10 Best Chili Oil Substitutes

Chili Oil

If you are someone who loves a bit of zinger in their favorite meals, you must be no stranger to the wonder that is chili oil.

Chili oil is easily one of the most versatile condiments (and even sometimes an ingredient) that you can add to your dishes. But if you are unable to get your hands on any chili oil, this article is the right place for you. So, what are some substitutes for chili oil?

Keep reading to know all about these chili oil substitutes!

What Is Chili Oil?

Chili oil is a condiment that is extensively used in Chinese cuisine. It is typically prepared by infusing chili peppers into vegetable oil.

It has now become popular across the world and has many variations where different types of oils and hot peppers are used. Additional ingredients like sugar, water, soy sauce, herbs, spices, etc are also added while preparing chili oil.

Chili oil can be used as a dip along with different foods like dim sum and meat, or even as an ingredient while cooking.

Some variations of chili oil are made with sesame oil, soybean oil, or even olive oil. Additionally, spices like garlic, paprika, Sichuan pepper, peanuts, etc are also added to different styles of chili oil.

Best Chili Oil Substitutes

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best substitutes for chili oil and make a pick!

1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a hot chili pepper that is widely used to spice dishes.

In fact, cayenne pepper is often used to make chili oil as well. It is readily available and can be easily substituted for chili oil while cooking.

2. Sichuan Sauce

This sauce primarily uses Sichuan pepper for a taste of spice and zinger.

It has a thicker texture than chili oil but can easily be used as a substitute. You can use it as both a condiment and an ingredient while cooking.

3. Gochujang


Gochujang is a Korean chili paste with a slightly sweet flavor.

Similar to Sichuan sauce, gochujang has a thicker texture than chili oil. However, you can easily substitute it as a condiment in place of chili oil.

4. Soy Sauce

Dark Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is more or less synonymous with Asian cuisine.

You can either use it directly in place of chili oil or you can add some chili flakes and other spices to it. This will give it a closer and more spicy taste that resembles chili oil.

5. Black Bean Sauce

Black bean sauce

Black bean sauce is another popular condiment that comes from Chinese cuisine.

Using black bean sauce as a substitute for chili oil might give a saltier flavor than usual. However, if you want to match it to the taste of chili oil, you can always add some spices.

6. Sriracha

Sriracha sauce

Sriracha is one of the closest substitutes to chili oil.

The main difference between the two is that sriracha is a sauce whereas chili oil uses vegetable oils. Apart from this, both of them consist of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

7. Dried Pepper

Dried pepper is often infused in vegetable oil to make chili oil.

Therefore, you can easily use it as a substitute for chili oil while cooking rice, noodles, pasta, and other dishes without noticing any difference in your dish. 

8. Homemade Chili Oil

You might not have considered making chili oil at home. The good news is that chili oil is easy to make. Keep reading on to find a quick and easy recipe for homemade chili oil.

9. Chili Flakes

chili flakes

You can easily find chili flakes and step up your cooking game. To get the same element as chili oil, you can always add some vegetable oil to chili flakes and serve it as a substitute.

10. Sweet Chili Sauce

Chili Sauce

Sweet chili sauce is a popular condiment used in Asian cuisine. You can always add some extra spices to sweet chili oil and use it as a substitute for normal chili oil.

How To Make Chili Oil At Home?

Of course, if you do not find any chili oil in stores, you can always make some homemade chili oil to add the same zinger to your favorite dishes!


  • Oil
  • Chili pepper (or any other spices)
  • Garlic (and other additional spices)
  • Salt
  • Vinegar or soy sauce (Optional)
  • Peanuts or seeds (Optional)


You will need chili pepper, paprika, Sichuan pepper, or any other type of spice to give your chili oil the flavor you desire. You can use additional ingredients such as garlic, shallots, soy sauce, or even chili flakes to add a boost to the chili oil.

After gathering all the ingredients that you need, follow these steps:

  1. Keep two to three cups of your preferred oil on medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, seeds, shallots, or any other secondary spice to the oil.
  3. If you are using garlic and shallots, remove them after they turn brown.
  4. As the temperature of the oil begins to rise, add chili pepper to it.
  5. Add other ingredients like soy sauce and chili flakes to the mix.
  6. When the ingredients combine and the oil begins to take a deep red color, take the contents off the stove.
  7. As the chili oil begins to cool, use a strainer to remove any large pieces of chili, garlic, etc.

And with that, you will have your very own homemade chili oil.

How Much Chili Oil Should You Use?

The amount of chili oil that you should use depends on the dish and your spice tolerance.

You can always add a dash of chili oil to any dish to provide a boost of flavor. Some dishes such as noodles, rice, and even pasta can be cooked with chili oil. Or, you could pour some chili oil on top of 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 dallops to add some zinger to the dish you are serving.

Can You Substitute Sriracha For Chili Oil?

You can substitute sriracha for chili oil.

To use sriracha sauce as a substitute, add two to three tablespoons of oil into the sriracha sauce while heating. After the 2 ingredients combine well, you can use this mix as a substitute for chili oil in any dish that you like!

What Oil Is Best For Chili Oil?

You can use any oil for making chili oil.

Traditional recipes use soybean oil or peanut oil for making chili oil, however, you can also use sunflower oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil, or any other type of vegetable oil while making chili oil at home.

Therefore, the final choice can depend upon your personal preference for a specific oil or any oil that is easy for you to find.

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