Chinese scallion oil is one of the ‘mother sauces’ of Chinese cuisine, and incredibly easy to make with fresh green onions and vegetable oil. The oil has a fragrant, light onion flavor you’re going to want with everything from stir frys to scrambled eggs.
Chinese scallion oil is an easy 2 ingredient recipe
Scallions are as ubiquitous in the Chinese kitchen as garlic and ginger, and this easy spring onion infused oil is a staple in Chinese cooking. It takes just a few minutes to make on your stove. Stash this jar right next to your Homemade Chili Oil in your fridge for all kinds of authentic quickie meals like the famously delicious and easy Shanghai scallion oil noodles. You’ll also use it to stir fry, or mix it into sauces and dressings…why not scramble your eggs in it? It also serves as a fragrant ‘finishing’ oil to drizzle over dishes just before serving.
what is scallion oil?
It’s really just an infused oil, made by simmering scallions in a pot with a neutral vegetable oil until they start to go golden and toasty. The oil is then strained.
ingredients for scallion oil
THE OIL ~ I used a toasted canola (rapeseed) oil. It’s got a golden hue and has a nutty aroma and is the preferred oil in Sichuan cuisine. You can also use regular canola, peanut, grapeseed, soybean, or other neutral vegetable oil of your choice. I don’t recommend extra virgin olive oil because the flavor will overpower, but you could use one of the super mild olive oils on the market, if you like.
THE SCALLIONS ~ aka green onions or spring onions, the freshest you can find. Look for smaller sized scallions with bright green, firm greens.
simple process for making scallion oil
- Wash, trim, and dry scallions. Slice into 3 inch pieces. I like to slice some of the sections lengthwise, just to expose more surface area.
- Put the scallions and oil into a pot and simmer over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the scallions start to turn toasted and golden.
- Let the oil cool, then strain and bottle.
- Don’t throw away the toasted scallions, use them to top a bowl of freshly made noodles that you’ve tossed with some of your scallion oil.
variations for scallion oil
I like to add fresh scallions to the jar with my oil for a little extra flavor. The oil will not last as long with the fresh scallions, so plan on using it up with a week or two.
You can add other aromatic ingredients to your oil while it simmers, such as shallot, ginger, or Sichuan peppercorns. I don’t recommend garlic because it can burn and make your oil bitter.
Another variation I love is a blended scallion oil. For this you simple take the cooled oil, with the scallions, and blend in a blender, then strain. The flavor is outrageous!
what to do with your Chinese scallion oil
Now you’ve got your beautiful fragrant oil in the fridge, what to do with it?
Definitely use it to make salad dressings, you’ll get bonus flavor there. Try it in my Crunchy Chinese Coleslaw or my Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono). Use it in place of the sesame oil in my Chinese Chicken Salad.
Why not use it as a simple bread dip?
Chinese Scallion Oil recipe
- 12 scallions or about 2 bunches
- 2 cups neutral vegetable oil such as canola, sunflower, soybean, or peanut. If you can get your hands on roasted canola oil, that's what I used., I bought my roasted canola oil here.
- Trim the scallions and cut into 3 inch pieces.
- Put the oil and the scallions into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Once the oil is bubbling, continue cooking over very low heat for about 15 minutes, just until the scallions start to turn golden. Don't cook too far or they will become bitter.
- Let the oil cool completely off the heat, and then strain into a clean jar. You can add a few fresh scallions to the jar, if you like.
- Refrigerate and use within 3 weeks if just the oil. If you added fresh scallions to the jar, use within 1 week.
- After the oil has cooled completely in step 4, you can blend the oil with the scallions. Strain, and bottle as above. Refrigerate and use within 1 week.