting)


Digestive tonic, against aerophagia Anti-inflammatory for the intestines Useful for heartburn, acidity
Sweet Orange

Citrus sinensis

orange illustration

Sweet and fruity Chocolate desserts

Meat (beef, pork)

Poultry (duck, guinea fowl)

Fish (white fish)

Soups (carrot)

Sauces (olive oil, mayonnaise)

Pastries (cake, madeleine, cheesecake)

Creams (crème brûlée)

Fruit salads (with cinnamon)

Bitter tonic, against stomach spasms Pairs well with  Cardamom or cinnamon
Petit Grain Bigarade

Citrus aurantium

Fruity, with a flavor close to orange blossom Fruity preparations (crumble, jam).

Pastries (cake, shortbread, madeleine, crepe)

Creams (custard, crème brûlée, flan caramel)

Fruit salads


Pairs well with citrus fruits (orange), honey, nectarines (peach)

Difficult digestion, bloating, digestive spasms, stomachaches en lait de poule pour mieux dormir

1 goutte avec un jaune d’oeuf, 1 cc de miel et 25 ml de lait à boire au coucher


Citrus paradisi

Tangy and sweet Avocado salads and desserts galore: tarts, syrups, shortbread, or sorbets Suppresses appetite Difficult digestion
Lemon verbena

Lippia citriodora

Lemon scented Dairy products, pies, fruit salads, smoothies, or infusions

Fish (monkfish, sea bass)

Shellfish (oyster)

Fruit compote (peach, pear)

Desserts (ice cream, parfait, panna cotta, custard, crème brûlée)

Pastries (madeleine, shortbread, cake)


Internal worms
Ylang Ylang Complete

Canaga odorata

Pronounced floral scent Chocolate and apples


EO Taste Usage The +  
Cinnamon (bark)

Cinnamomum verum

Warm and sweet flavor All desserts: fruits in all forms, cakes, compotes…

Braised dishes (tagine, curry)

vermifuge and helps combat digestive disorders, gastric pain, urinary or intestinal infections.

Increases appetite.

Very potent oil that should not be used undiluted

Elettaria cardamomum

Spicy favour Savory dishes or fruity desserts (orange, peach).

Ideal in coffee or black tea

Carrot salad

Basmati rice

Aids in the prevention of aerophagia
Clove bud

Syzygium aromaticum

Curry dishes

Apple desserts

Breath freshener

Curcuma longa

Savory and discreet flavo Mayonnaise, rice, potatoes, or fish Vermifuge

Bloating, colitis, difficult digestion


Zingiber officinale

Spicy and lemony flavor Soups, gingerbread, shortbread, rhubarb pies Useful in case of constipation, nausea
Black Pepper

Piper nigrum

Spicy, hot, woody for seasoning meats, poultry, sauces, and vegetables (mashed potatoes, mushrooms) Bloating, hepatic-pancreatic insufficiency, difficult digestion, lack of appetite.
Pink Pepper

Schinus molle

pink pepper illustration

Peppery, hot, spicy Meats (beef carpaccio)

Poultry (duck)

Fish (salmon)

Shellfish (oyster)

Fruits (apple)”

Top of Form

Digestive disorders, intoxication, intestinal infections

Digestive and Purifying Essential Oils:

  • Dill, Celery, Cumin, Fennel, Basil, Lemon, Tarragon, Mint


Tonic and Antibacterial Essential Oils:

  • Ceylon Cinnamon (bark), Ginger, Mint, Thyme (linalool chemotype), Lemongrass, Turmeric, Clove, Savory


Soothing and Mild Essential Oils:

  • Cardamom, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Lemon Verbena, Lemon, Mandarin, Bitter Orange Petitgrain, Vanilla (resinoid), Ylang-Ylang

Precautions When Using Essential Oils in cooking

First and foremost, several essential oils are toxic and should not be ingested. While essential oils like lemon or coriander can be used, it’s essential to steer clear of curly parsley oil, which is highly toxic.

Therefore, it is crucial to research each oil before adding them to your recipes. Ingesting toxic essential oils can lead to symptoms ranging from mild irritation of the mouth’s mucous membranes to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Some essential oils can even cause seizures or respiratory problems.

At-Risk Individuals

  • Prohibited for pregnant women in the first 3 months of pregnancy, as well as infants under 3 months.
  • Pregnant women beyond 3 months and those who are breastfeeding should exercise caution in both aromatic cooking and aromatherapy. Some oils are contraindicated for them.
  • Keep essential oils out of the reach of children.

Essential oils can trigger allergic reactions.


  • Only use 100% pure, 100% natural, and chemotyped essential oils, preferably certified as organic. This ensures a high-quality product with a known chemical composition and free from pesticides.
  • Avoid using essential oils in baby food (up to 3 years old): firstly, some essential oils may be contraindicated for young children, and secondly, babies already have a wide range of flavors to discover!
  • For children under 6 years old, their palates are still developing a taste for “classic” flavors. They may not appreciate the unique aromas of aromatic cooking. It’s better to introduce them gradually starting from the age of 6, beginning with familiar flavors like citrus, for example.
  • Never swallow essential oils undiluted or even on a sugar cube because they are highly concentrated.
  • Always dilute essential oils in a fatty and/or sweet substance: honey, oil, cereal syrup, cake batter, etc. Water, broth, or milk is not sufficient; a syrupy or fatty substance is required. Dosage must be precise to the drop!

Sometimes, one drop too many can render the preparation inedible. So, respect some basic rules:

  • Never incorporate the oil directly into the dish with the dropper, as an accidental drop can easily happen.
  • Always dilute the drop(s) in a spoonful of fatty or syrupy substance before adding it to the preparation.
  • Follow the number of drops indicated in the recipe or, if in doubt, stick to 1 drop per dish.
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