Aunt Lily’s Chili Oil

My Aunt Lily’s Chili Oil is the best I’ve ever tasted. She grew up in both Malaysia and India and over time perfected this incredible recipe. I’m so so happy she shared it with me (and you!)

She told me about how when she was a young girl, she used to watch her grandmother bite into a raw chili when eating her Indian curd and rice. Aunt Lily would then mimic her, which started her love for chilies in all forms – raw, cooked, doused in soy sauce or oil. She said it’s what makes her taste buds “zing”!

She also told me about the incredible women she grew up with that wholeheartedly LOVED to cook. She would spend hours in the kitchen watching them, inhaling the aromas and patiently waiting to devour their handiwork. 

This Chili Oil is the only recipe you need – it’s warming, perfectly spicy, and can be enjoyed over noodles, eggs, vegetables, meat/fish, rice – you name it!

prep for chili oil

How to make Aunt Lily’s Chili Oil:

Step One:

Add 1 cup of red chili flakes in a heatproof jar or bowl

red chili flakes

Step Two:

Add 2 tbsp of sesame seeds

red chili flakes and sesame seeds

Step Three:

Add 4 cloves of minced garlic

red chili flakes, sesame seeds and minced garlic

Step Four:

Add 2 tbsp of minced ginger

red chili flakes, sesame seeds, minced garlic and ginger

Step Five:

Add 2 tbsp of sugar

red chili flakes, sesame seeds and minced garlic, ginger and sugar

Step Six:

Add 1.5 tbsp salt (can always add more to taste later depending on your preference)

red chili flakes, sesame seeds and minced garlic, ginger, sugar and salt

Step Seven:

Add a cinnamon stick and then heat up 2-3 cups of neutral oil (like peanut, avocado, vegetable or canola oil) to about 225-250 degrees F. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when you stick a piece of garlic or ginger in the pot and it sizzles right away.

Pour the oil over the ingredients in the heatproof bowl, let sit for a few minutes, stir, and allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

chili oil

How to Store Aunt Lily’s Chili Oil:

  1. Cool and Dark Place: Store the chili oil in a cool, dark place if you plan to use it quickly. A kitchen cupboard away from the stove and sunlight is ideal.
  2. Refrigeration: For longer-term storage, keep the chili oil in the refrigerator.
  3. Airtight Container: Use an airtight container, such as a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, to prevent the oil from absorbing unwanted odors from the fridge and to prevent oxidation.
  4. Shelf Life: Homemade chili oil can typically last for up to a month in the refrigerator. If you notice any off-smells, changes in appearance, it’s best to discard it.
prep for chili oil

Ideas for enjoying Aunt Lily’s Chili Oil:

  1. Dumplings and Dim Sum: Drizzle it over dumplings or use it as a dipping sauce.
  2. Noodles and Pasta: Add a kick to noodle dishes, both Asian-inspired and Italian pasta.
  3. Pizza: Drizzle it over pizza for an extra spicy touch.
  4. Eggs: Spice up your scrambled eggs, omelets, or avocado toast.
  5. Soups and Stews: Add a few drops to soups and stews for depth and heat.
  6. Vegetables: Toss roasted or sautéed vegetables with chili oil.
  7. Salad Dressings: Incorporate it into salad dressings for a spicy twist.
  8. Marinades: Use it in marinades for meat or tofu.
  9. Rice Dishes: Stir it into rice or grain bowls.
  10. Sandwiches and Wraps: Spice up sandwiches and wraps with a drizzle of chili oil.
  11. Popcorn: Toss popcorn with chili oil for a spicy snack.
chili oil
chili oil

Aunt Lily's Chili Oil

The BEST chili oil around...
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes


  • 1 cup red chili flakes
  • 2-3 cups neutral oil peanut, avocado, vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp salt + more to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • In a heatproof bowl or jar, add the red chili flakes, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt and cinnamon stick
  • In a small pot, heat the neutral oil over low-medium heat until it reaches about 225-250 degrees F. You'll know it's ready when you drop a piece of garlic or ginger in and it sizzles right away.
  • Carefully pour the hot oil over the ingredients in the heatproof bowl/jar and allow to sizzle for a few minutes.
  • Gently stir and allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Leave A Comment

  1. Lynne January 31, 2024 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Hi 👋

    Could you use fresh chillies for the chilli oil?

  2. Helene Edelstein March 1, 2024 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Haven’t made chili oil yet but I’m definitely going to try this recipe

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