Recently, when we were on vacation, we ate at a pizza place that served our pizza by the yard with homemade chili oil and fresh basil pesto. We ate there several times and I couldn’t get enough of it. I knew I had to make some at home.
The cost of chili oil varies greatly with some gourmet bottles costing $20-$30 for an 8-ounce bottle and smaller bottles costing under $10. I made an 8-ounce bottle of chili oil myself for UNDER $1.
All you really need are oil(s) and chili peppers or crushed red pepper. I used the crushed red pepper in my oil and just used the whole dried chili peppers for looks inside the bottle. Since I plan to use my chili oil mostly on pizza and Italian dishes, I used canola oil and olive oil. If you plan to use yours on Asian dishes, you may want to use canola oil and sesame seed oil instead. Or you could use only canola oil.
Chili Oil Recipe
- 1 C Oil*
- 1/3 Crushed Red Pepper
- Dried chili peppers, whole (for garnish, optional)
Combine oil(s) and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan over low heat.
Cook over low heat to 130-150 degrees (make sure you have a thermometer handy, do not overcook). Cook at this temperature for 10 minutes.
Allow to cool and pour in to bottles or jars. Drop one or two whole, dried chili peppers into bottles (if desired).
* If you want to use this for Asian food, your oil mixture should be 3/4 C canola oil and 1/3 C sesame seed oil. If you want to use this for Italian food, your oil mixture should be 3/4 C canola oil and 1/4 olive oil. It is perfectly alright to make it with just canola oil, which will make it a versatile chili oil.
I made a double batch in order to give a bottle to a friend, which worked out perfectly because the bottle of crushed red pepper had 2/3 C in it.
If you plan to crush your own red pepper, you can put your dried hot peppers in a Ziploc bag (be sure to get all the air out) and roll over it with a rolling pin. The advantage to making your own crushed red pepper is you can pick out exactly what kind of peppers you want to use so that you get the level of heat you desire. I found the best selection of whole dried peppers can be found at Mexican grocery stores or in the Mexican food aisle at the grocery store (our Wal-Mart seems to have a decent selection).
Now, I need to make some fresh basil pesto to go with our pizzas. I plan to grow my own basil and have started some seeds already.