Easy Aromatic Chinese Chili Oil
A 30-min. Chinese Chili Oil. A spicy, delicious, homemade chili oil made of red chili flakes, onion and other aromatics. Easy to make at home!
A bright red color chili oil commonly found at your local Chinese restaurant that you can add to your dumplings, rice, noodles, protein or vegetables. This versatile homemade Chinese chili oil is the best condiment when you want to spice up your taste buds!
It’s pairs well with any Chinese food or Asian dish thanks to the variety of spices and ingredients. My personal preference is mixing it into my favorite 3-ingredient Dumpling Dipping Sauce to have with some Pork Cabbage Dumplings!
THE BEST CHINESE CHILI OIL
This is by far the best chili oil you’ll make at home! My recipe video went viral on FB alone with 12M+ views.
You know it’ll be delicious when that hot oil hits the chili flakes – your house will smell amazing! It tastes so good as a finishing oil for any dish you like!
IS THIS THE SAME AS CHILI CRISP?
This red oil is very similar except chili crisp has crispy bits. The crisp recipe contains deep fried thin shavings of garlic in it making the delicious chili oil crispy! My favorite brand of chili crisp is Lao Ga Man.
YIELDS A LOT & LASTS A LONG TIME
This simple Chinese chili oil recipe will produce about 2.5 cups of chili oil, which will last you a long time in the fridge in an air-tight container, up to 6 months depending on how regularly you use it.
Do not store this at room temperature or mold can quickly grow.
EASY CHINESE CHILI OIL
This Chinese chili oil recipe is easy to make and if you source the dried red Sichuan chili flakes, it will be even easier! For best results, I recommend grinding dried whole chilis in a food processor until they become flakes. That is the easiest way to bring out great flavor!
You may grind in a mortar and pestle but this will take a lot of time and you will be sneezing a lot as the hot chili powder will fly up your nose. Then simmer the aromatics over low heat in a hot neutral oil and then pouring it over your chili flakes in a heat proof bowl. That’s it and now you have your own chili oil!
For this homemade version of authentic Chinese chili oil, you’ll need the following ingredients. Please find the full measurements in the recipe card below:
- Whole Dried Sichuan Red Chili Peppers: You can find these dried chili peppers at most Chinese grocery stores. You can also substitute with Sichuan flakes or Chinese Chili Flakes as well to make it easy. This is a common spice used in Sichuan Cuisine. You can also use these red chilies for other spicy stir fry dishes. If you can’t find either of these ingredients, feel free to substitute with red pepper flakes or normal chili flakes.
- Garlic cloves: this will add a garlicky taste to your chili oil! If you’re allergic to garlic, feel free to omit.
- Neutral tasting oil: any neutral flavor oil such as avocado oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Please avoid using coconut oil, olive oil or sesame oil as olive oil has a strong aroma and sesame oil is too overpowering.
- Sichuan pepper powder: or you may replace with finely ground Sichuan peppercorns. If you can’t find these ingredients, you may substitute with a spice powder like chili powder or red pepper powder, like Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes).
- Salt: this is needed to help flavor the oil and bring out the strong flavors from the aromatics.
- Ginger: fresh ginger is the best way to bring out that gingery flavor. You may use ginger powder but I would add this at the very end after you’ve added the hot oil into the chili flakes. Please add to taste.
- Onion: Yellow or white onion will work. Please note that these will become golden brown or dark brown along the edges in the cooking oil.
- Star anise: This is a wonderful spice that is sweet and tastes like licorice. It’s commonly found at most Asian grocers, select Western Grocers or online, like Amazon.
- Bay leaf: Commonly used in many cuisines not just Asian. It’s a leaf that has a leaf like flavor and helps to lighten any heavy flavors. You can find these at most grocery stores or online on Amazon.
- Cinnamon stick: Adds a great cinnamon flavor and the best part is it’s easy to find at most grocery stores or online.
- Cloves: These add a warmth to the chili oil. They can be found at most Asian grocers, select Western Grocers or online, like Amazon.
HOW TO MAKE CHINESE CHILI OIL
Below are brief steps with visuals to show you how to make Chinese hot chili oil. Please scroll down to the recipe card below to find full instructions and details.
- Add the dried red chilis into a food processor and grind on HIGH speed until they become small flakes.
- Transfer the chili flakes into a large heat-proof bowl (be careful not to inhale here!). To the same bowl, add minced garlic, Sichuan pepper and salt. Set aside.
- In a pot set over low-medium heat (the oil temperature should be around 250 F) add neutral tasting oil. Allow the oil to come to 250 F or place a wooden chopstick inside to check for bubbles to know if you oil is hot enough.
- When the oil is hot, add in aromatics: ginger, onion, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Allow this to simmer on low heat for at least 20-30 minutes for best fragrance. Stir occasionally.
- After it’s simmered, remove the aromatics from the oil and discard them.
- Carefully pour the hot oil into your red chili flakes and let it bubble. As it bubbles, stir the flakes with the oil to prevent the flakes from overcooking or burning.
- Allow this to cool to touch. Transfer into a sterilized glass air-tight jar and enjoy! Note: Always use clean utensils when scooping chili oil from the jar to prevent contamination or mold growth.
Below are tips on making Chinese crispy chili oil:
FOR BEST TASTE, USE WHOLE DRIED RED CHILIS
Because the chilis haven’t been broken down, the taste and aroma remain intact better than pre-ground red chili flakes.
FOR EASE, USE SICHUAN RED CHILI FLAKES
This will eliminate one step from the process and a kitchen appliance to wash later!
USE A NEUTRAL OIL THAT YOU ENJOY
I like using avocado oil, but you can use any neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point. Do not use coconut oil, sesame oil olive oil or any oils with a scent. Grapeseed, peanut, canola or vegetable oil would work well too.
LOW AND SLOW
Allow the aromatics to fry in the oil for at least 20-25 minutes for a very aromatic chili oil. Do not be tempted to fry the dry ingredients over high temperature or high heat, this will cause them to burn.
The heat level needs to be low to bring out the flavors slowly. The temperature of the oil should be at most 250 F. Please use a cooking thermometer to determine the temperature or set heat to level 3 out of 10 or medium low heat.
Below are frequently asked questions about this Sichuan chili oil:
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH CHINESE CHILI OIL?
It’s a condiment to make any dish spicy, such as noodles, rice, meat, veggies, dumplings. I use it to flavor my stir fries if I want them a little spicy or I’ll add it to a bowl of hot soupy noodles!
HOW LONG DOES CHINESE CHILI OIL LAST?
My authentic Chinese chili oil recipe will last up 6 months in the fridge in sterilized glass jars. To avoid bacteria or mold growth, always remove oil with a clean spoon!
HOW DO I STERILIZE A GLASS JAR?
There are different ways to sterilize a glass jar but I will share the way that my mom taught me.
- In a large pot of hot boiling water, carefully lower your cleaned glass jars (meaning: you have given them a wash with soap and water) in a single layer. Do not pile them on top of each other.
- Lower the heat to low and boil for 10 minutes. Remove them from the hot boiling water to air dry.
- As for the lids, boil them in a sauce pan with hot boiling water for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove and allow them to air dry.
DOES CHILI OIL NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
Yes, since our version contains garlic it’s important to refrigerate it to prevent bacteria from growing.
WHOLE RED CHILIES OR DRIED FLAKES?
I’m using whole Dry Red Chilies for this recipe. But for the purposes of ease and if you’re able to find dried Sichuan red chili flakes, then of course go for this option! It’ll make the process much faster.
Just make sure it’s the Sichuan dried chili flakes, not your normal dried red pepper flakes usually found at a Western grocer.
WHERE CAN I BUY DRIED RED CHILIES?
Your Asian market should carry them. If you can’t find them, substitute with Sichuan red chili flakes or normal red chili flakes.
- 6 cups dried whole red chilies *If you're using dried red chili flakes, substitute for 1.5 cups
- 9 cloves garlic finely minced
- 7.5 cups avocado oil or neutral oil
- 0.75 tsp Sichuan pepper powder
- 9 tsp salt
- 12 slices ginger
- 3 small yellow onion quartered
- 12 star anise
- 6 bay leaves
- 3 cinnamon stick
- 15 cloves
Add the dried red chilis into a food processor and grind on HIGH speed until they become small flakes.
Transfer the chili flakes into a large heat-proof bowl (be careful not to inhale here!). To the same bowl, add minced garlic, Sichuan pepper and salt.
In a pot set over low-medium heat (250 F) add neutral tasting oil. Allow the oil to come to 250 F or place a wooden chopstick inside to check for bubbles to know if you oil is hot enough.
When the oil is hot, add in aromatics: ginger, onion, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves.
Allow this to simmer for at least 20 (or ideally 30) minutes for best fragrance. Stir occasionally.
After it’s simmered, remove the aromatics from the oil and discard them.
Carefully pour the hot oil into your red chili flakes and let it bubble. As it bubbles, stir the flakes with the oil to prevent the flakes from overcooking or burning.
Allow this to cool to touch. Transfer into a sterilized glass air-tight jar and enjoy! Note: Always use clean utensils when scooping chili oil from the jar to prevent contamination or mold growth.
To store: store your chili oil in an sterilized airtight glass jar in the fridge. It should last 5-6 months. Please read my blog post on how to sterilize glass jars and lids. Important to Read: Always use a clean spoon when scooping and to prevent contamination. If you see that the oil becomes murky over time, this is a sign of contamination and the oil should be discarded.