Chili Oil

The last time Rob and I ate at Scopa in Healdsburg, a bottle of chili oil was served alongside the wood-fired pizza. It was excellent. Chili oil adds a fantastic lip-tingling heat without the distracting flavor of condiments like Tabasco. The fun of being a food n00b is how exciting it is to discover something so simple. This recipe is basic, but since chili oil has become a go-to for me it's getting a dedicated post.


A couple of weeks ago I quickly threw the following ingredients together after Rob and I decided it was going to be a pizza night. Please let the record state that every night should be pizza night. The ratios were spur of the moment and I imagine over time I'll play with them, but the oil turned out to be tasty so here you go.


Heirloom Garlic from Milliken Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market


  • 3 árbol chiles, rough chop Note: Keep any stray seeds and put them in the pot.
  • 3 tsp crushed Aleppo pepper Note: The Aleppo pepper I've seen at the stores has the consistency of a rough powder or very small flakes. I use Penzeys which can be found here.
  • 4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves, skin removed
  • 1 cup olive oil


  • Combine everything together in a small non-reactive sauce pan.
  • Heat over medium-low, swirling the oil and chiles frequently.
  • When the oil gets to about 180-190 (about 3-5 minutes), take the pan off the heat.
  • Cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer the oil and peppers to a BPA-free glass storage container and refrigerate overnight. Note: I don't immediately put the oil in a bottle since the pepper flakes are a pain to clean out.
  • After two days, strain the oil through cheese cloth, then transfer to an bottle and store in the refrigerator. UPDATE: I've stopped straining my oil and now just leave it in an airtight container with the peppers and garlic. I go through so much chili oil that cleaning the bottle isn't worth the effort unless we're having guests over.


Chili oil should be stored in the refrigerator. In terms of longevity, I'm not sure how long it lasts since we always polish ours off pretty quickly. That's helpful, yes? I've read online that the peppers can get moldy but even after several days I haven't seen any issues. Another consideration is that oil concoctions can start to lose their punch.

Serving Suggestions

You can substitute chili oil for plain olive oil in practically any recipe where you want some heat. I put the stuff on everything.

  • Pizza!
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Pesto
  • Pasta - Even something as simple as chili oil, green garlic, fresh pepper, and parmesan is delicious.
  • Panini Spreads
  • Dipping Oil for Bread
  • Eggs - Sounds weird, but it's good.
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