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14 December 2015

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.

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 to give as a gift. Perfect for any time of year, right?

Besides, making chili oil from scratch in incredibly easy, and it’s also fun to make your own variations with flavors you’ll never find anywhere else. Best to have your own chili oil recipe on hand.

What is Chili Oil?

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.

You can use most types of vegetable oil, though a neutral oil is ideal for highlighting the chili pepper flavor. Canola oil is popular for making chili oil, as is peanut oil. You can infuse any oil, however, with chilies, such as olive oil or even sesame oil.

The general process is simple.

Heat the oil, then add dried peppers and other seasonings and ingredients, then allow to cool, thus infusing the oil with heat and flavor.

Let’s run through the chili oil recipe process, shall we?

How to Make Chili Oil – the Recipe

First, gather up the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup canola oil – or any neutral oil such as peanut oil, though yes, you CAN use Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons crushed dried peppers 
  • Dash of salt if desired

Next, add the 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.

Do not allow the oil to smoke. If it smokes, remove it from the heat to reduce the temperature. The goal is not to boil the oil, but to slowly simmer it, allowing the flavors of the peppers to infuse it.

After 5 minutes, remove from heat and cool to room temperature. You can simmer longer to infuse even more flavor. Pour it into a bottle or jar and seal it. You can strain it if you’d like.

BOOM! Done! Super easy, isn’t it? Soon you’ll be making chili oils of your own and drizzling it over anything and everything.

Refrigerate and use within a month.

What Other Ingredients Can Be Used to Flavor Chili Oil?

Other ingredients might include garlic, shallots, peppercorns, sichuan peppercorns (for a sichuan style chili oil) ginger root, soy sauce, sesame seed, bay leaves, star anise, crushed red pepper flakes, 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 Homemade 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.

Recipes and 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, 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 cook with it as you cook with other oils, such as olive oil.

Straining the Chili Oil

If you prefer your chili oil strained, you can easily pour the finished oil through a thin sieve or even 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.

Try Some of my Other Infusion Recipes

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

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.

How to Make Chili Oil
Print Recipe
4.95 from 18 votes

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

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, as well as for mixing into sauces and vinaigrettes, as well as for cooking many meals.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili oil, chili peppers
Servings: 30
Calories: 11kcal


  • 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


  • 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.
  • Do not allow the oil to smoke. If it smokes, remove it from the heat to reduce the temperature.
  • After 5 minutes, remove from heat and cool. Pour it into a bottle or jar. You can strain it if you’d like.
  • Refrigerate and use within a month.


Heat Level: Varies, depending on the chili peppers used.


Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 27mg | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg



  1. 5 stars
    We use a sealed jar, refrigerate, and masking tape to write date made. If any is left after a month we make another batch. Do easy and do do good on just about anything

  2. I used two dried chillis plus already dried chilli flakes for 250ml bottle (in fact it was a little less than this), I used light olive oil, no salt and sterilised the bottle before hand, then stored in the fridge. After 5 days I noticed there was a white cloudy something in the bottle, which I thought was mould. I took it out of the fridge to throw away, and maybe 30 minutes later noticed that the white cloud had disappeared. Does anyone know what this was, is the chilli oil still safe to use? Also, the chilli oil is barely chilli flavoured! Should I have infused for longer? Thanks

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jody, it could just be the temperature affecting the olive oil, hardening it up. If you notice fuzzy growth, that is not good. Also, yes, a longer infusion would be better or use more (or hotter) peppers.

  3. Kenneth Bradley

    4 stars
    I tried to give it 5stars but 4 was the max. Love me some chilipeppermadnesss.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Kenneth. Did you want me to change this to 5 stars? Or is there a recipe tweak you’re looking for to give it something else? Please let me know. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Jen Williams

    5 stars
    Thanks for this quick and easy recipe. This went together so fast. I was not prepared, however, for the amazingly delicious toasty smell of the finished chili oil! It’s so good that every time I step into the kitchen I have to uncover the jar and take a whiff. It smells like very good quality Szechuan food – that must be one of the ingredients that makes it taste so good. I’m about to make some peanut-sesame sauce for cold noodles and I’m looking forward to adding some of this chili oil.

    Thanks again!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! Thanks, Jen! Super happy you enjoyed it. Off to make another batch for myself!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jah-Leah! I do appreciate it.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      There you go, Jacqueline! I love it! That’s going to be a nice and spicy oil!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jan, yes, avocado oil is great here. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  5. When I rehydrate dried chilies the water is bitter. Why does hearing chilies in oil not result in a transfer of bitterness? Thank you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Gabrielle, yes, a lot of people feel some dried peppers are bitter, and it does leech into the water. It’s not so much the heating, but in the skins and inherent flavor. You can adjust for this in sauces and recipes with honey or use other ingredients to balance that out.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Rosh, you can infuse oil with anywhere from 1 to many peppers, depending on how much you want to make and how potent. There is greater risk of rancidity with fresh peppers, so be sure to strain it and keep it refrigerated.

  6. I am going with your recipe to make 4 different chilli oils as I have grown my own chillis from seed, they are powerful flavours so I ma add star anise to one or 2. I have grown Kristian chillis, hot yellow pepper chilli, and red chillis to name a few. I had soo many chillis and did not know what to do with them all, I have frozen some and dried some,thedried ones I will use chillis oil. Thankyou for this recipe.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Perfect, Jas. I think that’s great. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  7. Hello Mike,
    have you tried the cold oil version? Just put some dried peppers in your favourite oil or oil mix (I use half olive oil and half rapeseed oil) in a glass bottle, and forget it for at least 3 weeks in a dark place; the flavors will develop even more with time.
    I was skeptical that any heat would get from the chilies to the oil, but it does!
    Cheers and thanks for your passion!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I haven’t tried this, Alami, but I’m sure it’s great! It would definitely be a nice infusion. I appreciate it!!

  8. Foday Bangalie Dumbuya

    I live in Sierra Leone with a keen interest in pepper processing. processing pepper source, pepper paste and powdered pepper in Africa is very important as we are now doing in Sierra Leone. It prevents wastage and also generate income for lower income farmers and producers.

  9. 5 stars
    i have totally been meaning to try and make chili oil. i have all these spicy dried thai chilies in mt pantry and i need to use them for something. likely this!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      This would be GREAT with Thai chilies. I’d drizzle that on everything.

  10. 5 stars
    I love chili oil though have never made it myself. Good idea! Here in Italy it’s standard in pizzerias and many Italians like to sprinkle some on their pizza!

    1. 5 stars
      You are sooooo lucky living in Italy…..i had 2 of the best pizzas ever in Venice and Naples

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried making chili oil at home. It would make a great gift. I’ll keep it in mind the next time I’m searching to come up with a unique gift!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I agree, Jill, homemade chili oil makes a great gift.

  12. 5 stars
    I recently did a search for how to make this oil. I needed some for a recipe. I think I like your version much better. I’m gonna make a batch so I can keep it on hand for when I need it again.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great! I always have one on hand here. Essential!

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Carmine, dried peppers are best for this. Let me know how it goes for you.

  13. 5 stars
    I love this stuff. I’ve made it a bunch of times before I ever saw a recipe for it. I recently made a batch with Bhut Jalokias that I grew. I used ordinary vegetable oil since it’s neutral and has a high smoke point. First I heated 1 cup of oil over medium heat until I could see the waves of convection in the oil. It was good and hot but not boiling. I added 6 or 8 fresh picked ghost chilies halved with the stems removed, seeds and all and cooked them for 5 minutes. They started to immediately cook. I stirred the oil nearly constantly making sure the peppers stayed submerged as much as possible and cooked throughout. After the 5 minutes I added a second cup of oil and continued to let it heat for another 5 minutes. Then I took it off the heat and let it cool. I fished out the pepper halves and sat them on a paper towel lined plate and jarred the oil. It is very hot. I love it. It goes on just about anything, rice, pasta, meats, drizzled on a salad, you name it. I’ve even used a little in a pan to make an delicious omelette. I saved those fried pepper halves too and have diced them and added them to many different things to give heat and a complex fried fruity flavor.

  14. Emma Knight

    5 stars
    Hi Mike and the gang from Chili Pepper Madness.
    Fabulous chili pepper recipes,great to share,enjoy and entertain with and great to try with different chili varieties.
    Quick my lastest batch of your chili oil I have put whole dried chilis in too but the oil doesnt totally cover the chili..will that be ok or will the chili go off?
    Many thanks Chili Lovers!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Hi, Emma. Thanks for the compliments! Glad you like the site. For the oil, it is best to keep them under the oil. You can always crush them down a bit so they take up less volume. I hope this helps! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  15. Hi Mike and Patty,
    Ralph here from South Africa.
    I LOVE your site. These recipes are amazing!

    I have a variation of this chili oil which I’ve evolved from a recipe on another site, which I’d like to share. This is not a 5 minute version, though 🙂

    Unfortunately, down here we don’t get shallots, so I used red onions, and some spring onion (I think in the US you’d call them green onions… which are apparently NOT exactly the same as scallions, but I’m sure scallions would work fine).
    It’s also really hard to find a decent variety of chilis other than bird’s eye, Jalapeno, Habs and a few others, so I’ve tweaked the recipe according to what I have managed to get my hands on. In future I will rather get seeds and start growing my own. But for now this is what I used.

    Below are the ingredients and their quantities used in my last batch (I weighed and recorded everything as I went along. Please note I’m in South Africa so we use the metric system (liters and grams) so please convert to pounds, ounces, gallons…etc:

    2L sunflower cooking oil
    76g Serenade chili
    39g red Bird’s Eye chili
    252g green Jalapeno chili
    150g dried chili flakes
    75g white salad onions (short spring onions, white and green parts – green onions in the US)
    Cloves from 4 heads of garlic (+- 300g)
    3 red onions (530g)
    3 Knorr Chicken stock cubes
    1 Knorr beef stock cube
    120g brown sugar (not the sticky kind. Same consistency as white sugar, but a light brown, almost caramel colour. That’s the sugar we use at home. I’m sure ordinary white sugar would be just fine).
    100g sesame seeds (optional for extra crunch and flavour – leave these until very last).

    This is the 2nd time I’ve made this recipe, and this time around I used your recipe and video instructions to roast the chilis beforehand. This is of course optional. I was just intrigued by the idea of different flavours coming out during the roasting.

    Chop up the chilis, garlic and onions to a course mixture and set aside.

    In a large pot heat the oil on a medium heat. My stove settings go up to 12. I had it up to 5, so it’s just below halfway on the dial. (I used a pot because a pan is not deep enough for 2 liters of oil – I’m sure a wok would work, but then cooking time may be reduced… a pot takes a bit longer, I’d think)

    When the oil is hot enough, put the dried chili flakes, sugar and broken up stock cubes into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes.

    Then add the onion, chili and garlic and fry, stirring often so it doesn’t stick.
    Fry this for another 25 minutes, so the total cooking time since you added the flakes etc is about 30 minutes.

    Then I turned up the heat to 8/12 (2 third heat on the dial) for another 20 minutes (total cooking time so far is around 50 minutes). During this part you need to stir almost constantly as it is possible to burn the mixture. The reason I cranked up the heat on the stove is that it almost crisps the chili mix, which I really love. If you don’t care, don’t mind, or don’t have a full hour, you can take it off the stove at this point. But seriously… leave it on 🙂

    And then for the last 10 minutes, add the sesame seeds. The reason I added the sesame seeds so late is because I’m scared of burning them and don’t want to ruin the entire batch by putting them in too early and risk burning them. If anyone knows f they can survive longer in hot oil without spoiling or burning, let me know.
    But I put in for the last 10 minutes.

    That’s it. Remove from the stove and let it cool.
    I first used a ladle to get the chunky mixture into the jars, filling each one about halfway. Then I shared out the oil to fill each jar.
    Seal and put in the fridge.

    The only thing that worries me is some of the comments in this post about using within a month or it’ll go off. I hope that by keeping it in the fridge, it’ll last a bit longer. From the last batch I made, I gave so many away, my remaining jars got used up before a month was up.

    Anyway, check it out, play around and have fun.
    Thanks for reading this, and thank you for this amazing page!!

    REPLY: Ralph, thank you for sharing this. Sounds great! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

    1. 5 stars
      Hey Ralph,
      That’s alot of ingredients in a chilli oil… sound wonderful though. Just a quick question does the stock cube make the oil cloudy? Think i would prefer to use salt

  16. rachel Anderson

    reply to Francien
    i have made a bigger batch than the recipe….

    for every 2 cups of chilli flakes i add 5 cups of canola oil
    1/2 cup of crushed garlic, 1/2 hoisin sauce, 1/2 oyster sauce. i heat up the oil hot enough but not to burn the flakes right away.. i have pictures of what i made to prove.

  17. We usely buy our 5 liters chillie oil from somebody but he was in a accident and we running out of souce for our tuckshop.
    Want to try to cook our own chillie oil in like 5 liter or more please help
    Never did this before

    REPLY: Francien, I’ve never made a large batch like that, but I’m sure this recipe would scale as needed. However, if you’re selling commercially, you will be bound by federal safety guidelines, so you should research your local laws. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  18. Okay. So I just got done with a 1 liter batch, using extra virgin olive oil and dried bird’s eye chilis. Temperature-wise, I held it between 230-250F for 5 minutes, and I’m letting it cool to room temp.

    So: my chilis were ground at varying degrees- I have some almost powder, with flakes mixed in. This was deliberate, as more surface area means more/quicker infusion.

    My question is, was the temperature too high?

    REPLY: Rob, yes, flakes are a very good call. I’m concerned about the temps because extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoking temp, but you didn’t sustain that temp for a long time. My gut tells me you’re probably good, but I would keep the temps down in the future, and would probably use different oil. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  19. Linda,
    I have done both dried and fresh. Either way they go in the Ninja to devastate prior to going in the oil. this way they are getting maximum exposure to the oil. From my experience the fresh chilis made hotter oil. Other than that i didnt notice much difference.

  20. I’d quite like to do this with whole chillies and leave a chilli in each bottle, for visual effect. It would probably look better if the chilli pepper was left intact (maybe slit down the length, so the oil can get to the seeds etc), including the top section where it joins the stem. However I’m concerned that leaving this piece of stem attached will adversely affect the flavour of the oil. Have you experienceof this?

    REPLY: Jez, yes, the stems might affect your overall flavor. Plus, you do run the risk of spoilage and rancidity when using fresh peppers, so be sure to refrigerate the oil and/or not use it for very long. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  21. Floyd barstool

    I made some from bhut jolicas last year. I kept the oil hot but not t smoking until the chilis turned dark but not burnt.. it seems as though it was about 8-10 mins. Most of it I kept in a mason jar sealed. Did not go bad on me. My brother visited Rwanda Africa, they use chili oil like we do ketchup on every table and he got hooked. I gave him that jar as a wedding gift and he couldn’t get enough, it’s my new favorite hobby.

  22. Hi Mike…..I’m a ‘purist’. When making Hot Oil, using anything other than chilies in the recipe makes it a ‘sauce’.

    That said, I use any of my hottest chilies, dried to crispiness, & peanut oil. I usually make a liter or so twice a year, & jar it for storage. I’ve found that my oils usually last for at least 6 months…..I even had a jar that was over a year old I forgot about way back, on the floor of my pantry, out of sight…..I opened it, & used it….wow was it potent, & it tasted real fine. This was 2 years ago, & I’m still fine, & so is everyone else that helped me finish it up, so the shelf life on my oil wasn’t a problem/issue at all. I usually stick with a 2 month +/-, but I’ve never had to throw any out due to spoilage. My pantry temperature can range between 50°F in winter to 90°F in summer, & the pantry only gets lit by natural light when I open its always closed door (which keeps out all light).

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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I’ve never tried it this way, but might give it a try. I’m not sure how long it would last, though, with nuts.

  27. 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!

  28. 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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