If you’re someone who likes a little spice in their favorite dishes, you should be no stranger to the wonder that is chili oil.
Chili oil is easily one of the most versatile seasonings (and sometimes even an ingredient) you can add to your dishes. But if you can’t get your hands on chili oil, this article has you covered. So what are chili oil substitutes?
Keep reading to learn all about these chili oil substitutes!
What is chilli oil?
Chili oil is a common spice used in Chinese cooking. It is usually prepared by soaking red chili peppers in vegetable oil.
It has now become popular all over the world and has many variations using different types of oils and hot peppers. Additional ingredients like sugar, water, soy sauce, herbs, spices, etc. are also added when preparing chili oil.
Chili oil can be used as a dip on various foods, such as dim sum and meats, or even used as an ingredient in cooking.
Some varieties of chili oil are made with sesame oil, soybean oil, or even olive oil. Additionally, spices such as garlic, paprika, Sichuan pepper, peanuts, etc. are also added to various types of chili oil.
Best Chili Oil Substitutes
Now let’s take a look at some of the best chili oil substitutes and take your pick!
1. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is a hot pepper widely used to season dishes.
Cayenne pepper is even often used to make chili oil. It is readily available and can be easily replaced with chili oil when cooking.
2. Szechuan Sauce
This sauce mainly uses Sichuan peppercorn for a spiced and zinger flavor.
It has a thicker texture than chili oil, but can easily be used as a substitute. You can use it as a condiment and as an ingredient in cooking.
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste with a slightly sweet taste.
Like Sichuan sauce, gochujang has a thicker texture than chili oil. However, you can easily substitute it as a condiment instead of chili oil.
4. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is more or less synonymous with Asian cuisine.
You can use it directly instead of chili oil or you can add chili flakes and other spices. This gives it a closer, spicier flavor similar to chili oil.
5. Black bean sauce
Black bean sauce is another popular condiment from Chinese cuisine.
Using black bean sauce as a substitute for chili oil may make it taste saltier than usual. However, if you want to pair it with the flavor of chili oil, you can always add spices.
Sriracha is one of the closest substitutes for chili oil.
The main difference between the two is that sriracha is a sauce while chili oil uses vegetable oils. Other than that, they both consist of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt.
7. Dried pepper
Dried pepper is often infused with vegetable oil to make chili oil.
Therefore, you can easily use it as a substitute for chili oil when cooking rice, noodles, pasta, and other dishes without noticing any difference in your dish.
8. Homemade chilli oil
You may not have considered making chili oil at home. The good news is that chili oil is easy to prepare. Keep reading to find a quick and easy homemade chili oil recipe.
9. Chili flakes
You can easily find chili flakes and improve your cooking game. To get the same element as chili oil, you can always add vegetable oil to chili flakes and serve as a substitute.
10. Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili sauce is a popular condiment used in Asian cooking. You can always add extra spices to sweet chili oil and use it as a substitute for regular chili oil.
How to make chilli oil at home?
Of course, if you can’t find chili oil at the store, you can always make homemade chili oil to add that same zest to your favorite dishes!
- chilli (or other spices)
- Garlic (and other additional herbs)
- Vinegar or soy sauce (optional)
- Peanuts or seeds (optional)
You will need chili, paprika, Sichuan pepper, or another type of spice to give your chili oil the desired flavor. You can use additional ingredients such as garlic, shallots, soy sauce, or even chili flakes to boost the chili oil.
Once you have gathered all the ingredients you will need, follow these steps:
- Keep two to three cups of your favorite oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic, seeds, shallots or another secondary spice to the oil.
- If you are using garlic and shallots, remove them after they have browned.
- When the temperature of the oil begins to rise, add the chilli.
- Add other ingredients such as soy sauce and chili flakes to the mixture.
- When the ingredients combine and the oil begins to take on a deep red color, remove the contents from the heat.
- When the chili oil begins to cool, use a sieve to remove any large pieces of chili, garlic, etc.
And with that, you have your own homemade chili oil.
How much chili oil should you use?
The amount of chili oil you should use depends on the dish and your spice tolerance.
You can always add a splash of chili oil to any dish to enhance the flavor. Some dishes like noodles, rice, and even pasta can be cooked with chili oil. Or you can drizzle some chili oil over your noodles or rice before serving.
The most common use of chili oil is to be served as a condiment. Here, depending on your spice tolerance and the ingredients of your chili oil, you won’t need more than a few drops to add heat to the dish you’re serving.
Can you substitute Sriracha for chili oil?
You can substitute sriracha with chilli oil.
To use sriracha sauce as a substitute, add two to three tablespoons of oil to the sriracha sauce while heating. Once the 2 ingredients are well combined, you can use this mixture as a replacement for chili oil in any dish you like!
Which oil is best for chili oil?
You can use any oil to make chili oil.
Traditional recipes use soybean oil or peanut oil to make chili oil, but you can also use sunflower oil, canola oil, of canola or any other type of vegetable oil while making chili oil at home.
Therefore, the final choice may depend on your personal preference for a specific oil or another oil that you can easily find.