Easy Chinese Chili Oil

Difficulty Easy

Chinese Chili Oil makes everything taste better. EVERYTHING. Eggs, fried rice, noodles, congee, dumplings, avocado toast, etc. And the homemade version is so easy to make. Deliciously fragrant. Addictively spicy. Make in 5 minutes. Enjoy with anything that needs a spicy kick!

What is Chinese Chili Oil?

At most Chinese restaurants, there’s a small clear container filled with spicy, brilliantly red Chinese Chili Oil. All you need is a drizzle to make everything taste better. Eggs, noodle dishes, fried rice, congee, dumplings, green onion pancake, pot stickers — EVERYTHING!

Making it at home is especially simple. The easiest way is to add all the ingredients in a heat proof bowl and add hot oil. It will sizzle and bubble! As the oil steeps in the dried spices, it will become fragrant and deliciously spicy.

There are different variations of this spicy and aromatic red oil. Chili Crisp, like its name, contains more crispy bits and extra crunch with sesame seeds, shallot, and garlic. Sichuan Chili Oil, with crushed Sichuan peppercorns, will make your mouth buzz with tongue-numbing heat!

My chili oil recipe combines all my favorite elements. As a bonus, it only takes 5 minutes to make! Simply add hot oil to the dried spice mixture.

The flavor is complex, fragrant, and spicy — with just enough tongue-numbing buzz from Sichuan chili flakes. Whole cinnamon sticks, anise star pods, and bay leaves add depth of flavor. My secret ingredient is Gochukaru, or Korean dried red chili flake, for a slightly floral, smoky, spicy boost of flavor!

The most difficult part will be finding the ingredients. But once you do, you can quickly and easily make homemade Chinese Chili Oil. It will soon become a basic staple in your kitchen!

chinese chili oil dripping from spoon into jar

Ingredients:

  • Chinese Dried Red Pepper Flakes. Adds heat and spice. The main ingredient so find the best you can find. Look for vibrantly red, aromatic, and slightly moist (not too dry) chili or red pepper flakes. Look for it at Asian grocery stores.
  • Gochukaru. Korean red chili flakes. My Korean twist. Adds another layer of complexity and flavor.
  • Sichuan Chili Flakes. For that tongue-numbing spice and distinctive flavor. Also called Prickly Ash, Szechuan Peppercorns, or Sichuan Pepper.
  • Cinnamon Stick. Better than ground cinnamon, it adds spicy-sweet depth and dusky flavor.
  • Bay leaves. Adds aroma and flavor.
  • Star Anise. Adds deep licorice flavor and aroma.
  • Avocado Oil. Any neutral oil with a high smoke point is ideal. I recommend avocado oil but vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, or peanut oil all work well. Do not use olive oil or sesame oil, as they will burn.
dry ingredients for chinese chili oil in separate bowl arranged on brown cutting board
Ingredients for Chinese Chili Oil.

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients. In a heat-proof container, add Chinese chili flakes, Gochukaru, Sichuan Pepper (crushed), bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and star anise.
  2. Add hot oil. Heat oil to 370F. Carefully add hot oil to the bowl. Add in batches, as it will bubble and foam. Mix together with a heat-proof spoon (not plastic).
  3. Cool. Leave undisturbed until completely cool. Remove and discard bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Add salt and mix well. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Enjoy. Add to noodle dishes, fried rice, hot pot, congee, EVERYTHING! Enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Cool completely. After adding the hot oil, make sure to cool completely. Leave undisturbed so the flavors will meld together.
  • Store in glass jars. After the chili oil cools, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. A glass jar works well.

Helpful Kitchen Tools:

  • Candy thermometer. Helps to gauge oil temperature accurately.
  • Heat-proof container. Make sure to use a heat-proof container. Do not use plastic, glass, or bamboo. The hot oil will crack glass or melt plastic or bamboo. I recommend an earthenware clay pot (like a Korean ttukbaegi) or a stainless small saucepan or metal bowl.
  • Mortar and Pestle. Use a mortar and pestle to crush into uniform flakes. Alternately, add to a ziploc bag and bash with a rolling pin.

FAQ:

What are Chinese chili flakes? Where can I find them?

Chinese Chili Flakes are dried chilies that have been crushed into flakes. Look for them at the Asian grocery store. You’ll find many different brands and forms of dried chilies: powder, whole, chopped, medium flake, large flake, etc. For this recipe, look for medium-flake crushed chilies with seeds. They should be vibrantly red and aromatic.

Please note: Chinese Chili Flakes are different from Italian dried chili flakes (the kind you sprinkle over pizza). By contrast, Italian chili flakes are darker, less aromatic, and slightly bitter. If you substitute with Italian chili flakes (or cayenne or paprika), it will not taste the same.

How do I store Chinese Chili Oil?

The dilemma of chili oil storage: room temperature chili crisp tastes best but storing in the fridge ensures maximum freshness and flavor over a longer period of time.

My recommendation: store in the fridge, tightly sealed. When ready to eat, give it a good stir and bring to room temperature for a few minutes. That will make drizzling easier. Also, the aroma will be more pronounced if eaten with hot food items.

Be careful of cross-contamination and always use a clean spoon!

How long will homemade chili oil last?

In the fridge, tightly sealed, it should last about 1 month. Since there’s no added preservatives, it tastes best within the first 2 weeks of making it. I don’t recommend freezing.

Other sauces/dips you may enjoy:

spoon of chinese chili oil over jar

Easy Chinese Chili Oil

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Chinese Chili Oil makes everything taste better. EVERYTHING. Eggs, fried rice, noodles, congee, dumplings, avocado toast, etc. And the homemade version is so easy to make. Deliciously fragrant. Addictively spicy. Make in 5 minutes. Enjoy with anything that needs a spicy kick!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 8 hours
Course condiment
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 1.5 cups chili oil
Calories

Equipment

  • candy thermometer
  • heat proof bowl (ceramic or stainless steel)

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Chinese chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup Gochukaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 2 Tbsp sichuan pepper crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients (except oil) to a heat proof container.
  • Heat oil in a small saucepan to 370F, using a candy thermometer.
  • Pour oil into heat proof container with the rest of the ingredients. Everything will sizzle and bubble. Mix gently with heatproof spoon (not plastic) and set aside to cool.
  • When completely cool, remove and discard bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Add salt. Mix thoroughly.
  • Transfer to a jam jar and serve. When not in use, store tightly covered in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 1 month.

Notes

*1.  I used a ceramic bowl but even a stainless steel bowl/saucepan will work. DO NOT USE GLASS as it will crack and break from the extreme heat of the oil.
*4.  When you are ready to use the chili oil, mix the chili oil with a clean spoon.  The chili flakes and salt will settle on the bottom and need to be mixed before serving.  
 
 
Keyword Chili Crisp, Chili Oil, Chinese
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
15 minutes, All Recipes, Asian

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe with año that species. I’m going to do it. Regards from Spain

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