Homemade Chili Oil

We use this easy homemade chili oil recipe on everything from Chinese noodles to scrambled eggs! I eat better, save money, and never run out of my favorite condiment.

chili oil with noodles in a bowl

homemade Chinese chili oil you’ll want to use on everything!

Lately when I’m trying to decide what I feel like for dinner I’m defaulting to simple Asian stir frys or noodle bowls. And it seems like the one constant in all of them is a classic Chinese chili oil. Its fire engine red smokey flavors and gentle heat is what I want on everything.

For another super easy diy Chinese sauce, check out my homemade scallion oil!

pouring hot oil into chilis and spices to make chili oil

what exactly is chili oil?

Chili oil is vegetable oil that’s been infused with chilies and other spices. It can be strained clear, or it can retain the chilies, etc. that settle at the bottom of the jar. It’s used in Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese cooking, among other cuisines. The important thing to know is that even though it looks scary-hot, it’s actually got a very palatable heat that’s not overwhelming. Because of that it can and does go with just about everything. Think Asian style ketchup and you’ve got the idea.

packaged spices for chili oil

what you’ll need

  • chili flakes, aka ground chilies ~ I used Chinese Sichuan chiles which give this chili oil a smokey, gentle heat, not too hot so it’s easy to eat. You can buy the authentic chilies here.
  • oil ~ a mild vegetable oil. I used roasted canola oil (CAIZIYOU) which you can buy here. You can also use soybean, sesame, or peanut oil.
  • ginger ~ fresh ginger infuses into the oil as it heats.
  • bay leaf
  • star anise
  • cloves
  • cinnamon stick
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • black pepper
  • Sichuan peppercorns ~ these fascinating ‘peppercorns’ have a wonderful smokey ‘numbing’ effect on the tongue and a very gentle heat. Fun fact: Sichuan pepper is more closely related to the citrus family than to either black pepper or chili peppers!
  • 5 spice powder ~ just a teaspoon of this powerful spice blend gives this chili oil its distinctive flavor.

Chinese vs Thai or Korean ground chilies

Chilies are a confusing subject because they grow all over the world in thousands of varieties and just about every cuisine uses them in some way. Some are interchangeable, but some have unique flavors. The chili flakes used in classic Chinese chili oil are from Sichuan China ~ a blend of facing heaven, er jin tiao and xiao mi chilies. If you can’t find these dried chiles locally, you can buy them online, here.

spices for homemade Chinese chili oil

easy method for making homemade chili oil

  1. Heat oil and ginger to 270F.
  2. Pour over chili flakes and spices and stir to combine.
  3. Let it cool at room temperature for about 6 hours.
  4. Fish out the bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Cover and refrigerate.
red chili oil in a patterned bowl

what will you do with a pint of chili sauce??

Do you have to ask?

With this recipe you’ll feel like you’ve made a massive amount, especially compared to the tiny store bought jars from your supermarket shelf. But once you have it in the fridge you’re going to want to use it every day. Trust me, it won’t be long before you’re making up another batch. Good thing it’s so easy.

Chili sauce is used in all kinds of Asian recipes like Quick Chili Oil Noodles, Dan Dan Noodles, and classic Chow Mein.

It’s used as a dipping sauce for Dumplings, Wontons, and Pot Stickers.

It can be used interchangeably with chili paste in dressings. I use it in my Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono) to give it a subtle hint of heat.

Then there are the non-Asian uses! They involve French fries, scrambled eggs, burgers…

homemade chili oil in a jar with spoon


Where can you buy Sichuan crushed chilies?

I bought mine from Mala Market, which is a great online source for authentic Sichuan products if you don’t have a good Asian market nearby. You can also find them on Amazon.

What can I use instead of the Chinese crushed chilies?

Unfortunately there really isn’t a substitute in this case. If you want to make chili oil you should track down the correct chiles. Online ordering makes it so easy. In a pinch Korean chili flakes are definitely better than the Italian style (cayenne) chili flakes you’re used to seeing in American spice aisles. Remember, the only reason to make homemade Sichuan chili oil is to do it right. You want that unique flavor!

How do I store this?

Store your chili oil in a covered container or jar in the refrigerator.

How long will my chili oil last?

It will last 2 months or more in the refrigerator. But honestly, you’ll use it up way before it goes bad.

5 from 3 votes

Homemade Chili Oil

This classic Chinese chili oil is a common ingredient in so many of my favorite Asian dishes, and this easy homemade recipe is absolutely spot on in every way. Now I save money, and never run out of my favorite condiment.
Course condiment
Cuisine Asian
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 2.5 cups
Calories 110kcal
Author Sue Moran


the spices

  • 1/2 cup crushed chiles or chili flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp five spice powder

the oil

  • 2 cups canola oil (also use soybean, peanut, or sesame oil)
  • 1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, cut in half


  • Stir together all the spices in the bottom of a heat proof jar or bowl. It should be large enough to hold the spices and the 2 cups of oil.
  • Heat the oil and ginger in a saucepan over medium to medium high heat until it registers 270F with an instant read thermometor.
  • Remove the ginger and carefully pour the oil (it will sizzle!) into the jar. Stir the contents well.
  • Let cool for an hour, then remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and star anise. Cap and refrigerate until needed.


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 879IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    I have been putting this on popcorn…OMG!!!!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 12, 2022 at 7:19 pm

      Why didn’t I think of that?

  • Reply
    Cindy N.
    April 25, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    My hubby is going to be thrilled when I make this! So Glad I found your blog ~ EVERYTHING looks YUM !!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 26, 2022 at 6:40 am

      I’m obsessed with this Cindy ~ hope he loves it.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Sue, this sounds delish and easy to make, can’t wait to make this. How long can this keep in the fridge? Also, to make this healthier one can sub avocado oil for canola oil.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 19, 2022 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Thea ~ it keeps a good long while, I say 2 months, but it could be even longer. I doubt it will last that long, though, once you try it you’ll find you go through it quickly. And yes, you can use avocado oil.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2022 at 10:47 am

    Can I use Olive Oil instead of the other oils?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 19, 2022 at 12:22 pm

      You can use olive oil, but be aware of the flavor it would add.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2022 at 9:56 am

    5 stars
    This looks so easy! I am trying it this week as my husband loves chili oil and I love to make my own condiments. Thank you for sharing.

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