If you’ve tried chili oil, you probably already use it on everything; if you’ve never tasted it, prepare to get hooked. This easy chili oil recipe can be made with common pantry staples (or at least easy-to-obtain ingredients) like smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, vegetable oil, ginger, and garlic (copious amounts of it, in fact).

There is a lot of chopping involved, but you’re richly rewarded for your efforts, with a fragrant, spicy oil that’s full of crunchy, crispy bits of shallot and garlic—and tastes amazing on everything from fried eggs and pizza to vanilla ice cream (seriously, try it)!

You can also see a video demo of the process here. And for an equally delicious sauce with a totally different flavor, check out Guillermo’s chimichurri recipe too.

Special Equipment: Along with a good sharp knife, a cutting board, and a medium saucepan, you’ll need a heat-proof bowl, a fine-mesh strainer, and some sort of jar to store your chili oil.

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Ingredients (11)

  • 4-5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise pods (or 2 teaspoons ground anise seed)
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika


  1. Bring shallots, garlic, oil, cinnamon, and anise to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, reducing heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer, until garlic and shallots are browned and crisp (about 25 minutes—if you need more time be patient; you want to drive all the moisture out before they brown or potentially burn).
  3. Mix ginger, red pepper, soy sauce, and sugar in a medium, heat-proof bowl.
  4. Strain garlic mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over the bowl with the ginger/pepper mixture.
  5. Let the garlic and shallot cool completely in the strainer (this will allow extra crispiness) before stirring back into your chili oil.
  6. Once oil is cooled to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.
  7. Use literally on everything!