Instantly spice up your favorite dishes with this FOOLPROOF garlic infused Sichuan chili oil. This red hot condiment is super simple to put together and creates a big BOLD flavor - you'll find yourself putting on everything! Trust me, this is the last chili oil recipe you'll ever need.
The Perfect (Untraditional) Chili Oil
This simple recipe is mind-blowingly good! It's exploding this spicy garlicky goodness, but I do have to preface: This is not your traditional chili oil.
Traditionalists typically steep aromatics in oil and use this as the primary way to infuse flavor. It's sometimes drained before pouring the hot oil onto chilies / chili flakes. It's pure, simple, and while this method is certainly delicious, I usually crave more morsels of umami in mine.
With that said, this recipe is closer to a Chiu Chow oil.
It packs tons of umami flavors from untraditional ingredients, such as soy sauce, and it goes well on EVERYTHING! It's cooked at a low temperature to maximize flavor while making it super beginner-friendly to make because you're not dealing with high heat that could burn the ingredients.
Spice up your breakfast eggs or avocado toast with a little drizzle to add a kick to your morning. Make the most epic Crispy Chicken Gyozas, Chicken Wontons, or Hand-Pulled Noodles, then finish them off with some homemade Sichuan chili oil to bring the heat!
It's the must-have condiment to instantly add a burst of garlicky, smokey, & spicy goodness to any dish.
Best Type of Oil
Neutral oils are your best friends for this recipe, such as grape seed (my favorite!), canola, peanut, or vegetable oil. They don't have strong flavors that would change or alter the flavor of the red chili oil. Avoid strong-tasting oils such as avocado or olive oil.
Types of Chili Flakes
You'll need Sichuan chili flakes for this recipe. You can get it in various levels of coarseness, but my favorite is using a course version instead of a fine powder. It has bits of seeds that bring the heat!
Alternatively, gochugaru is a great alternative if you want mild chili oil.
I'd avoid using Italian crushed pepper flakes because it's spicier and much easier to turn dark or burn. That's because they're typically pre-cooked/fried so you risk making your sauce bitter with overcooked chili flakes.
- Heat ½ cup of neutral oil & shallots in a medium pan on medium heat. Cook until they're lightly golden, then reduce heat to low & add garlic to infuse for 20 minutes.
- Add Thai chilies & salt to a mortar & pestle, then grind them into a chili paste.
- In a bowl, combine the spices - the toasted ground Sichuan peppers, Sichuan chili flakes, sugar, & 5 spice. Set aside.
- Add soy sauce to the garlic infused oil, then the salted Thai chilies. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes, keeping an eye out so it doesn't burn.
- Increase the heat to medium, add in the spices, & remaining oil. Stir & cook for another 10 seconds, then turn off the heat and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Store in a sterile airtight container for long shelf life.
- Maximizing Flavor from the Aromatics: Cooking the oil low and slow allows it to absorb as much flavor as possible from the auromatics. It also giving you much more room for forgiveness since you're not dealing with hot oil that could quickly turn your ingredients. With that said, don't be tempted to turn up the heat too high to speed up the process. You may risk burning the ingredients and needing to start from scratch. Epic sadness.
- Pro-Tip to Avoid Burnt Chili Flakes: Your oil should be warm enough heat the chili flakes so it releases its natural oils. You don't want the oil to be too hot though, otherwise, you'll burn the chili flakes and make the garlic chili oil turn bitter. You can test if the oil is warm enough by sprinkling in a few chili flakes. If it immediately sizzles and turns into a dark color, the oil is too hot. Reduce the heat, wait a couple of minutes, then retest. The chili flakes should retain its red color.
- Warning Signs of Overheating: Color and smell are your key indicators for overheating. The shallots should be lightly golden before adding garlic. Keep in mind they'll continute to deepen in color while cooking the rest of the ingredients and you don't want it burnt by the end. The garlic should remain a pale color while you infuse the warm oil with its flavor. If the edges begin to turn golden, turn down the heat because you don't want it to turn bitter while you finish cooking.
- Create Deep Smokey Flavor with ONE Ingredient: Steeping soy sauce in the warm garlic oil is a complete game changer! By allowing it to steep for a few minutes, you easily create robost smokey umami flavor - do not skip this step!
- Don't Be Afraid to Adjust & Experiment: This is the BEST part about making it at home! Adjust the flavors to how you like it - more garlicky, less spicy, etc.
Storage for Long Shelf Life
I HIGHLY recommend using sterile glass containers to store your garlic infused chili oil so bacteria doesn't spoil it quickly. My favorite storage containers are mason jars because they're inexpensive yet durable, easy to sanitize, and reusable as cups or containers for other food or sauces!
Store any leftover oil in a sterilized airtight container and enjoy for up to 3 months.
Ideally, you want to use a neutral oil so its flavor doesn't overpower or alter the flavor of the red chili oil. For example, grape seed oil is a great option, but you can also use canola or vegetable oil. You'll want to avoid oils such as olive or avocado oil because of their strong flavor.
It's is extremely versatile! You can use it as a hot sauce to add heat to a dish or add more garlicky umami flavor.
Some popular ways to enjoy it is pouring it over wontons or dumpling, soups, or noodles. Don't stop yourself there though! It's amazing over eggs, avocado toast, or spring rolls.
Also known as Red Oil in China, is made of a neutral oil infused with red chili flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, and aromatics to create a spicy flavorful condiment.
The best part about making it at home is that you can adjust the spice level and flavors to your tastebuds!
Put Your Chili Oil to Use with These Easy Recipes!
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Recipe: How to Make EASY Red Sichuan Chili Oil (Garlic Infused!)
- Heat a medium size pan on medium low heat and add ½ cup oil. Add in shallots and cook until they're lightly golden along the edges. They will continue to become golden as it cooks, but we don’t want them to burn later in the process.
- Reduce heat to lowest setting and wait until there are no oil bubbles forming before adding in garlic. Allow garlic to slowly infuse in the oil, about 20 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure garlic doesn’t turn brown or turn crispy. They should turn very soft and still pale.
- Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, add Thai chilies and salt. Grind until chilies break down, but just before becoming a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can salt Thai chilies on a cutting board and run your knife through the salted chilies multiple times until it's very finely minced. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine Szechuan peppers, chili flakes, sugar, and 5 spice. Set aside.
- In the pan, add soy sauce and mix well with the garlic and shallots. Add in the salted Thai chilies and cook for another 10 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn.
- Bring heat to medium, then add spices and remaining ¾ cup oil. Stir fry for another 10 seconds or so, watching carefully that the chili flakes aren’t turning too dark. Turn off heat, let chili oil cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to a sanitized airtight container and enjoy up to 3 months!
- Sichuan Chili Flakes: You can get them in a variety of coarseness, however, my favorite is coarse instead of a fine powder because it included the seeds for more heat. Alternatively, you can use gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), however, keep in mind it'll be much milder in flavor in heat. Avoid using Italian crushed red pepper flakes because they're much easier to turn dark, burn, and/or make your chili oil bitter.
- Serving Size: This recipe yields about 1 ½ cups of chili oil and you can multiply the recipe using the slider above. The nutrition facts account for 1 tablespoon of chili oil per serving.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and provided for informational purposes. Nutrition may vary based on product availability, methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.