The Washington Post

Sichuan Chile Oil

Sichuan Chile Oil 32.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jul 17, 2019

It would be best to cool the covered chile oil in a safe, well-ventilated place, as any escaped vapors from hot chile oil may be a bit tough on the lungs.

Make Ahead: The chile oil can be stored in a glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid) in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 32 servings; makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 3 tablespoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 cup crushed red pepper flakes

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Combine the oil, cinnamon, anise and Sichuan pepper in a pot over medium-low heat. Once the mixture is just heated through, reduce the temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes.

Place the crushed red pepper flakes in a heatproof mixing bowl, then place a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl. Carefully pour the aromatic-flavored oil through the strainer, then discard the aromatics in the strainer and remove the strainer.

Stir the mixture and allow it to cool for 2 hours before pouring the chile oil (with its crushed red pepper flakes) into a jar.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Chinese Street Food: Small Bites, Classic Recipes and Harrowing Tales From Across the Middle Kingdom,” by Howie Southworth and Greg Matza (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per tablespoon serving: 130

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 14g 22%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 0mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 2g 1%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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