Homemade chili oil

Z &Y, a San Francisco Sichuan restaurant, just posted their chili oil recipe. I like their idea of putting bay leaves, black cardommom (Amomum Tsaoko), and star anise in the oil as it heats up to 400F; and then straining them out before adding the oil to the chilis. I’m going start adding that step to Fuchsia Dunlop’s much more home-cook friendly chili oil recipe—- I’ve been manually fishing out my black cardamom a few days after I make chili oil and it’s always a pain in the butt.

Do you make chili oil and, if so, what seasonings, and proportion, do your add?


I make chili oil, but it’s literally just chilis and oil. With this as inspiration, maybe I’ll add some other things to my next batch.


I make Laoganma sometimes. Have used dried shrimp, dried mushrooms, dried shallots etc at different times. I don’t add any garlic to the oil due to safety concerns. Only do that when I’m ready to eat. I use good olive oil and pulse Sichuan heaven-facing chillies in the food processor.

Fry some annatto seeds in oil to obtain this gorgeous colour.


I usually have two chili oils on hand–a plain one for cooking and this one with ginger, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, cloves, coriander, and cumin for cold dishes: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013219-sichuan-celery-and-tofu-salad

1 Like

I make Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe but with more sesame seeds. I am intrigued at the idea of additions.

1 Like

I’ve made this one a few times, was very happy with it.

long peppers, dried bird’s eye chilies (I used arbol which the recipe says are good substitute) Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, oil

She has a few recipes on her site for different chili oils, sauces, etc - I’ve made a lot from the site but not a lot of the chili oils/sauces - the recipes turn out well.


Yeah, I was surprised to see garlic in Z&Ys recipe without an acidic component aside (ginger maybe), but they do grate it.

How high do you heat the olive oil?

Does the numbing or Sichuan peppercorns aroma stick around longer?

This is great! And I also liked the linked article about Nam Phrik which had a link to Dill Magazine .

Are olive oil and sesame oil common in chili oil? Why not vegetable oil? Can you tell?

I made chili oil with bay leaf, sesame seeds and a bunch of spices/aromatics and have to admit - I don’t really love using it, although I feel it’s legit: https://thewoksoflife.com/how-to-make-chili-oil/

It tastes really strongly of bay leaf and doesn’t have that nice umami flavor that you get from most chili oils. I was pretty careful with the oil temperature, so I’m not sure what factors play role.

The best chili oil sauce I’ve ever had was made by friends of mine; the wife in the couple hails from Sichuan province (I want to say Chengdu), and he’s Taiwanese American. Their recipe is quite simple:

She stressed that the choice of chili flake and the control of the oil temperature are key. I was surprised that she actually uses Kirkland chili flakes and heats the oil to about 355F, then pours it over the peppers (and sometimes Sichuan peppercorn).

Cool to room temperature, mix in soy sauce, sugar and raw minced garlic. Be careful with the sugar as it will become stronger as it dissolves. The ratio of soy sauce, sugar, and garlic is to taste.

I was gifted a jar of this sauce and it is pretty darn amazing. Makes everything taste better. Much better than my own attempt at chili oil, and less complicated. I’m going to try this with some facing heaven chilis I have.


This discussion set off a craving that could not be denied. It turned out fantastic!


Beautiful! So no annatto/achiote seeds? This reminds me of the chili crisp thread, but your color is WAY better!

Nope, not in these recipes :slight_smile: Is that a typical ingredient in Chinese chili oil?

1 Like

Not that I’m aware of, but Presunto mentioned it above. Here is a picture of chili crisp I made (on the right) and I really didn’t like the color.

1 Like

Neither the fragrance nor numbing were terribly prominent, though I don’t think I’ve ever made it with super fresh Sichuan peppercorns.

I am putting this stuff on everything! Avocado toast, quesadillas…soon, eggs


As a reference, for that much oil I used around 3 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, and two finely grated cloves of garlic. I started with maybe 1 c. whole dried chilies and a scant tbsp. of Penzey’s Sichuan peppercorns, which are quite pungent.


Hyperbowler, I keep the heat the lowest possible.

Boohoo… the very last of my Chilean smoked peppers. Chile is not on my travel list in the next couple of years. Hopefully 3 years from now.

They are still so intense after all these years. I had to stand back a couple of times. Had to sneeze, too. I snipped the peppers and only added good olive oil. Not eating it any time soon, they need some time to steep. Nothing else besides oil. I want to taste the pure flavour of aji de cabra.

One of the wonderful chilli stalls at the market in Patagonia.

My chilli haul from this market walkabout. Next time I will only buy the whole smoked goat’s horn. My rucksack weighed 5kg/11lbs on the way to Chile. On the way back it was 2kg/4.5lbs heavier. The extra weight was all chillies.


I find the Sichuan peppercorns in stir-fries to have a potent but transient effect–maybe five minutes or a bit more–so, not like with really hot chiles.

1 Like