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How to Make Chili Oil

If you love spicy Chinese food, you’ve probably wondered how to make chili oil—that fiery condiment that’s ubiquitous in Sichuan restaurants. This spicy hot oil is drizzled over dishes at the table and also used as an ingredient in many dishes.

how to make chili oil with dried chilies, oil, garlic, and star anise

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Sichuan or Szechuan cuisine is one of 8 distinctive Chinese cooking styles and it is distinguished by its liberal use of hot chili peppers and the famously mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns.

Sichuan chili oil often combines both of these ingredients into one mouth-burning/mouth-numbing oil. Other ingredients including garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves or fermented beans are often added to give the oil even more flavor.

You can buy chili oil—either clear or stocked with chili flakes and other ingredients—in any Asian supermarket (or probably any supermarket these days), but once you learn how to try making this chili oil recipe yourself, you’ll see how fun it is to add your own flavor flourishes.

sichuan chili oil in a jar being lifed out with a spoon

What is Chili Oil Made Of?

Szechuan style chili oil is made using a high-smoke-point oil like peanut, soy, or canola oil, dried chilies, and other seasonings. My version is made with:

Learn How to Make Chili Oil

With my easy instructions, you’ll quickly learn how to make chili oil at home and customize the flavor to your own preferences. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Combine aromatic spices like star anise and cinnamon, plus garlic and shallots, with oil and bring it to a hearty simmer.
  2. Simmer for a good 45 to 50 minutes.
  3. Strain the infused oil into a jar or bowl containing crushed red chili pepper flakes, ginger, sugar, and soy sauce and let stand until cooled to room temperature.
hot chili oil in a jar with the other ingredients that are used in this guide to how to make chili oil

How to Use Your Homemade Chili Oil

Once you learn how to make chili oil, you’ll want to use this delicious condiment in your cooking. You can use it in Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles or Szechuan Shrimp, or use it in a dipping sauce for dumplings.

How Long Does Homemade Chili Oil Last?

Keep it in the refrigerator and it will last essentially forever. You can certainly keep it for 6 to 9 months, but I’d guess it would be good for well over a year.

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Sichuan Chili Oil

Sichuan Chili Oil

Chinese hot chili oil is a fiery condiment is used in Sichuan cuisine as both a cooking ingredient and a condiment. It is easy to make using oil, dried red chili flakes, and other aromatics.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups cooking oil (I use safflower oil)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 star anise pods
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the shallots, garlic, oil, cinnamon, and star anise and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low and cook at a hearty simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shallots and garlic are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. 
  2. In a heat-safe bowl or a pint-sized mason jar, combine the ginger, red pepper, soy sauce, and sugar. 
  3. Set a fine-meshed strainer over the bowl or jar containing the ginger and red pepper mixture and pour the hot oil through the strainer. Discard the solids (the shallots and garlic can be saved and used for another purpose, such as adding to a stir fry, if desired).
  4. Let the oil mixture cool to room temperature and then store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


1. You can use the chili oil right away, but its flavor improves over time.

2. Chili oil will keep indefinitely if kept in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 34Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 19mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.


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By on August 29th, 2019

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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