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5 from 3 votes

Chinese Chili Oil

Chinese Chili Oil has a vibrant red color, an intoxicating heat nuanced by subtle spices. You'll want to drizzle this over everything.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Steep Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: condiments
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Kevin



  • 10 whole cloves
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 black or green cardamon pods See Note 1)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 2-inch pieces orange peel (use a vegetable peeler)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger root (See Note 2)
  • 3 cups vegetable oil

Pour Over

  • 1 cup Sichuan chili flakes or Asian red pepper flakes (See Note 3)
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds toasted
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black vinegar or rice vinegar


  • To a large saucepan add the first 12 ingredients. Bring to a simmer (225°F - 250°F). Turn heat off and steep for 1 hour (See Note 4), uncovered.
  • Turn heat up to medium-high to reach 375°F.
  • While oil is heating up: to a large heat proof bowl add the Sichuan chili flakes, toasted white sesame seeds and salt, stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Carefully strain the HOT oil over the chili flakes and sesame seeds (discard the steeped spice mixture). This will bubble up so be careful.
  • Cool to room temperature and stir in the black vinegar. Carefully pour into clean jars and seal. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months and if used often, keep at room temperature in pantry for up to 2 months.



  1. The main difference between black and green cardamom is the way they are processed. For green cardamom, the pods are harvested before maturity. Black cardamom are harvested much later and are also dried over large fires. Easily interchangeable, with the black having a more intense flavor.
  2. You can substitute 1 tablespoon dried ground ginger or dried sand ginger, also known as ground galangal for fresh ginger.
  3. Sichuan chili flakes are made by frying whole chilies in vegetable oil until crisp before grinding into flakes, seeds, or powder. The frying enhances the flavor, color and texture, creating a toasty flavor and characteristic vivid red color without dyes or additives. (source: The Mala Market) You could substitute regular red chile flakes, but if you're looking for that rich, deep red color, you will need to add 2 teaspoons of paprika to the chili flakes before pouring the oil over them.
  4. If garlic browns too quickly, remove so it doesn't burn and discard. Try to keep oil temperature around 225°F.


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1301mg | Potassium: 1782mg | Fiber: 33g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 23424IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 404mg | Iron: 17mg