How to Make Chili Oil (2024)

How to Make Chili Oil (1)

Chili oil (辣椒油) is a big staple of Chinese cuisine, especially when you are talking about Sichuan food. The combination of oil and red pepper flakes give chili oil that hallmark bright red hue, and it is often used as a condiment for dumpling and noodle dishes. A characteristic of Sichuan-style chili oil is the use of Sichuan peppercorns and dried pepper flakes, which impartmala (麻辣) flavor to the oil. Ma(麻) means “numbing,” and it refers to the tongue-numbing sensation when you bite into a Sichuan peppercorn.La(辣) means “spicy.”

How to Make Chili Oil (2)

For nearly a year, I have been trying to find a chili oil recipe that I genuinely enjoyed. I have tried recipes where I simply pour hot oil over red pepper flakes, but I thought the chili oil lacked flavor. Then, I tried recipes where I simmered oil with spices (such as cinnamon, star anise, and fennel) before pouring over the pepper flakes. While this method imparted a bit more flavor to the oil, it took a long time to prepare. Finally, taking inspiration from my garlic, ginger, and scallion oil recipe, I came up with a simple chili oil recipe that not only brings the heat but also great flavor.

I minced ginger and garlic finely and added these spices to a bowl that I filled with pepper flakes and some salt. Then, I heated oil for several minutes (until it reached about 325ºF) before pouring the oil over the spices.

As I poured the hot oil into the bowl, I could immediately smell the wonderful fragrance of the spices. That’s when I knew I had a hit. Mincing the garlic and ginger releases much more flavor than simmering whole cloves of garlic and sliced ginger in oil. Another added bonus was that my chili oil took less time to prepare than most of the other recipes I tried.

In my chili oil recipe, I decided to omit other spices that other recipes recommend, such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, and bay leaves. Although you would be able to smell those spices in the oil, you can barely taste them. Plus, I prefer chili oil without those spices anyway. In the interest of keeping the ingredients list short, I think that you can make a great batch of chili oil with just pepper flakes, oil, ginger, garlic, and salt.

How to Make Chili Oil (5)


Use pepper flakes with varying levels of heat: I like my chili oil to be a bit spicy—not so much spice that will make me reach for a glass of milk every few seconds, but some level of heat. That’s why I used hot red pepper flakes (also labeled as chile flakes or chili flakes), which you should find at any grocery store. The pepper flakes should be spicy when you bite into it.

I also like spreading the pepper flake “sediment” in chili oil onto my dishes, which is why I also add mild pepper flakes. I usedgochugaru (Korean pepper flakes), which gives the chili oil a gentle smoky flavor, and I find it in my natural foods stores and Korean markets. Sichuan chili powder or chili flakes also work for this recipe, and you can usually find it in Asian supermarkets. If either the gochugaru or Sichuan chili powder is difficult for you to find, you can omit it.


  • Fresh Homemade Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • Spicy Roasted Edamame
  • Pumpkin Millet Porridge (oil used for topping)
  • Basic Rice Noodle Rolls, Cheung Fun, 腸粉 (oil used for topping)

How to Make Chili Oil (6)

4.94 from 45 votes


Servings: 1 cup

Author: Lisa Lin

How to Make Chili Oil

This is my basic chili oil recipe. For even more spice, consider adding 1 teaspoon of sichuan peppercorns.

Prep Time5 minutes mins

Cook Time10 minutes mins

Total Time15 minutes mins


  • 3 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 5 tablespoons gochugaru, Korean pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canola or neutral oil


  • Add all the ingredients into a stainless steel or thick ceramic bowl bowl (basically, anything that is heat proof).

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes. The temperature should reach somewhere between 325ºF to 350ºF. When you swirl the oil, it should look thin, just like the consistency of water. Turn off the heat.

  • Carefully

    pour the hot oil into the bowl with the spices. The oil will sizzle a lot when it first hits the spices and then fizzle as it cools. Let the oil reach room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes). If you are apprehensive about pouring hot oil into a bowl, pour the spices into the saucepan instead. To prevent the spices from burning, make sure to take the saucepan is off the stove before adding the spices. Swirl the spices with a wooden spoon for about a minute.

  • Give the oil a stir before serving. Drizzle the oil over noodles or dumplings and spoon some of the chili flakes onto any dish. To store, transfer the oil into a sterilized jar and refrigerate. Try to use the oil within 1 to 2 weeks.


  1. Finding the right amount of spice: By "hot red pepper flakes," I mean flakes that are immediately spicy when you place it on your tongue. They’re usually made from cayenne pepper. If you don’t like much spice, start off with 2 tablespoons of the pepper flakes. You’ll detect the heat, but it shouldn’t bee too strong. It may take you several tries before you figure out the optimal amount of spice.
  2. Half batches: You can halve the recipe if you want to make a smaller batch. Note that oil may heat up a lot faster in the saucepan.
  3. To sterilize a jar, pour boiling water into a glass jar and let it air dry.


Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.8g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 14.1g | Saturated Fat: 1.1g | Sodium: 146mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 0.3g

Did you make this recipe?Tag @hellolisalin or leave a star rating and comment on the blog!

Cuisine: Chinese

Category: Asian Pantry

How to Make Chili Oil (7)

Hello! I’m Lisa Lin

Here, you’ll find well-tested Asian recipes, pantry guides, and recipes from my sassy mother, Mama Lin. Through my recipes and cooking videos, I hope to honor the food and traditions that surrounded my Chinese American upbringing.

How to Make Chili Oil (8)How to Make Chili Oil (9)How to Make Chili Oil (10)How to Make Chili Oil (12)

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4.94 from 45 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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  1. Colleen says

    How to Make Chili Oil (13)
    Thanks so much for posting this recipie. I tried making chili oil at home but it was sort of ho-hum tasting.because all I did was add chili flakes to the oil and other seasonings. I had no idea the oil must be HEATED when it is infused with the other spices.


    • Lisa Lin says

      Yes! Try it again next time with the same seasonings (or the ones I suggest) with heated oil!


  2. Maureen says

    I was glad to see this recipe – I’ve not seen one for authentic chili oil. Thanks for the link for Sichuan pepper flakes. It’s helpful for those of us who live in rural America and have to drive 50 miles to an Asian market.


    • Lisa Lin says

      You are welcome, Maureen!


  3. Samantha Paul says

    How to Make Chili Oil (14)
    Hi Lisa……! am a big fan of spices recipes and i was so glad to see this recipe, i will definitely making this chili oil in few days later….Thanks for sharing…….!


    • Lisa Lin says

      Thanks, Samantha!


  4. Sara says

    If you wanted to add Sichuan peppercorns for numbing, when would you add them?


    • Lisa Lin says

      I think I would add them when I’m heating the oil. They shouldn’t burn because you’re not heating the oil for long. Let me know how it goes!


  5. Sophia says

    When you say red chili flakes would this be the basic red chili flakes that are sprinkled on pizza? Also can this recipe be made with fresh Thai chilies or should they be dried? And lastly, have you ever eaten Pho at a restaurant and tried the garlicky chili oil on the table next to the sriracha? Would this be a similar sauce? This recipe looks amazing by the way I can’t wait to make it!


  6. Jeff Heckman says

    How to Make Chili Oil (15)
    Did a lot of research for a great base, and you were it! I made six batches, and added sesame oil, sesame seed, fine grind lemon (fresh), liquid smoke, course black pepper and Spanish paprika. WOW!… need to bottle this stuff (friends took my extra jars home with them, and need to make more already). Thank you!

  7. Jonathan says

    Would sesame oil work for this? I love the flavor of the sesame oil.


    • Lisa Lin says

      Hi Jonathan, if you want to add sesame oil, I’d probably add a few teaspoons to the oil, but I wouldn’t take out the canola oil completely. I think the aroma of sesame oil is quite overpowering, which is why I would use only a little bit of it.


  8. Daisy Aguirre says

    If I only have red chili flakes and paprika could this still work to replace the sichuan pepper flakes?

    Can’t wait make this for some added spice to vegan ramen!


    • Lisa Lin says

      Absolutely, use whatever you have!


  9. Samantha says

    For how long can you store this chili oil?


    • Angelo says

      Also curious how long it will last when stored.


  10. Kathy says

    This recipe is great! Make sure you read all the instructions and comments for tips! I added 2 tsps. of sesame oil, 2 tsps. of sesame seeds and 1 tsp. of Sichuan peppercorns. Added the peppercorns during the oil heating process and I added the spices to the heated oil off the burner.


    • Lisa Lin says

      Thanks for trying the recipe, Kathy! I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  11. Kuulei says

    How to Make Chili Oil (16)
    Made this chili oil because of the ingredients which I had! All others were too complicated. Made half recipe but next time I’ll be making the whole thing! Smelled wonderful after I poured the oil so I knew this was a winner! Thank you!


  12. Beth says

    Hi and thanks for sharing this recipe. Just for my own clarification, when you call for 3 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes, are you referring to the crushed red pepper flakes that can commonly be found in regular grocery stores and are usually made by McCormick or Spice Islands brands? And these same red pepper flakes are often used to sprinkle on top of pizzas?

    I assume I’ll be able to find the gochugaru or Sichuan pepper flakes at an Asian grocer…..


  13. Chu says

    How to Make Chili Oil (17)
    Just finished making this took only 10 mins and it smells amazing. Thank you for sharing! I used Thai chili flakes with gochcharu and it turned out great I may add more Thai chili flakes next time to make it more spicy.


    • Lisa Lin says

      Thank you for trying the recipe, Chu!!


  14. Maiasatara says

    I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this variation, especially knowing which flakes are less spicy. I’ve been researching Dan Dan Noodles for a LONG time but I can’t really take the level of heat in an authentic recipe. I created an oil using Portuguese Pimenta Moida (a staple in my house) but getting enough body added too much salt! And the sauce needs that sediment to have any substance. It didn’t occur to me to put the ginger/garlic/scallion in THE OIL with a milder flake. Genius. Thx for the Amazon link, too. I’ll infuse the Szechuan (Sichuan?) peppercorns in the heating oil. My round 1 was pretty good but I know this will improve my next try. First pic is on my Insta and I’ll put revised one up next week. Will DM you there. Thanks!


  15. Carrie Krieger says

    How to Make Chili Oil (18)
    Very good! It’s better than the one I ordered online!


  16. Happy customer says

    Thanks for this recipe, We were talking about good Chilli oil and I found this. One of my workmates got me to send the recipe and made it that night. He brought it in and six of us tried it on Dim Sims was amazing and complex, not just chilli but so much more.


  17. Anthony Pierson says

    I have been trying to replicate the chili sauce packet that comes in the nissin ramen bowls. My first two attempts have ended up with with sauce that is much hotter than the one used by nissin. Also, their sauce is almost entirely composed of the ‘sediment’ you mentioned in your article, with no whole flakes. Do you know of a relatively mild chili powder to create the same sediment effect? It is supposed to be mild enough to where you could drink the packet without your mouth being on fire.


  18. Wendy says

    Are you recommending 8T of chili flakes total? Or can you use less if only using hot flakes?


    • Lisa Lin says

      Use less if using hot flakes. Try 4 tablespoons the first time and see how it goes.


  19. Naomi Barnett says

    Hi, please can you advise how long you can store this chilli oil for?


  20. Dana Schmidt says

    We grew thai chilis over the summer and now have so many, we cannot use them fast enough. I’ve been looking for an oil recipe like this to try. Do you have any suggestions (or warnings) on how to use fresh or home-dried Thais for this other than mincing before adding?


  21. Charlotte says

    How long can this be stored?


  22. Michelle D'Amico says

    Lisa, I always try to use healthy oils. Can I substitute coconut or olive oil for this recipe instead?
    Loved your terriyaki sauce!

    Thank you,
    Michelle in Greece


    • Lisa Lin says

      I think the flavor of coconut oil is a little too strong. Olive oil will probably compliment the flavors a lot better!


    • Leisa says

      Try avocado oil! It’s my go-to when I want a healthy less flavorful oil!


  23. Justin says

    How to Make Chili Oil (19)
    I cannot recommend this recipe enough! Even the initial sizzle from when you pour the hot oil over the ingredients is so satisfying. There was a great heat to the oil and it went beautifully over some wontons I made. I can’t wait to get it on a hot plate of noodles; even eggs can benefit from a spoonful of this oil. Telling everyone about this!


  24. Jono says

    How to Make Chili Oil (20)
    Hi Lisa
    Is it not possible to use fresh green chillies instead of the flakes and fresh garlic as well or would this not be the same.
    As I use the fresh to make a good chilli paste but would like to make a chilli oil now.


    • Lisa Lin says

      If you want this oil to last longer, it’s better to use dried flakes. Plus, I like the red hue coming from the chili flakes. Of course, you can use green chillies if you prefer that flavor.


  25. Nichole says

    How to Make Chili Oil (21)
    This has now become a staple in our fridge and we put it on everything! It’s obviously great on Asian food, but also tastes amazing on spaghetti or just about anything else. And it’s so simple to make! Definitely a great recipe.


  26. Janice Stanley says

    There is no way to copy this recipe,, I am on pinterest unable to use it on this site,, so I must hand write this recipe.


  27. Bea says

    How to Make Chili Oil (22)
    sounds great, can’t wait to make this. for how long can this be stored and should it be stored in the fridge or not?


    • Lisa Lin says

      Hi, Bea! I think I mentioned this in the recipe card: “To store, transfer the oil into a sterilized jar and refrigerate. Try to use the oil within 1 to 2 weeks.”


  28. Tee Dot says

    How to Make Chili Oil (23)
    perfect, can’t have ramen without chili oil! good thing I had all the ingredients. thanks!


    • Titi says

      How to Make Chili Oil (24)
      Thank you for sharing this recipe. So easy to follow and no msg at all.

      I just wanted to ask about how many ml is ‘1 cup of oil’ and also how many teaspoon/tablespoons of peppercorns would you recommend per batch?

      Thank you.


  29. Titi says

    How to Make Chili Oil (25)
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. So easy to follow and no msg at all.

    I just wanted to ask how many ml is ‘1 cup of oil’ and also how many teaspoon/tablespoons of peppercorns would you recommend per batch?

    **Sorry for the double post, seems I replied to a comment rather than make my own comment


  30. Jamie Oliver says

    Looks great! The recipe is quite simple and easy to prepare, added to the menu for this weekend. hope to enjoy Chili Oil with my family. Thanks and good day!


  31. eric levine says

    Taught my g-daughter this recipe to teach her how to read a recipe and cook it. Came out delicious.


  32. Marina says

    This chili oil is really suitable to eat with Asian dishes such as pho, dumpling…
    Easy to make and keep for a long time, thanks for your sharing Lisa


  33. Ada Volkmer says

    I can watch (and listen) to this video all day! What do you think about adding peanuts or sesame seeds to this?
    Thank you Lisa!


  34. Bartek says

    Definitely the best and the simplest I’ve tried! Coming back to to this recipe for over a year now. Thanks!


  35. Emili says

    This is so helpful and informative article for new recipes lovers. So easy to make chili oil at home. I really enjoy this great reading. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.


  36. sohbet says

    very very nice


  37. shankar das says

    A debt of gratitude is in order for this formula, We were discussing acceptable Chili oil and I discovered this. One of my coworkers got me to send the formula and made it that evening. He got it and six of us gave it a shot Dim Sims was astonishing and perplexing, stew as well as a great deal more.


  38. Susmita Agarwal says

    Wonderful! Seems very delicious and tasty…..Thanks for sharing helpful and informative article for new recipes fans. Keep update with more useful recipe.


    • Konu ac says

      Konu açam sitesi ücretsiz bedava


  39. Joyce says

    Thanks for these wonderful recipe can I use basmati or sticky rice for congee


  40. Jenn says

    This is go to chili oil and I put it on everything!


    • Lisa Lin says

      Thank you, Jenn!!


    • plastik çember says

      plastik çember çeşitleri üretici firma


  41. mobil sohbet says

    Thank you site


  42. sohbet says

    Thank you


  43. Jackson says

    How to Make Chili Oil (26)
    I’m Jackson, I’m a chef who loves food, I’m always interested in new foods. Chili Oil recipe is great! I just finished them tonight, taste is great and i had a great dinner with my little family. Thanks for your sharing.
    Sincerely grateful!


    • Lisa Lin says

      Thanks, Jackson!


  44. Angela says

    How to Make Chili Oil (27)
    This is the chili oil you need to make! Lost count of the number of jars I’ve made and gifted to friends. Thank you so much Lisa for a quick & perfect chili oil!


  45. Laura says

    How to Make Chili Oil (28)
    I have been searching for a fantastic homemade chili oil recipe for about 4 months, I have many “meh” jars in the back of the fridge lol. Your recipe IS the winner, no contest Lisa, adore gochugaru! Thank you for sharing your chili oil recipe, we are in love and put it on everything lol. Your oil goes fantastic on my homemade wonton & dumplings.


  46. Eric. says

    How to Make Chili Oil (29)
    Ik maak zelf sambal van gedroogde Rawitpepers. Die wel ik eerst in heet water, dan giet ik af en doe het in een oude blender met scheut azijn, zout, trassi tot het een pasta word. Ui hakken en knoflook, flinke scheut olie in pan verhitten en dan alles goed opbakken een minuut of 5. In pot doen. En dan heb je ook chiliplie boven op. Heel heet op tong!!!! Heerlijk. Maarja, ik ben een Indo.


  47. Catherine Chia says

    How to Make Chili Oil (30)
    Thank you very much Lisa for this perfect recipe! It is easy to make and tastes great. It goes with everything. The only chilli oil recipe I need – I only use olive oil. Made jars for friends and they all love it.


  48. SiLiCOOP says

    How to Make Chili Oil (31)
    This was so easy! We use it for noodles, dumplings/gyozas, fried rice, eggs, everything! Thank you for the recipe 🙂


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