Chinese Chili Oil

Deliciously fragrant and addictively spicy, Chinese Chili Oil is a basic you’ll keep stocked in your fridge all year long!

spoon of chinese chili oil over jar

I first fell in love with Chinese Chili Oil when I discovered congee. Congee is Chinese rice porridge and the ultimate Asian comfort food. When I lived in Vancouver, BC, congee was my favorite food court meal. Well, congee with a big dollop of chili oil!

Up until that point, I barely noticed the plastic jars of chili oil that graced the tables of Chinese restaurants. Now, it’s the first thing I look for when I sit down. 🙂

Chinese Chili Oil makes everything taste better. EVERYTHING. And the homemade version is so good and so easy to make at home!

chinese chili oil dripping from spoon into jar

For the longest time, I always bought a bottle from the Chinese supermarket and stored it in my fridge. But then I started thinking… if I can make homemade marinara, vegetable stock, biscuits, and bbq sauce, why shouldn’t I make homemade chili oil, too?

My version took some tinkering until I got it just right. I combined the cooking method of The Omnivore’s Cookbook with the recipe base of The Woks of Life, alongside my own tweaks.

My secret? I add a little bit of spicy Gochukaru (Korean chili flakes) to the mix. For some reason, I couldn’t get it spicy enough with Chinese chili flakes alone. Plus, the Gochukaru adds another layer of complexity and richness. So good!

dry ingredients for chinese chili oil in separate bowl arranged on brown cutting board

Once you start making chili oil at home, you won’t go back! If you eat noodles, fried rice, dumplings, hot pot, and congee on a regular basis, you NEED homemade Chinese Chili Oil!

How to make Chinese Chili Oil at home:

Add all ingredients (except oil) to a heat proof container. A ceramic or stainless steel bowl both work. (DO NOT use a glass bowl as it will crack and break from the extreme heat of the oil.)

black ceramic bowl with dry ingredients for chinese chili oil

Using a candy thermometer, heat oil to 370F. Add oil to heat proof bowl. Everything will sizzle and bubble. Mix gently with heat proof spoon (not plastic) and set aside to cool.

chinese chili oil in black ceramic pot that's bubbling and smoking with spoon nearby

When completely cooled, remove and discard bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a jam jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

hand holding spoonful of chinese chili oil in glass jar

Tastes great with noodles, fried rice, hot pot, congee, EVERYTHING! Enjoy!

Chinese Chili Oil

Deliciously fragrant and addictively spicy, Chinese Chili Oil is a basic you'll keep stocked in your fridge all year long!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Cooling Time8 hrs
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Chili Oil, Chinese
Author: The Subversive Table | Lis Lam

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.
  • Using a candy thermometer, heat oil in a small saucepan to 370F.
  • 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.
  • After the chili oil has completely cooled, 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.

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.  
 
 
15 minutes, All Recipes, Asian Inspired, Popular Recipes
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