Chili Pepper Madness

December 14, 2015

How to Make Chili Oil

How to Make Chili Oil How to Make Chili Oil

I purchase chili oils for all sorts of recipes. They're pretty standard in certain parts of the world. They figure prominently in Chinese and Japanese cooking, and in many parts of Asia, although the Italians enjoy their own version as well. I like to always have a good brand on hand, but sometimes it is more efficient to make your own when you need a small batch, or even as a gift. Perfect for this time of year, right?

A typical chili oil is made from a vegetable oil that has been infused with your chili peppers of choice. I've included a recipe below for a very simple superhot version made with a blend of dried 7-Pots and Scorpion chili peppers, though you can use any type of pepper you'd prefer. Heat the oil, then add dried peppers and other seasonings and ingredients, then allow to cool, thus infusing the oil with heat and flavor.

Other ingredients might include garlic, shallots, peppercorns, ginger root, and so much more. There are many, many possibilities to explore your creativity.

How to Make Chili Oil - Homemade 5-Minute Chili Oil

The key to making proper chili oils is to prevent the oil from getting too hot, which can burn your peppers and other ingredients. If your oil begins to smoke, then it is too hot and you’ll need to reduce your overall temperature. Remove it from the heat source immediately and allow it to cool. 

You can serve the resulting chili oil as a condiment or stir it into a variety of dishes, like stir fries, noodles, dressings, drizzles and more. You can keep the peppers in the oil and serve it that way, or strain and serve only the oil. The dried peppers that eventually sink to the bottom of the oil are called the “sludge,” and can be served on their own in a variety of applications. I've seen some chili oils with a thick sludge on the bottom, which can be used in recipes all by itself. So good!

You can also include whole dried chili peppers into the oil, which can be decorative.

How to Make Chili Oil - Homemade 5-Minute Chili Oil

5-Minute Homemade Chili Oil - How to Make Chili Oil


  • 1 cup canola oil – or any neutral oil, such as peanut oil, though yes, you CAN use Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons crushed dried peppers – I used a blend of 7-Pots and scorpions
  • Dash of salt, if desired

Cooking Directions

  1. Add oil, dried peppers and salt (if using) to a small pot and stir. Heat to medium-low heat and stir often for about 5 minutes.
  2. Do not allow the oil to smoke. If it smokes, remove it from the heat to reduce the temperature.
  3. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and cool. Pour it into a bottle or jar. You can strain it if you’d like.
  4. Refrigerate and use within a month.

Don't Stop Here! How About Some More Chili Pepper Recipes and Info?


  • Comment Link dean November 02, 2016 posted by dean

    thank you. at last someone explains the purpose & benefit of drying fresh chilies first. i will do this because need shelf life.

  • Comment Link Sharon October 08, 2016 posted by Sharon

    Hi my chilies are a little different from your picture they are red and yellow and a bit smaller can I just chop them up and put them in the oil or does it have to be dried chilies first. Thanks

    REPLY: Sharon, you can use fresh chiles, but you'll achieve different results. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Linda August 28, 2016 posted by Linda

    I have a lot of habanero, jalapeño and Serrano peppers and was planning on making chili oil for Christmas gifts. I didn't realize it woul spoil before then. Do you have any suggestions?

    REPLY: Linda, you can either freeze them or dehydrate them in order to keep them until Christmas. It would be best to dry them out, I believe, for making oils. Freezing should be OK as well. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Jane Gao July 09, 2016 posted by Jane Gao

    Hi, I have a new idea, what taste it will be like if your chili oil has nuts ingredients such as peanut, walnut, pinenut, sesame, etc?

  • Comment Link Mercy February 03, 2016 posted by Mercy

    Thanks!!! I really appreciate it!! Trying it now! My hubby loves this stuff and I knew there had to be a simple recipe behind it!

  • Comment Link sean January 07, 2016 posted by sean

    wow tried it and love it thanks

  • Comment Link AndrEw December 15, 2015 posted by AndrEw

    Hey, question. Why to use within a month? Is there some kind of health risk or what? It will decay or what? Thanks..

    REPLY: Andrew, with the dried chilies, it will last longer than a month, but some oils can go rancid. If you're going to use fresh peppers, it won't last longer than the month. Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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