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Chilli Oil Recipe

Chilli oil is probably the simplest way to add a bit of flavour (not to mention heat) to virtually any dish. You can either use it to cook with in place of normal olive oil, or simply drizzle some over freshly prepared dishes. It will liven up any dish but it is particularly good on pizzas and pasta.


  • Olive oil
  • Dried red chillies
  • Malt Vinegar


1. Take a handful of dried red chillies – about 7 or 8 medium size chillies should do the job,  it all depends how hot you like it!. Add them to a pan of hot malt vinegar.

2. Simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

3. After 10 minutes remove the chillies from the pan and allow the vinegar to drain off by placing on some kitchen roll.

4. Add the chillies to a pan of olive oil and gently heat. Once boiling simmer for 5 minutes.

5. After 5 minutes turn off the heat and leave the pan and the chillies to cool.

6. Next add the oil and chillies into a steralised glass bottle, preferably one with a pouring spout.

Chilli oil is used extensively in both European and Asian cooking. For a more authentic Asian style oil olive oil probably isn’t the best choice. Simply replace the olive oil in the above recipe for peanut or good quality vegetable oil.

A word of caution

Simply dumping a load of fresh chillies into a bottle of oil is not a great idea as it can result in botulism which to cut a long story short is a nasty which can in some very rare cases be fatal!

Unfortunately simply boiling the oil won’t reduce the risk. The way round this is to reduce the PH level of the chillies before putting them in the oil. This is achieved in the above recipe by first boiling the chillis for ten minutes in vinegar. In order to further reduce the risk I always use dried chillies, not fresh and makes sure I sterilize the bottle fist by boiling it in water.

Preserving In General

Best Book On PreservesIf you’re interested in preserving in general we can highly recommend the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. Authored by the Queen of Preserves Pam Corbin this great book covers everything from jams, pickles, chutneys liqueurs, vinegars to sauces.

The general advice in the book is spot on and will  provide you with the core skills to start preserving your produce but it also contains over 70 great recipes to try straight away. At just under £10 on Amazon this book is a must for any kitchen.

50 comments… add one
  • Myrna October 29, 2019, 11:58 am

    Hi The Chilli King
    I have lots of Jelopena and scotch bonnet peppers can I mix them. I have never done this before so i will be following your instruction to the letter.

  • mee May 21, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Thanks for this recipe 🙂
    I’ve had good crops the last few years and while I can happily add Chilli Jam/Jelly to most meals it’ll be nice to try something different.

  • Richard March 27, 2014, 7:54 am

    Hi. I make chili garlic oil using corn oil, chili, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar and dried shrimp. I cook them in medium heat until the garlic is crispy and brown. Is there a chance that my chili garlic oil will grow botulism?

  • Ros December 5, 2013, 4:41 pm

    Hi there

    I also have a glut of green chillies so have been looking for a green chilli oil recipe – this sounds great. Mine are not dried tho – what’s the best/quickest way of drying them? (I want to use the oil as xmas prezzies)


    • The Chilli King December 8, 2013, 8:29 pm

      Ros – Try slicing them in half and putting in a very low oven for a couple of hours with the door ajar.

  • Mike June 1, 2012, 9:56 am

    looking forward to using this recipe for trinidad scorpions. 😀

  • P. Milo February 14, 2012, 2:25 pm

    Hi Chilli King
    Thanks for the reply. Think I will just bin it and remake the Chilli Oil minus the garlic. Better safe than sorry.
    Cheers …….P. Milo……..

    • David Song September 28, 2018, 3:56 pm

      Or just use dried garlic, or fry the garlic in the vinegar too. The botulism risk presumably comes from bacteria in fruit, chillies are fruit.

  • P. Milo February 12, 2012, 10:09 am

    Hi Chilli King
    Sorry to mither you but just wondering if you had any advice on the above email that I sent you.

    Regards……..P. Milo…….

  • P. Milo February 4, 2012, 12:57 am

    Oops sorry pressed the wrong button. I have been using the oil since I made it ( about 10 days ago ) and am still able to walk unaided so am presuming that all is well, but would value your opinion on this.

    Regards…….P. Milo

    P.S. the bread is still going down a treat….

  • P. Milo February 4, 2012, 12:49 am

    Hi Chilli King
    I was reading an article about the possibility of catching botulism if you put garlic into oil as I have done when making the chilli oil. I put the garlic through the same simmering process as the dried chillis and was wondering if this would make the garlic safe as it does with the chillis. Also does it need to be refridgerated or can I keep it on show as it does look very nice in its pouring bottle? I have been using it since I

    • The Chilli King February 12, 2012, 3:54 pm

      P.Milo – I’m not an expert on botulism but i always err on the side of caution. The problem with garlic is it is ‘wet’ as opposed to the dried chillies so in theory any bacteria (good or bad) would find it easier to grow. I store mine on the shelf, but only ever use dried chillies and/or herbs which have been simmered in vinegar. Also I tend to make this up in small batches so it’d not sitting around for several months therefore reducing the danger. Besides, we get through it so quickly in our house!

  • P. Milo January 29, 2012, 12:12 am

    Hi Chilli King
    Eventually got round to makiing my chilli oil. Added Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme to the Chillis and simmered them all together in a red wine vinegar then put the whole concoction in nice pouring bottles. Turned out very slightly cloudy, but still tastes excellent splashed over Pizzas or Pasta or over anything actually. Just got 3 different types of Garlic growing at the moment ( Music, Jolimont and forgot the name of the third ) so any ideas you or your readers have for Chilli Garlic recipes will be gratefully received.
    Regards…..P. Milo……

  • P. Milo December 11, 2011, 1:46 am

    Hi Chilli King
    Only me yet again. Just wondering, when making the chilli oil do I need to take the short stalks off or can I leave them on through the cooking process and when I eventually bottle it. Just to let you know that your no knead bread is going down a storm, only problem being I can’t keep up with demand. Keep up the good work.
    Regards……P. Milo……

    • The Chilli King December 12, 2011, 10:53 am

      P.Milo – I leave the stalks on as it looks much better in the bottle! Glad the bread is going down well….sounds like you need a bigger oven!

  • Trevor Johnson November 28, 2011, 9:12 am

    Hi Chilli King
    I have answered my own question – I boiled the dried chillies in white wine vinegar and them rinsed them thoroughly in boiling water to get rid of the surplus vinegar. I then dried them with kitchen roll before adding them to the warmed light olive oil. I also added one level teaspoonful of paprika (to about one and a half litres of oil) and strained the infusion through four thicknesses of muslin and then twice through coffee filter paper.
    The result is a crystal clear, golden liquid which is ideal for cooking or drizzling over pizzas, cold meat, salad etc.
    I am absolutely delighted and would like to thank you (and your website) for the inspiration to grow and enjoy chillies.
    Best wishes
    Trevor Johnson

  • Trevor Johnson November 28, 2011, 9:11 am

    Hi Chilli King
    I have answered my own question – I boiled the dried chillies in white wine vinegar and them rinsed them thoroughly in boiling water to get rid of the surplus vinegar. I then dried them with kitchen roll before adding them to the warmed light olive oil. I also added one level teaspoonful of paprika (to about one and a half litres of oil) and strained the infusion through four thicknesses of muslin and then twice through coffee filter paper.
    The result is a crystal clear, golden liquid which is ideal for cooking or drizzling over pizzas, cold meat, salad etc.
    I am absolutely delighted and would like to thank you (and your website) for the inspiration to grow and enjoy chillies.
    Bes twishes
    Trevor Johnson

  • Trevor Johnson November 23, 2011, 9:14 am

    Hi Chilli King
    I have been experimenting with the chilli oil recipe and have discovered that adding a few drops of malt vinegar to warmed light olive oil ( to replicate the effect of adding chillies boiled in vinegar) turns it slightly cloudy. Are there any alternatives to vinegar without running the risk of botulism? Would white wine vinegar have the same effect? As I want to give some oil as gifts at Christmas I want it to be as clear as possible – any thoughts please.
    Mant thanks
    Trevor Johnson

  • roger j October 10, 2011, 12:59 pm

    we live in Portugal and have a bumper crop of many diferent types of chillies, going to try this with the small piri piri ones and give it to our old Portuguese neighbour for his opinion, will let you know the result

  • Liz H August 21, 2011, 6:33 pm

    I have nearly finished my chilli oil. I’m using an empty wine bottle and bought some cheap bar pouring spouts from Amazon.

    Will the oil still keep fresh using just the spout or do I just use the spout to pour the oil and screw the lid on? My other half thinks I need the lid on, so you’d be settling a debate for us!

  • Toni Vines March 25, 2011, 4:13 pm

    I’ve just made a bottle using half a dozen scotch bonnets! Look out!!!!

    • Neil April 24, 2011, 11:38 pm

      How did it work out with the Scotch Bonnets as im thinking of using them in this recipe too.

  • jennifer January 31, 2011, 7:14 am

    is malt vinegar essential, or can balsalmic, red or white wine be used?

    • The Chilli King February 3, 2011, 8:57 am

      Jennifer – Any vinegar would do it.

  • Trish January 23, 2011, 12:35 am

    I have made the chilli oil and it is great.I used a lot of chillies as we are growing them.
    I drizzled it on grilled mushrooms and they were wonderful! Do I keep the oil in the fridge or in the cupboard?

    • The Chilli King January 28, 2011, 9:02 am

      Trish – Glad you like it. I just keep it in the cupboard as olive oil can go a bit cloudy if too cold.

  • Mary December 18, 2010, 12:08 am

    Thank you for your answer! I think, I’ll throw it away and follow the recipe. I’ll let you know!

  • Mary December 17, 2010, 3:32 pm

    Before I read your recipe which I intend to make, I had put some crushed dried chillies into a jar filled with olive oil, in order to use it as it is. Do you think that I can use this to make the recipe or it’s too late? I suppose without the vinegar part!
    Is it also bad to use it as it is?
    Thank you!

    • The Chilli King December 17, 2010, 6:08 pm

      Mary – It should be ok to use it. There is a small danger of nasties growing the longer you leave the oil to phester if you haven’t neutralized the ph.

  • Sophie December 11, 2010, 6:57 pm

    Hi – great recipe thanks. I’m LOVING my new spicy oil!

    But can I just top it up with more olive oil or do I need to heat it with the chillies first?

    • The Chilli King December 15, 2010, 1:31 pm

      Sophie – Adding more oil shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Steve December 8, 2010, 1:06 pm

    Hi Chilli King! I’ve just made the oil from the recipe above but it only has a slight hint of colour, any recommendations on how I get it redder in my next batch ( more chilis maybe? I used 8 dried chilis in 1 litre of olve oil), thanks!

    • The Chilli King December 15, 2010, 1:31 pm

      Steve – I’d say more chillies should do the job!

    • Jo February 24, 2011, 3:33 pm


      I plan to make a batch of Mexican Chilli Oil – I was advised to add .. Annatto Seeds to the warm oil (and straining these before adding to my bottle) – as along with adding a subtle flavour.. they will add the ‘reddy’ colour to my oil!

      I buy these from:

      http://www.lupepintos.com (They have two stores – one in Glasgow & one in Edinburgh – If you phone them they may post some to you?)

      Hope this helps,


  • MIa December 5, 2010, 6:50 pm

    If we want to add rosemary and thyme and garlic, do we have to simmer them with the chillies in malt vinegar? Cheers

    • The Chilli King December 15, 2010, 1:40 pm

      Mia – I’d say it is best to soak them with the vinegar too.

  • Elizabeth November 4, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I’ve just made this (it looks very pretty) but can I use it straight away or does it need to mature?

    • The Chilli King November 7, 2010, 4:15 pm

      Elizabeth -You can use it straight away – it never lasts that long in our house!

  • David November 4, 2010, 8:36 am

    Do you break open the chillis or put them in whole. I’ve grown Apache and dried them naturally – tied in a ristra. They seem to be very hot so would leaving them whole lessen the strength a bit?

    • The Chilli King November 7, 2010, 4:16 pm

      David – I usually leave the chillies whole. Mainly because they look better. As the oil infuses it’ll end up just as hot whether you slice them or leave them whole.

  • Richard October 31, 2010, 6:31 am

    Just had a go at making it. It’s cooling as I write. See: http://vegpatchblog.blogspot.com/



  • Tom October 3, 2010, 4:32 pm

    Making this as i type. Great stuff. What is the shelf life of it?

    • The Chilli King October 4, 2010, 4:52 pm

      Tom – It should last for 6 moths easily. It never lasts that long in our house though!

  • jessica September 28, 2010, 11:09 pm

    I have a bottle at home that has got herbs in it i think it is rosemary – can you recommend some nice herbs to go in there?

    • The Chilli King October 1, 2010, 2:30 pm

      jessica – thyme works very well, as does rosemerry.

  • Johann September 19, 2010, 9:17 am

    How much oil and vinegar did you use, and have you established the hotness from the amount of chillies you used?

    • The Chilli King September 20, 2010, 9:35 am

      Johann – The amount of oil i use is determined by the size of bottle I want to fill. The vinegar is just however much i need to boil the chillies in. I use a handful of dried chillies for each bottle.

  • Jacqui August 28, 2010, 2:53 pm

    1st year I’ve grown chilli peppers and we have an absolute surplus of hungarian hot wax variety and they are all green. I love chilli oil but your recipe says dried red chillis. Is there any reason why I can’t use the green ones?

    Many thanks


    • The Chilli King September 13, 2010, 6:40 pm

      Jacqui – No, i think most people just use red because they look prettier!

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