Quick 5 Minute Italian-style Chili Oil

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Craving a little heat? This super fast Italian style chili oil will add a punch to anything you’re eating: all you need is dried chile flakes, olive oil and 5 minutes! Makes a fun DIY food gift.

Sometimes the simplest stuff is the best: this 2 ingredients chili oil adds a heat to your favourite dishes!

When it comes to food, I’m all about MORE: more plants. More flavour. And definitely, more SPICE! I want the world to know that nourishing, plant-based recipes are every bit as delicious and craveable as your usual fare. Whether it’s in my cookbooks or here on the blog, I want to show you just how easy it is to really love what you’re eating. Because yes, I’m a dietitian. But I’m a dietitian who loves to eat.

Which brings me to this Italian-style chili oil. I wanted to add a little heat to my butternut squash farro risotto and thought to myself: do people know how easy it is to make this stuff? Just in case…maybe I should put it on the blog.

This simple chili oil, also known as olio di peperoncino, is different from say, a Sichuan-style chile crisp in that it’s just two ingredients: dried chile flakes and olive oil. And while I love Sichuan chili crisp down to my BONES (I even interviewed the founder of Fly By Jing on the podcast!) I think there is a place for both.

The advantage of Italian style chili oil is that it adds heat but not much flavour, meaning it goes with literally any dish you want to dress up. Like zucchini orzo. But also, a chickpea tuna sandwich. Or even a spinach dip!

It’s the kind of staple recipe always worth having on the table, right next to the salt.

How to make this simple chili oil

This one is so simple, it’s almost not a recipe…but you will need a couple of tips. The first?

  • Use fresh ingredients, since there’s only two of them! For this infused oil, you’ll want to use an extra virgin olive oil that you actually like the flavour of. So taste your oil before using! And second, if your chile flakes have been sitting in the pantry for years, it’s time to buy new ones. Your infused oil will be kind of blah with stale chile flakes.
  • Next, do NOT overheat the oil! You’re going to heat the chile flakes and oil in a small pot over medium heat. You want that oil to be warm and simmering, not boiling. This will only take a couple of minutes so watch it like a hawk. Not only can you burn the chile flakes, resulting in off flavours but you can diminish the healthful compounds in the olive oil. If the chile flakes look like they’re sizzling, it’s getting too hot and it’s time to take the pot off the heat.
olive oil and chile flakes
You don’t need expensive oil or spices…just fresh ones, for the best flavour!
chili oil in pot
For this Italian-style chili oil, you don’t strain out the chile flakes! They texture to your dishes as well as heat.

Then all you have to do is let that oil steep! You can use it right away and the longer it steeps, the more heat develops. Once it’s room temperature, you can decant it into a jar and it will last for a month at room temperature.

More vegan staples + condiments

  • 3 Minute Vegan Avocado Oil Mayo
  • The Easiest Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Basic Cashew Cream
  • 5 Minute Vegan Almond Parmesan

jar of chili oil Print

Quick 5 Minute Italian-style Chili Oil

Craving a little heat? This super fast Italian style chili oil will add a punch to anything you’re eating: all you need is dried chile flakes, olive oil and 5 minutes! Makes a fun DIY food gift. Course SaucesCuisine ItalianDiet Gluten Free, Vegan, VegetarianKeyword chile flakes, olive oilDietary Preference dairy free, Gluten-Free, low FODMAP, nut free, vegan, vegetarian Prep Time 1 minute minuteCook Time 3 minutes minutesTotal Time 4 minutes minutes Author Desiree Nielsen, RD

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or your favourite cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried chile flakes

Imperial – Metric

Instructions

  • Add the oil and chile flakes to a small pot and place on medium heat. Heat the oil, watching constantly, until the oil is warm/hot, 1-3 minutes max. The oil might shimmer but you're not looking for the chile flakes to fry.
  • Remove from heat and let steep until it's cool enough to handle (if using right away) or until it's room temperature, so you can decant into a glass jar. Keeps at room temperature for 1 month.

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