Home-made Dried Chili Oil

DSCN9699Home-growing is an occupation that I leave entirely to my green-thumbed husband. It’s not that I don’t see the appeal of gardening and I’m not attracted to such rewarding labour, but I must admit I was born with a black thumb. I don’t seem to have inherited my mum’s natural flare for all things green and I am, alas, responsible for the atrocious death of many innocent flower beds, herbs in pots and the occasional tomato plant, that I have had to surrender my resignation. I limit myself to the occasional watering, the picking and, naturally,  the cooking with the bounty that my garden produces under Richard’s watchful eyes. his year he propagated a fecund and lush chili plant from seeds he dried and preserved last year (see what I’m dealing with?), and now our autumnal veggie patch is specked with hundreds of green and red fruits, hiding their potent heat within their plump, shiny flesh.



1 green-thumbed husband


800 gr (1.7) of mixed chilies

4 cups of extra-virgin olive oil (or enough to fill up the jar you wish to use)

How to

1. Wash the chilies and spread them on an oven tray big enough to accommodate them in one layer. Make sure to line the tray with baking paper.

You have two options here: the one that suits the patient and gracious people, and the one made to please the not-so-patient ones!

If you belong in the first category (my respects):

2. place the tray in the sun everyday for 20-30 days, until the chilies are dry.

2/a. For those, like me, you cannot be asked… every time after  you  use the oven, place the tray inside while its cooling. The residual heat will quickly dry the chilies.

If you do this over a weekend during which you plan to bake a roast, some cookies and perhaps even some bread, that should give you enough residual heat to dry your chilies completely. You know they are ready when they feel dry, hollow and feather-light. My 800 gr (1.7 lb) reduced to a mere 150 gr (0.3 lb)!

3. Roughly chop them with a knife or with scissors.

4. Put them in sterilized  glass jars and submerge them in extra-virgin olive oil.

5. Leave them in a cupboard, away from direct light, for a minimum of 3 weeks before consuming.

You will notice that the heat will increase and concentrate over time. You can use chili oil to add a bit of zest to any food you love, but I particularly like to add it to soups and some pasta sauces.


If you have an abundance of basil in your garden, here’s my basil-infused oil.

Silvia’s Cucina is on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest


13 Comments Add yours

  1. shrutisharma says:

    Great recipe! Strangely enough here in Milan chili oil is not easily available and I am not happy with what it…does not seem `natural’ enough. Is it more if a South thing? Will definitely be making this. BTW – a little tip. For dried red chillies, all you need to do is visit and Indian store! (if you don’t grow your own i.e.).

    1. That’s a great tip!
      How’s life in Milan? Is spring finally there?

      1. shrutisharma says:

        In and out – 3 days of spring, 3 weeks of cold rain! So in and out. : (

  2. Wow, this looks lovely, and I know it trumps what’s in the market!! 🙂 Ally

  3. Thanks Ally! You are always so lovely!

  4. I’m completely useless in the garden but I wish I could grow my own ingredients as I love cooking with them! This oil looks simple and delicious – and a gorgeous gift too!

    Really glad you stopped by my blog as am loving browsing through yours 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! Your blog is one of my favorites. I think I found you via http://mycustardpie.com/. Keep baking and send over some of those flapjacks!

  5. heididmedina says:

    Thanks for adding a link to my site and for the wonderful tip. I look forward to trying it out because we love chili oil.

    1. Thank you! And keep up your excellent work.

  6. Silvia …I look forward every day to seeing your blog….it brings back a lot of memories of back in the day….love it!!! God Bless you an your family always…..Keep up the good work…….

    1. Thanks Jeannette, it makes me very happy to have your support!

  7. Big Simon says:

    Hey Silvia. What is your favourite chili? I was in the kitchen when your show was on sbs Australia about two weeks ago and I heard you say “this is my favourie chili”. It sounded like yemolina or something?…. Im building a vegatble garden and got all my Mexican chilies but, Im not sure what chilies Italians use and I need to plant some Italian chilies for my garden.

    Love your blog, and your show too btw. Almost as much as I love the food.

    1. Hi Simon, that would be the diavolillo chillie! Very similar to thai red chillies…

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