Chile oil, a versatile flavoring ingredient that can be used in both hot and cold dishes, is made by infusing dried red chiles in vegetable oil. It is a great way to kick up the spicy heat level in a dish. Although available commercially, a homemade version will be hotter and has a far superior flavor. This Sichuan version of the chile oil from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking is a must for your pantry.

Sichuan Spiced Chile Oil (四川辣油)

Cuisine: Sichuan
Print Recipe


  • ½ cup Sichuan peppercorns
  • 4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 fresh ginger about 1-inch long
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 tablespoons cloves
  • 1 cassia bark about 1-inch square
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 2 cup dried red chiles
  • ¼ cup Chinese red chile flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese red chile powder


  • Soak the Sichuan peppercorns in the oil for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil and peppercorns over low heat to about 250°F (120°C). Add the ginger, scallions, cloves, cassia bark, star anise, black cardamom, and dried whole red chiles. Simmer in the oil for about 20 minutes.
  • Put the red chili flakes and powder in a heat-proof 3-quart bowl. Strain the oil through a wire-mesh strainer into the bowl. Discard the strained spices. Let the oil steep overnight before using.
  • Both the oil and the chili flakes can be used in recipes. Store in a covered glass jar for up to a year.