Red Chile Infused Oil



If you have never made an infused oil, I truly believe that this recipe will change that. This Red Chile Infused Oil only takes about 15 minutes to make and captures all of the flavors of a red chile sauce. You can use it for fried eggs, sauteed vegetables or as the oil in a salad dressing. See the Kitchen Notes for more suggestions.  It is so good and there are so many uses for it that I guarantee it will become another staple in your pantry.

Canola oil infused with New Mexico red chile and herbs and spices



Red Chile infused oil with herbs and spices


Kitchen Notes

The Red Chile Pepper – I use a New Mexico dried red chile pepper (shown in the first picture). The ones I have are HOT; therefore, this is a very spicy chile oil. However, you can use just about any DRIED chile pepper.  Other peppers that would work are Ancho, chipotle, pasilla, mulato and even pequin, just to name a few.  Each type will impart a unique flavor and heat level, so pick your favorite and go for it!  Do NOT use chile powder.  It burns very quickly, like in seconds!  You could use chile flakes, but I wouldn’t heat them longer than 5 minutes and on as low of a heat as possible.  If you use the flakes, then after heating, let it sit overnight before straining.

Cumin and coriander – If you have checked out the ingredients in my other New Mexico dishes, you know that I commonly add ground cumin and coriander.  For this recipe use whole seeds. Ground seeds or powder would burn.

Mexican oregano – Mexican oregano is not the same as Mediterranean or Greek oregano which is a member of the mint family.  In fact, Mexican oregano isn’t even oregano.  It’s actually a relative of lemon verbena.  It is mostly grown in Central and South America, while Mediterranean (Greek, Italian) oregano is commonly grown in EuropMexican Oregano, a relative of lemon verbenae and northern Africa.   Mexican oregano has the basic pungent flavor of Mediterranean oregano, but it also has notes of citrus and mild licorice.  It pairs well with spicy southwestern and Mexican cuisine, but not so well in a spaghetti sauce.  When I buy it, it comes in whole leaf rather than powder; therefore, I’m able to use it in this oil.  If all you have is a powdered oregano or Mediterranean oregano, just leave it out.

Safety notes - Unrefrigerated garlic in oil can promote the growth of C. botulinum bacteria without affecting the smell or taste of the oil or the garlic. C botulinum causes botulism, a serious form of food poisoning; therefore, do not be tempted to leave the garlic in this oil or any other infused oil that you make. To see more about the safety of infusing oil with garlic, read my post on Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil.

Suggested Uses for Red Chile Oil: 

  • For fried eggs and scrambled eggs
  • Croutons – toss squares of bread or cornbread with a drizzle of oil and roast under broiler
  • Saute oil for vegetables
  • Browning oil for meats
  • Oil for Fennel Infused Onions
  • Drizzle on top of soups for a touch of spicy
  • Drizzle over salads
  • Drizzle over toast or breads
  • Use as the oil in yeast breads
  • Use as the oil in a salad dressing
  • Gift it to a friend
  • and many, many more
  • Smoked Goat Cheese (submitted by Debra of Eliot’s Eat) – Drizzle some of the oil over some goat cheese. Place in a smoker and heat until soft.

Other infused oils you’ll want to try:

Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Lemon Infused Olive Oil @ Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

Shrimp Chili Oil @ Wok With Ray

Chilli and Coriander Infused Olive Oil @ Five Euro Food

Rosemary and Garlic Infused Oil @ Sunshine and Smile


This Chile Infused Oil has been shared with the following blog hops:  Health & Soul, Foodie Friday   .

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83 Responses to “Red Chile Infused Oil”

  1. Soni April 23, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Love the chili flavored oil!Must taste so so good!I’ve never tried making infused oils at home.Maybe I should do now :)

    • mj April 24, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      I too think it’s time Soni! :) It’s so very easy!

  2. Gourmantine April 23, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Wonderful idea MJ, I’m going to second Swathi that this would make a great gift!

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      Thanks Darlin! Well, as I told Swathi – send me your address. :)

  3. Katerina April 23, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    This is a project I want to do but with citrus infused flavor. Your oil must be very aromatic!

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Thanks Katerina! I’ve never made a citrus flavored oil, but it’s next on the list.

  4. Terra April 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Okay now you have my attention. I love how easy the recipe is, I thought it would take a few months….not minutes:-) I am excited to try your recipe, it would be awesome in salads:-) Hugs, Terra

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Thanks Terra! I’ve done some reading on how to extract flavors quickly from herbs and spices and have found that heating them up in oil works quite well. I have found that to be true in many cases and this oil is one of those cases. All you need is 15 minutes!

  5. Sandra's Easy Cooking April 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Now this is the infused oil that I would enjoy very much. Love the idea and ingr. list….I am making often infused oil with herbs but so far never made with chili peppers–going on my list to try!

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      thanks Sandra! If you already make infused oils, you definitely need to try this one.

  6. Swathi April 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    You can send one bottle as gift, not only red chili it has other spices, that part I love it. great recipe.

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      Is that a hint? Well, send me your address Darlin! :)

  7. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies April 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    I love infused oils! They are such a great way to perk up a dish. I’ve never made a chile infused oil, but I’m going to have to try it now!

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      Thanks Kiersten! It’s really hard to get enough of the infused oils. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to find the olive oil in my pantry. :)

  8. wok with ray April 22, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    This is an excellent idea and yes this will be added in my pantry. I’m sure a few drops of this oil will go a long way. Ohhh, love that photo of the bottle with the luminance of light from the back. That can go on my kitchen wall! :)

    • mj April 23, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Thanks Ray! I truly appreciate you comments on the picture! I’m flattered! :) And yes, a few drops do go a long way.

  9. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles April 22, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    What a gorgeous post MJ – from the idea to the recipe to the glowing photos, you’ve got me all fired up about this one. I haven’t made infused oil in years and with a 15 minute time interval to make this red chile flavor, I’m all out of excuses ;-). And talk about an ideal gift too. I’m thinking mother’s day, hostess, and, well, me :). Thank you for the note about garlic – you’re right, it might otherwise be tempting to leave it in. What is the typical shelf life of this type of oil MJ?

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      Good morning Kelly. Yes Darlin – you are now so out of excuses! :) I wouldn’t hesitate to keep it 6 months and longer in the fridge. After 3 months, I might put it in the refrigerator, but mine never last that long. :)

  10. Nancy/SpicieFoodie April 22, 2013 at 5:07 am #

    Is it weird that my mouth watered at oil?:) I love infused oils and they have been on my list to try for such a long time. MJ, this sounds delicious and it’s so easy too. I always thought it would be more difficult. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      Thanks Nancy! As you can see, it’s actually very, very easy! You’ll never pay for an infused oil again. :) Hope you get to try it!

  11. I like flavored oil, I have few bottles, but not homemade. It must be fun to make your own.

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 8:01 am #

      Oh Marta – it’s definitely fun to make your own! And it really speeds things up in the kitchen when you just want a little bit more flavor. It’s just a drizzle away.:)

  12. Giulietta | Alterkitchen April 22, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    My dad always makes chile infused oil, and he mostly uses it on soups (amazing)!
    I suggest you infused vinegar, too. A few years ago I made one with star anise in it, and it was amazing! I used it like a present for Christmas. Amazing!

    Have a nice week, my friend :)

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:59 am #

      Thanks Giulia! YUM – homemade vinegar! I’ve never made one, but you have me quite curious about the star anise, a flavor I absolutely love! I’ll have to try it! You have a great week as well my friend! :)

  13. ChgoJohn April 22, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    This is great, MJ! I make gift baskets for Christmas and am always on the lookout for something to add in addition my ketchup and mustards. This chili oll will be perfect this year. Thank you! I’m pinning it so that I can find it.

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:58 am #

      Thanks John! So can I be added to your list for a holiday gift basket. :) I love all of your homemade condiments!

  14. Carole April 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Inspiring – I am going to have a go at this – I have a lot of dried red chillies – I might be tempted to leave them in the oil though – do you think that the flavour would continue to develop? Cheers

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:57 am #

      Thanks Carole! Leaving the chiles in the oil might be o.k. but I’ve never been a fan of leaving anything in an oil. It eventually starts to turn and look nasty which makes me think that the nastiness is being absorbed by the oil. I’m sure the flavor would develop up to a point, but then stop.Because the peppers are heated in the oil, that pulls most of the flavor out immediately anyway, so there really is no need to leave them in. Have a great week!

  15. Barb Bamber April 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    What a pretty oil, this would be a great hostess gift as well! I’d go for the spicy oil.. I’m book marking this one to try:)

  16. Liz April 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    This would make a marvelous gift…along with the lovely list of suggested uses!

  17. The Wimpy Vegetarian April 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    I love making infused oils! Thanks for a great reminder to do this!!

  18. Lesley April 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Awesome MJ!

    My neighbor, Cindy, makes a great infused chile oil and I just ran out!

    My husband grows great chiles here in So Cal so I’ll be making some of this for us.

    I’m so glad i found your site!


    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:51 am #

      Thanks Lesley! You lucky girl having homegrown chiles. I bet in So Cal they are already close to picking. :)

  19. CCU April 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    What a brilliant idea to spice up your oil my friend :D


  20. Sissi April 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    MJ, your oil looks very aromatic and complex compared to what I usually prepare (I make sure I always have lots of the Japanese “taberu rayu”, a kind of thick crunchy chili and sesame oil with bits of garlic: I prefer the thick part (I use lots of chili flakes) and my husband the infused oil). I must change one day from the usual mixture and add some other spices following your recipe.
    When one thinks how expensive are infused oils and how easy and cheap they are to prepare at home…
    We usually use it in rice and noodle, at the table, but spicing up dough with infused oil is a brilliant idea!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      Sissi – I remember your Japanese oil and have pinned it so I can remember to make it. Whenever I eat dim sum, I dip in the oil and grab some flakes of pepper and such before each bite. :) You are so right about the cost of flavored oils! I’ve received them as gifts before, but have never bought. Way too expensive! Thanks Darlin for your wonderful comments. Have a fabulous week!

  21. Angie@Angie's Recipes April 21, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I love infused oils too. This would be wonderful to drizzle in a bowl of noodle soup.

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      On top of a noodle soup – that does sound good Angie! Thanks!

  22. john@kitchenriffs April 21, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Infused oils are so great! I haven’t made a chile one, which is amazing considering how much I enjoy spicy stuff. This really is an inspiration – thanks for that. Love the light on the chilies in the top photo!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      Thanks so much John! I am surprised that YOU haven’t made a chile infused oil. I remember how much of a chile lover you are. Well, I hope you get a chance to make this. You and the Mrs. will love it. :)

  23. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb April 21, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I love love love infused oil and chili and spiced oils are the most intriguing ones and so versatile as you mentioned at the end of your post MJ. I never thought of using it in a yeast dough (silly me!), in fact I can’t wait to give that a try (got some ideas). Thanks so much for sharing and have a wonderful Sunday!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Thanks Helene! I have to agree that chile oil are most intriguing. I made one a while back with dried chipotle and it was quite delicious and a totally different flavor. Flavor oils are great in yeast breads! I use this and my garlic flavor oil all of the time!

  24. Judy @Savoring Today April 21, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    Love, love flavored oils — just picked up some cilantro & roasted onion olive oil a couple days ago and used it as a finish on fish — so good! Thanks for the recipe to make my own flavors!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:34 am #

      Thanks Judy! YUM – that cilantro and roasted onion oil sounds wonderful! Great idea as a finishing oil for fish. I’ll have to add that to the list.

  25. Tessa April 21, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I love infused oils and never bothered to make it myself… What a wonderful idea and recipe! I do have some chili peppers somewhere in my pantry. I need to find them. Thank you MJ!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      Thanks Tessa! This is a perfect idea for any of those dried chile buried in the pantry. This recipe is not partial to a particular type of chile, so have fun!

  26. Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love April 21, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    My mother in law gave me a bag of dried red chile peppers and I have no idea what to do with them! Might have to give this a try. It looks delicious and fun!! I love Debra’s idea to give this as gifts, too!!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      Oh Michelle – have I got some ideas for you for those dried chile peppers! There are several recipes on this site. My favorite of course is the red chile sauce which can be used in so many things. In fact, I pulled some from the freezer and added to a dish last night. The sauce can be frozen quite easily, something that you do a lot. Just do a search for “red chile” and you’ll get of ideas. :)

  27. Debra April 21, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    I am so making this today. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with all the great ideas for uses. (Also pinning it for gifts this holiday season.)

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      Thanks Debra! I hope you did get a chance to make it! It will make a lovely gift!

  28. Jen @JuanitasCocina April 21, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    I love flavored oils! This one is one that I NEEEEED in my kitchen!

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      :) :) Yes you do my friend! You’d love it!

  29. Ramona April 21, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    What a fabulous idea. I have only seen chili infused oil… but I love this one with all the smokey cumin and coriander. Well done, MJ!! Hope you are having a glorious weekend.

  30. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 21, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    I love infused oils and keep several of them all the time. I don’t have one like this though. It sounds great.

    • mj April 22, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      Thanks Maureen! Your pantry must look like mine – a whole shelf just for oils. :)


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