Simple Red Chili Oil

I’m looking for a pop of flavor this time of year. With the abundance of leftovers, savory soups and root vegetables, flavors can easily start to blur together.

And a lasting way to get a pop of flavor is by infusing oil. It sounds fancy, but it’s a simple process that you can start before work and enjoy by lunch or dinner. Below, I’ve pictured some end of season peppers and their dehydrated counter part: some red pepper flakes. Today we’ll use the red pepper flakes.

I started with a couple of heaping tablespoons of the red pepper flakes and added them to a saucepan over low heat.

Next, I poured in two cups of olive oil (that’s what I had, but you could use canola or grape seed oil too. Any neutral oil works!)

I gave the mixture a quick stir and let it remain over low heat for 5 minutes.

At the end of 5 minutes, I turned the heat off, covered the saucepan with the lid and let the oil sit for two hours. It’s perfectly acceptable to let the oil sit all day long.

Why, whatever will you do with all that time?

After two hours, the oil starts to take on the red color of the chili flakes! The chili provides the pigment, the oil is the binder – the conduit of liquid flavor.

Drizzle the oil into a dish right away, or pour it into a glass jar and refrigerate it up to a month.


Infused oil is great as an addition to salt and pepper (a lovely finish for a soup), added into the cooking process (a beautiful beginning to an Arrabiata sauce or stir fry), as a dipping oil for bread or as the base for a fiery vinaigrette!

Simple Red Chili Oil: giving leftover [brown] turkey a much needed kick [of red]. Enjoy!

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