“Chinese” hot oil Recipe

We’ve been making this hot oil as a condiment for a few months now.  We use it on everything!  Whether you use the base recipe that Mike Chen posted a while back (viewable here), or our recipe, let us know!

I don’t really measure anything out, because I want to have a different experience each time, but I’ll give you a core recipe that you can then play with.  If you think there is too much cinnamon, or too little spice, feel free to adjust the spices up or down, my only recommendation is to not touch the amount of oil other than to say half or double the recipe, it is MUCH easier to experiment if you keep the amount of oil the same.

Starting Ingredients In the Pot

  • 2 cups of a flavorful oil like peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 2 TBSP Szechuan peppercorn
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-6 star anise
  • 1 TBSP black peppercorns (whole)
  • 2-3 bay leaves

In the Bowl ingredients

After it cools ingredients

  • 1 dash of sesame oil


Put all of the Pot ingredients into the pan, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.  Make very certain not to overcook the ingredients, you want a slow simmer, its VERY easy to burn the ingredients at this stage.

While the Pot is simmering, prepare a heat-resistant bowl like a giant mug or stoneware bowl.  Put the crushed red pepper and peanuts into the bowl, place a strainer on top of the bowl.

Turn the heat off of your pot and give your pot 5 or so minutes to cool.  Pour the slightly cooled oil into the STRAINER over your bowl, proceed to squeeze out any excess oil through the filter.

At this point, stir the crushed red pepper and peanuts, it should be frothing a bit and the oil should quickly be turning a reddish color.  Wait until the oil is only slightly warmer than room temperature, for me that took about 12 minutes.

Swirl in a dash of sesame oil (optionally, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, its a strong flavor I don’t always like).

Done!  We keep ours on the counter, so its always ready to provide maximum flavor, and ours lasts 2-4 weeks.  If you don’t expect to go through it as often, feel free to put it in your fridge, though personally I would just cut the amount in half or share it with a friend.

Pour the oil onto any salty/savory item and maybe even some sweet ones as well!  Share with us what you like to put this hot oil on!

Richard Mathis


Richard Mathis

Richard Mathis is a software architect and CTO of CHSI Technologies. When he isn't imagining new ways to help insurance companies run their business, he's writing, gaming, or performing. You can follow his meanderings on twitter.

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