Usage of Essential Oils in Brining and Marinating Meat, Poultry, and Fish

Some food-grade essential oils are used in commercial food production to brine and marinate meat, poultry, and fish. Producers might use essential oils alongside traditional herbs and spices for distinct flavor profiles. Specific products include gourmet marinades and marinated meats, including smoked meats. High-end olive suppliers might add a touch of citrus or herb essential oil for a unique twist.

Essential oils used in commercial products intended for marinating meat, poultry, and fish include:

Rosemary Oil: Earthy, herbal flavor, popular in brines or marinades for poultry or lamb, often infused into oils or vinegars.

 • Citrus Peel Oils: Oils of lemon, orange, or grapefruit peels are added to brines or marinades for a subtle citrus flavor and aroma. They are often used in seafood marinades for ceviche or poke.

 • Black Pepper Oil: Can be used in small amounts in brines or marinades for a concentrated pepper punch.

 • Paprika Oil: Peppery flavor, used in brines for sausages or pulled pork.

Professional chefs and home chefs use essential oils in their own custom marinades to impart flavor to their meat, poultry, and fish dishes:

• Poultry marinades: Rosemary, thyme, or lemon oil for chicken, turkey, or duck.

• Seafood marinades: Citrus oils for shrimp, scallops, or salmon.

• Red meat marinades: Smoked paprika oil for steaks or lamb chops.

 • Brines for pork or poultry: Citrus oils or juniper berry oil for subtle flavor enhancements.

Important Safety Notes:

• Only use food-grade essential oils listed as Generally Safe for Human Consumption by FDA and/or FEMA.

• Follow FEMA guidelines for quantity limits in food products.

• Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated and can easily overpower other flavors. Start with tiny amounts, and gradually increase to the desired taste.
Safety Statement re Food flavorings HBNO’s Food Grade Essential Oils are concentrated aromatic and flavor ingredients listed by the US Food and Drug Administration as “Generally Recognized as Safe for Human Consumption” which may be used in a mixture for food applications when used in a customary manner and safe quantity according to legal and FDA / FEMA GRAS guidelines.

For home kitchens, a drop or two is often all that is required to impart the desired flavor. For industrial applications, it is the user’s responsibility to consult such professional sources as FEMA for guidance (expressed in parts-per-million) as to safe use of GRAS substances in their particular food formulations. FEMA: Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States. External link to:


All HBNO products listed as Food Flavoring Ingredients are processed and handled as a food ingredient, with our obsessive dedication to cleanliness and food safety, including testing of each lot of the product for quality, and adherence to FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practices for Food for Human Consumption.