Our quick chili oil recipe is inspired by the Italian “olio al pepperoncino”. This is a classic condiment around the Mediterranean and is often added to pizza and grilled dishes.

It’s a quick and simple recipe that allows you to make spicy chili oil from scratch in just over 10 minutes. P.s. This recipe is not Chinese chili oil.

chili oil in a bowl

Check out our best sauce recipes.

Chili oil is a condiment made with some type of vegetable oil (most often olive oil, soy bean oil, or sesame oil) infused with some sort of spicy chili peppers.

There are many types of chili oils around the world, especially in China, Japan, Korea, Italy, Portugal, and Turkey.

Our recipe is inspired by Italian Chili Oil that is often found in pizzerias and restaurants around the country to add on to pizza, grilled vegetables, and other vegetable side dishes.

You can drizzle this on anything really, and use it as if it were olive oil, but spicy.

This recipe is a very quick one and initially we weren’t even sure whether to post it or not. But since we love adding this chili oil to some of our recipes, we decided to share it.

Ingredients

ingredients for chili oil

Olive oil: you can use extra virgin olive oil or regular olive oil for this recipe.

Red pepper flakes: add heat to the oil. You can replace them with red hot chili peppers, fresh or dry.

Paprika: mostly used to color the oil red.

chili oil on oven-roasted carrots

Instructions

To a skillet, add the olive oil and the red pepper flakes.

red pepper flakes and olive oil in a skillet

Set the heat to low and let fry very gently for 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally moving the pan around.

Make sure the red pepper flakes don’t burn. If they start burning take the pan immediately off the heat.

After about 3 minutes, turn the heat off and add the paprika. Move the pan around to dissipate heat and distribute the paprika.

paprika added to the chili oil

Let sit off the heat for about 10 minutes before using the chili oil.

spoonful of chili oil

Tip

The only recommendation I have for this recipe is that you really need to make sure the red pepper flakes and the paprika don’t burn, or else your chili oil will taste bitter.

Also, if you are using a pan with a thick bottom, wait about 30 seconds from the moment you turn the heat off before adding the paprika. The thick bottom keeps the temperature of the oil high even if you turn the heat off, and that could burn the paprika if you add it straight away.

Variations

Garlic Chili Oil

Garlic and chili together are the best. To make garlic chili oil, peel the garlic, then slice it thinly. Add the garlic to the oil just 30 seconds before turning the heat off.

  1. Add oil and red pepper flakes to the pan.
  2. Fry gently on low heat for 2.5 minutes.
  3. Add thinly sliced garlic.
  4. Fry gently on low heat for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn heat off and add paprika.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Rosemary Chili Oil

The same goes for rosemary. It’s awesome with red pepper flakes. And also with garlic. So you could add both to the oil.

  1. Add oil, red pepper flakes, and a sprig of rosemary to the pan.
  2. Fry gently on low heat for 2.5 minutes.
  3. Add thinly sliced garlic.
  4. Fry gently on low heat for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn heat off and add paprika.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serving suggestions

You can drizzle chili oil on pretty much anything you’d like to add some heat to. And you can combine it with other dressings and sauces too. See the chapter after this one for more dressing ideas.

grilled vegetables and tofu

We tried it on a platter of grilled then mashed carrots, served with cannellini beans that we tossed in our Italian salsa verde, then drizzled with tahini sauce and chili oil, and it was scrumptious!

mashed grilled carrots and cannellini beans
  • Add to plant-based protein: chili oil pairs well with tofu. Try it on marinated grilled tofu or vegan fish, it’s incredible with a little chili oil drizzled on top.
  • Infuse in soups: drizzle a teaspoon of chili oil on top of a tofu soup or miso soup, it adds zest and pop to many Asian dishes
  • On bread and pizza: give your flatbread pizza a brush of chili oil before serving, or dip focaccia in the oil, it’s a winning combination!

Chili oil is incredibly versatile and enhances the flavor in veggies, tofu recipes, and Italian dishes too.

More dressings and sauces

If you’re looking for more vegan condiment ideas, take your pick at these recipes:

What is your favorite dressing when you’re looking for an easy recipe? Let us know in the comments below, we’re curious!

Storage

Store chili oil in a small bottle, jar, or bowl for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. We do not recommend freezing it.

For more condiment ideas, check out our dressing and sauces category page.

chili oil

Chili Oil

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 1 vote
Our quick chili oil recipe is inspired by the Italian "olio al pepperoncino". This is a classic condiment around the Mediterranean and is often added to pizza and grilled dishes.
It's a quick and simple recipe that allows you to make spicy chili oil from scratch in just over 10 minutes. P.s. This recipe is not Chinese chili oil.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 17 teaspoons
Course: Dressing & Sauces
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more for spicier oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Instructions 

  • To a skillet, add the olive oil and the red pepper flakes.
    red pepper flakes and olive oil in a skillet
  • Set the heat to low and let fry very gently for 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally moving the pan around. Make sure the red pepper flakes don't burn. If they start burning take the pan immediately off the heat.
    After about 3 minutes, turn the heat off and add the paprika. Move the pan around to dissipate heat and distribute the paprika.
    paprika added to the chili oil
  • Let cool down off the heat for about 10 minutes before using the chili oil.
    spoonful of chili oil
  • Drizzle on anything you like, from pasta to pizza, veggies, tofu, and much more.
    grilled vegetables and tofu

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 teaspoon of chili oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 32kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 4mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 64IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 1mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 2µg, Calcium: 1mg, Folate: 1µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 1mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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