Learn how to make a simple chili oil at home with this quick and easy recipe. Homemade chili oil is great for drizzling over foods for extra spice and flavor, for mixing into sauces and vinaigrettes, as well as for cooking many meals.
Homemade Chili Oil Recipe
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.
There are many great brands on the market, but I find it best to make my own when I need a small batch, or even to give as a gift, and to really customize what I'm looking for.
Honestly, homemade makes the best chili oil.
Making chili oil from scratch is incredibly easy, and it's also fun to make your own variations with flavors you'll never find anywhere else.
What is Chili Oil?
Chili oil is made from vegetable oil that has been infused with chili peppers of choice. You can use any type of chili pepper, from mild to superhot peppers. Other ingredients are sometimes included.
You can use most types of vegetable oil, though a neutral oil is ideal for highlighting the chili pepper flavor.
Let's discuss how to make chili oil, shall we?
Homemade Chili Oil Ingredients
You only need two ingredients to make chili oil:
- Chili Flakes or Crushed Dried Chilies.
I like to include a pinch of salt with mine, as well as a small amount of other preferred dried seasonings. More on that below.
Best Oil for Making Chili Oil
Any neutral oil is best for making homemade chili oil. Peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil, or a simple vegetable oil make the best chili oil with real chili flavor. I do not recommend oils with stronger flavors, such as olive oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil, as they can affect the flavor of your final oil.
They can be used, however, depending on your final flavor preferences and preferred application.
How to Make Chili Oil - the Recipe Method
First, gather up the following ingredients:
- 1 cup canola oil – or any neutral oil such as peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons crushed dried peppers
- Dash of salt if desired
Prepare Your Chili Flakes & Spices. Add the chili flakes and your additional spices to a heat proof bowl. Mix well.
Heat the Oil. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a small pot. Do not allow the oil to smoke. If it smokes, remove it from the heat to reduce the temperature.
Mix the Hot Oil & Chili Flakes + Spices. Pour the hot oil carefully over the chili flakes. It will sizzle up nicely. Mix well. Cool and strain if desired.
Transfer to a glass container. Use immediately or store.
BOOM! Done! Super easy, isn't it? Soon you'll be making chili oils of your own and drizzling it over anything and everything.
Recipe Tips & Notes
Oil Temperature. Heat your oil to 180 degrees F minimum, or to 350 degrees F maximum for a darker chili oil. Do not let your oil smoke or get any hotter, or it can burn your chili flakes and spices, resulting in a bitter flavor.
If you do not have a temperature gauge, you can test it by adding a tiny pinch of chili flakes to the hot oil. It is ready when the flakes sizzle.
I recommend the Thermoworks Thermapen ONE thermometer (affiliate link, my friends!). It works GREAT for meats and making oils.
You can strain your oil through a thin sieve or cheese cloth to remove the peppers/sediment, depending on how finely you chop/crush the peppers.
You can also include whole dried chili peppers into the oil, which can be decorative.
How Long Does Chili Oil Last?
Homemade chili oil can last for 2-3 months when stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place at room temperature, and even longer in the refrigerator, though shelf life can vary depending on ingredients used.
What Other Ingredients Can Be Used to Make Chili Oil?
Other ingredients might include granulated garlic, white pepper, salt or msg, cayenne pepper, paprika or other chili powders, cinnamon, shallots, peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns (for a Sichuan style or Chinese chili oil), ginger, soy sauce, sesame seed, bay leaves, star anise, crushed red pepper flakes, and so much more.
You can essentially infuse your oil with any number of ingredients and creative combinations. Feel free to dream up your own personal creation.
Different Types of Chili Oil
You can make many different types of chili oil, depending on the ingredients used to infuse the oil. Possibilities include:
- Chinese Chili Oil. Use Chinese chili peppers or Sichuan chili flakes, along with Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon stick, and Chinese vinegar or black vinegar.
- Calabrian Chili Oil. Use Calabrian chili peppers to infuse the oil.
- Garlic Chili Oil. Use garlic and spicy chili flakes.
- Nashville Hot Sauce. Nashville hot sauce is essentially a hot oil infused with cayenne and other spices.
There are many, many possibilities to explore your creativity.
Chili Oil with Crispy Bits
You can also use fresh ingredients, such as minced garlic, ginger root, minced shallot, and minced hot chili peppers to make chili oil with crispy bits, which is very popular today.
See my Chili Crisp Recipe (Hot Chili Oil with Crispy Bits) to learn how to make it.
Serving Suggestions for Chili Oil
You can serve the resulting chili oil as a condiment or stir it into a variety of dishes, like stir fries, chili oil noodles, dressings, drizzles and more. I personally love it for spicing up ramen noodles or drizzling over fried eggs.
You can keep the chili flakes and spices 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.
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
5-Minute Homemade Chili Oil Recipe (How to Make Chili Oil)
- 1 cup canola oil (or any neutral oil such as peanut oil)
- 3 tablespoons chili flakes or crushed dried chili peppers
- Dash of salt if desired
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- See Recipe Notes
- Add the chili flakes and your additional spices to a heat proof bowl. Mix well.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a small pot. Do not allow the oil to smoke. If it smokes, remove it from the heat to reduce the temperature. (**)
- Pour the hot oil carefully over the chili flakes. It will sizzle up nicely. Mix well. Cool and strain if desired.
- Transfer to a glass container. Use immediately. Lasts 3 months or longer in the refrigerator.
NOTE: This post was updated on 2/22/23 to include new photos and information. It was originally published on 12/15/15.