How To Make Chili Oil

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Chili oil is versatile in that you can make it with any kind of dried chilies and you can control the level of heat by the amount of oil and chilies you use. My mother gave me some dried chili de arbol’s back in January and I had no idea what to do with them. Since they’re dried, they will last a good while, giving me almost four months to figure out what to do with them. I’m not sure why it took me so long to land on chili oil, because after I made it I realized how easy the process was.

Chilies De Arbol about to be made into chili oil

What can you do with chili oil?

  • Dip egg rolls in it
  • Drizzle some into your meat marinade
  • Spice up your lame turkey sandwich that you took for lunch
  • Add to stir-fry sauce
  • Cook some spaghetti and drizzle it on top along with¬†parmesan¬†cheese
  • Mix with honey and dip parmesan cheese into it
  • Drizzle onto your hummus to spice it up a notch
  • Add some to your hamburger meat as you patty it up for burgers

I could probably come up with more ideas, but I think that gives you a few options to start with.

To vary the heat, use more chilies or less oil. For instance, use 12 chilies and 1/2 cup of olive oil, or 24 chilies and 1 cup of olive oil. The oil will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month, so make as much or as little as you want.

How To Make Chili Oil

How To Make Chili Oil


  • 12 dried chilies – I used chili de arbol’s
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the smashed garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and starts to brown. Remove the garlic (AND EAT IT, or something, because garlic is good for you). Let the oil cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your chilies – grab a pair of gloves and put them on, silly, because you’re eye is going to itch and you’ll want to touch your eye with your chili hands and then you’ll go to the ER. DON’T DO THAT. Instead, wear gloves, and remember not to touch your itchy eye.

Remove the heads of the chilies and empty out the seeds. You can leave some of the seeds in if you want a hotter oil.

Chop the chilies into small pieces, or use a food processor or blender to chop them up. Grab a small container that you plan on keeping your oil in. I used a glass half-pint Ball jar. Add the chopped chilies to the jar.

Using a funnel, pour the oil onto the chilies. Top with a lid and let stand for 20 minutes so that the chilies can thoroughly infuse the oil.

Strain the chilies out of the oil, and discard them or save for another use, like rubbing onto a good steak for grilling or on top of some pasta (see uses above, the chilies work for those, too).

Set aside for use or put your new chili oil into the fridge for later. Enjoy!

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  • Hans

    The seeds are not hot at all. A common misunderstanding. Try it.