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How to Make Lime Oil

Updated February 21, 2019

Citrus-infused oil serves several culinary purposes. It's widely used as a finishing oil for drizzling over freshly roasted seafood, as a condiment for antipasto or bruschetta and in vinaigrettes. Lime oil uses the same preparation method as other citrus oils -- simply steeping the zest in warm olive oil followed by straining. Tahitian limes are ideal for lime-infused oil -- common to American produce markets, they have the bold, pronounced flavour of the Mexican varietal tempered with the sweetness of the Key lime. To add exotic, herbaceous notes to lime oil's flavour, try adding Kaffir lime leaves to the mix.

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  1. Preheat 2 cups olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and wash and dry four limes. Remove the zest from the limes using a zester or paring knife. If using a paring knife cut the zest into quarter-inch strips. Avoid cutting into the pith. Add the lime zest and two Kaffir lime leaves, if using, to the heated oil.

  2. Heat the zest and lime leaves over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan and allow the zest and leaves to steep, covered, for 2 1/2 hours.

  3. Strain the oil into an airtight, non-reactive storage container using a fine-mesh sieve or China cap. Allow the zest to remain as a garnish, if desired. Keep lime-infused oil up to two weeks, unrefrigerated, in a cool, dry place.

  4. Tip

    Combine lime oil with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and champagne vinegar to make a flavourful vinaigrette. Don't use Kaffir lime zest for your lime oil. Although perfect for many preparations, this variety of lime tends to release bitter flavours when exposed to heat for extended periods of time. However, do use Kaffir lime leaves in your oil. Kaffir leaves add the exotic floral notes the fruit is known for without a tinge of harshness or bitterness.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 4 limes
  • Citrus zester or paring knife
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • Fine-mesh sieve or China cap

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.

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