Hot Hot Oil

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Ouch! If you make this oil hot enough, it really can cause long-lasting pain. When dried chiles are mixed with vegetable oil, their own volatile oils—the source of chile heat—are quickly drawn out and dispersed throughout the oil, ready to cling to the taste buds of the unwary. Nonetheless, Hot Hot Oil is a terrific table condiment for those who take hot foods seriously, as well as a great appetizer dip for bland vegetables and seafood (such as jicama and scallops). You can make the oil just plain hot to painfully hot, depending on the chiles you use.



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturehot & spicy

Type of DishCondiments, dipping sauce


  • 2 cups soybean or other vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed caribe, crushed Northern New Mexico red chiles (for hot oil); pequin quebrado (for very hot oil); or tiny dried Chinese hot red chiles (for painfully hot oil)


  1. Mix oil and caribe, pequín, or chiles in a small, heavy saucepan. Warm until oil almost begins to bubble, and then reduce heat; caribe, pequín, or chiles should not turn black. (If you do not have a good source of low, controlled heat and a heavy saucepan, heat oil first, and then add 1 bit of caribe, pequín, or chile. If it floats and keeps its redness, add the rest. Cover and watch carefully, stirring occasionally.) Cook over low heat until caribe, pequín, or chiles darken but do not turn black. Cool overnight at room temperature, and then strain oil through cheesecloth. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Let warm to room temperature to serve.


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