Diet & Nutrition

Cooking with Essenital Oils – Using the Citrus and Spicy Oils

Many people don’t know that essential oils can be used in food. Cooking with essential oils is fun and easy and adds a lot of creativity into your meals. I had never thought of this (even though I had a nice supply of oils). But it certainly makes sense. Essential oils can be used for cooking, added to a smoothie, green juice or any other delicious recipe you desire. In this article, I will be discussing two classes of oils to use in food – the citrus oils and (as I call them) the savory spice oils.

Citrus Essential Oils – Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine

One great use for essential oils is to replace the citrus zest or juice in a recipe. It certainly is faster and easier than making it fresh. The guidelines I use are if a recipe calls for zest from one lemon or orange, you can use 8 to 14 drops of its companion essential oil. So, a zest of one lemon, orange, or tangerine = 8 to 14 drops of its companion essential oil.  This same example applies to lime or grapefruit as well.

Savory Spices– Marjoram, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, or Coriander

I have found 1 tablespoon of dried herbs equals ½ to 1 drop of essential oil.  That said, be careful not to overdo it with these oils as they can be potent and could overwhelm a dish if used too liberally.

Now let’s explore the citrus oils further.

cooking with essential oils


A very popular essential oil is Oil of Lemon. Some of the benefits of lemon essential oil are:

  • Naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion
  • Supports healthy respiratory function
  • Soothes an irritated throat
  • Helps ward off free radicals with its antioxidant benefits

How to use Lemon Essential Oil:

  • Add to your morning water routine
  • Add to juices and smoothies
  • Add to a spray bottle with water to spritz your fruit slices
  • Mix with olive oil to add a little zip to your dishes
  • Use to make a lemonade

Here is a nice recipe using Lemon Essential Oil in a Smoothie:

Blast off Smoothie

  • 1 ½ cups of coconut water or dairy-free milk
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of fresh berries
  • ½ avocado
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 2 drops of lemon essential oil

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender in the order listed. Blend and enjoy! If you like colder smoothies feel free to add some ice chips.


Also quite popular, orange oil can be used in many ways in your food. Some of the benefits of orange essential oil include:

  • Powerful cleanser and purifying agent
  • Protects against seasonal and environmental threats
  • High in antioxidants
  • Uplifting to the mind and body

How to use Orange Essential Oil:

  • Mix with honey to add a little extra zip to your fruit salads
  • Add a drop or two to a glass of water
  • Add to juices and smoothies
  • Add to your infused water mix
  • Add 2 drops to your morning chia pudding

Orange essential oil is also very good in smoothies.  Here is a recipe to try:

essential oils in an orange smoothie

Orange Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup coconut milk kefir or coconut milk yogurt
  • 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 1 drop of orange essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey or stevia to taste (optional)

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender in the order listed.  Blend and enjoy!


Similar to lemon, lime essential oil is one of my favorites for cooking.  Some of the benefits of lime essential oil are:

  • Support healthy immune function
  • Positively affects mood with stimulating and refreshing properties
  • Used as an aromatic, topical, and internal cleanser
  • Promotes emotional balance and well-being

How to use Lime Essential Oil:

  • Mix with honey to add a little extra zing to your fruit salads
  • Add a drop or two your olive oil for extra flavor when cooking
  • Add to juices and smoothies
  • Add to your infused water mix
  • Any recipe that calls for lemon, lime can be used

Line essential oil is fabulous in salad dressing. Here is just one suggestion that uses both fresh limes and lime oil to yield a very tasty dressing:

Lime Dressing

  • 2 lime, juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 drop of lime essential oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Prepare the dressing.  Add your lime juice, ground cumin, raw apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, lime essential oil, sea salt, and black pepper to a small bowl.  Whisk the ingredients until combined and enjoy on your favorite salad!

Ready to Learn More About Cooking with Essential Oils and Get Some More Recipes?

Click to Download Spice Up Resource Guide Now

We’ll now shift gears and discuss the savory essential oils (as I call them) which are great in cooking.



Some of the benefits of cilantro essential oil are:

  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Aids digestion
  • Powerful cleanser and detoxifier (known to help clear heavy metals)
  • Gives food a fresh and tasty flavor

How to use Cilantro Essential Oil:

  • Place two drops in a veggie cap to experience a cleansing and detoxifying effect.
  • Add to stir veggie chips or fries
  • Add to salads
  • Add to dips
  • Add to juices and smoothies

This oil works really well in a recipe where you would include cilantro (coriander). I love this one:


  • 2 avocados
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 drop cilantro essential oil
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • ¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Prepare the avocado by splitting it in half and twisting apart. Remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado meat with a spoon into a bowl.  Add the red onion, garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper, cayenne (optional) and cilantro essential oil. Mash with a fork.
  • Assemble the mashed avocado mixture by adding the chopped tomato and cilantro. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.


Some of the benefits of rosemary essential oil are:

  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Soothes sore muscles and joints
  • Helps reduce nervous tension and fatigue

How to use Rosemary Essential Oil:

  • Infuse with vinegar
  • Infuse with olive oil
  • Add to vegetable juices and smoothies – use your imagination!



Some of the benefits of peppermint essential oil are:

  • Promotes healthy respiratory function and clear breathing
  • Alleviates occasional stomach upset
  • Used in toothpaste and gum for oral health

How to use Peppermint Essential Oil:

  • Mix with honey to add to your favorite green tea
  • Add to lemonade or infused waters
  • Add to juices and smoothies
  • Add to your infused water mix
  • Add 2 drops to hot water to replace morning coffee

Finally, here is a recipe for a treat for energy (sugar free):

Raw Peppermint Cacao Pudding

2 bananas
1 avocado
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 drops peppermint essential oil

Add the ingredients to a mini food processor or blender. Once blended, add mixture to a serving bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy as is, or topped with berries.

You are really only limited by your imagination when it comes to using essential oils in food. Do keep in mind that these oils are concentrated so a little goes a long way. I hope I’ve inspired you to consider including essential oils in your food!

Learn More About Cooking with Essential Oils and Get Additional Recipes!

Click to Download Spice Up Resource Guide Now

essential in cooking

NOTE: 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.

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