This homemade Calabrian chili paste recipe is easy to make, perfect for adding flavor with a touch of heat to many of your favorite Italian dishes.
Homemade Calabrian Chili Paste - Better than Store Bought
Today we are making Calabrian Chili Paste in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends, and I think this is a recipe you'll want to keep on hand.
If you're a fan of Italian cuisine with a spicy twist, this spicy condiment will make it easy for you. Italian cuisine isn't known for being overly spicy, but they do like to spice things up sometimes, particularly in the Southern regions, like Calabria.
You may be able to buy Calabrian chili paste in the grocery store, but it's so much better when you make it at home, as you can control everything that goes into it.
All you need is some olive oil and Calabrian peppers, and some optional garlic and salt to round it out.
Calabrian chilies are is a versatile Italian pepper from Calabria, Italy, with a rich red color, fruity flavor and a nice level of heat for spicy food lovers.
Their heat ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 Scoville Heat Units, making them quite spicy peppers, with the hottest Calabrian chili being 8 times hotter than an average jalapeno pepper.
Learn more about Calabrian Chili Peppers.
Let's talk about how to make Calabrian Chili Paste, shall we?
Calabrian Chili Paste Ingredients
- Calabrian Chilies. In oil. Use a store bought jar. See the recipe notes section if making with dried Calabrian chilies.
- Olive Oil. You can use other neutral oil, like vegetable oil.
- Salt. To taste.
How to Make Calabrian Chili Paste - the Recipe Method
Process the Ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender.
Process until smooth.
Taste and adjust for salt. Add in a bit more oil if you'd prefer a thinner chili paste.
Boom! Done! Your Calabrian chili paste is ready to serve. So easy to make, isn't it? Use it as desired to spice up any and all of your Italian dishes.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Calabrian Chili Paste from Dried Peppers. It's easier to start with Calabrian chilies that have been preserved in oil, but if you have dried Calabrian peppers, start with 2 ounces dried pods, pan roast them in a dry pan for 1 minute (optional), then rehydrate them in very hot water for 20 minutes. Then you can process them with the oil, garlic, and salt per the recipe.
- You can also use fresh Calabrian peppers by removing the stems and coring 8 ounces of fresh peppers, then process them with the oil, garlic, and salt per the recipe. If using fresh pods, consider roasting them first.
- Add in a tablespoon or 2 of balsamic vinegar for an interesting flavor combination.
- While there is no perfect substitute for Calabrian chilies, you can make this recipe with other red peppers. Consider the cayenne pepper for similar heat and flavor.
- Up your heat factor even more by add in a teaspoon or more of extra spicy red pepper flakes or spicy chili powder.
Calabrian chili paste will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It is best used right away.
You can also freeze it for 2-3 months.
Cooking with Calabrian Chili Paste
Calabrian chili paste is ideal for adding heat and flavor to any of your pasta dishes. Swirl it into your simmering pasta sauce to let the flavors bloom.
Use it as a base for hot sauce, spoon some into your pizza sauce, or incorporate it into your marinades or meat rubs.
It's also used to make Nduja, a spicy Italian meat paste, a staple of Italian cuisine.
Try it with some of these Italian recipes:
- Bucatini All' Amatriciana (Spicy Italian Pasta)
- Arrabbiata Sauce
- Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- Fra Diavolo Sauce
- Creamy Tortellini Pasta with Fire Roasted Tomatoes
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this Calabrian chili paste recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and how you decide to use yours.
If you enjoy Calabrian cuisine, I recommend the following cookbook. It has a lot of great recipes.
- My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South, by Rosetta Constantino (affiliate link, my friends!)
Buy Calabrian Chilies
Amazon Affiliate links, my friends!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Sambal Oelek Recipe
- Homemade Harissa Chili Paste
- Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
- Harissa Sauce
- Biber Salcasi (Turkish Chili Paste)
- Piros Arany (Hungarian Chili Paste)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. 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.
Calabrian Chili Paste Recipe
- 8 ounces Calabrian Chilies (in oil - if using DRIED Calabrian Chilies, see recipe notes)
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Add all of the ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth
- Taste and adjust for salt and oil to preference.