Chinese Chili Oil from Scratch (la jiao)

I love you, la jiao

In my humble and spice-obsessed opinion, Chinese chili oil, aka la jiao, la meaning spicy and jiao meaning oil, is a must-have for anything noodle-related in China.  Mixed with black vinegar, it is a great dipping sauce for a big plate of steamed dumplings or even stir-fry.  A spoonful of it gives sesame noodles a little ‘something-something’ and no big beautiful bowl of NiuRou LaMian (Chinese Beef Noodle) would be appropriate without it.


a bowl of Chinese chile oil (la jiao) with scallions


Homemade versus store-bought

Although this oil is an essential condiment in our house, it was also something that I approached with a little trepidation.   I knew this was an oil infused with red chili pepper flakes, dried chilies and Szechuan peppercorns but sometimes I would be surprised to find other things in it as well such as peanuts or gritty bone fragments.  Don’t get me wrong, it was ALWAYS tasty but still, that little bit of grit made me apprehensive of diving into it at full speed.  To avoid any unwanted mystery ingredient, I now make my own at home.


spices , chiles and garlic in a cup


The spice must flow!

Even though it is loaded with various forms of chilies and peppercorns, this oil is more nutty than spicy.  You can still feel the heat of the spice in the oil but it’s not as abrasive as some other hot sauces out there and is definitely worth a try. This is fairly easy to make so if you like it and are feeling creative, you can try adding in some additional ingredients to the mix such as peanuts, ginger, cloves or bone marrow to see if it changes up the flavor a bit. This chile oil is best when drizzled over noodle dishes but you can also try adding it to stir-fry or chicken wings or anything else you fancy.






hot oil simmering in spices, chiles and garlic in a cup




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a bowl of Chinese chile oil (la jiao) with scallions

Chinese Chili Oil from Scratch (la jiao)

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Diet: Vegan


Chinese chili oil, aka la jiao, is a must-have condiment for Chinese food.  Drizzle over stir-fries for an added kick or mix with black vinegar to make a dipping sauce. #chinesefoodrecipes #spicyrecipes #spicy #chili


  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 3 dried red chilis
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml cup vegetable oil


  1. Add all spices and garlic to a container that is able to withstand high temperatures.
  2. In a dry pan, heat oil on medium-high heat just until it begins to smoke.
  3. Turn off heat and add oil CAREFULLY to the container of spices and garlic.  Let it bubble away until it is cool and all ingredients have infused into the oil.
  4. When ready, add a spoonful or two to your favorite dish and enjoy.
  5. Keep in a covered container at room temperature for no more than a month.
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: simmering
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: Chinese oil, la jiao, chili oil, chinese condiments

Pour some la jiao over these dishes for extra flavor:

Niurou Lamian (Chinese Beef Noodle Soup)

Amazing Chinese Pork Dumplings (aka Jiaozi)!!

Shanghai Noodles with Shitake Mushrooms and Pork

Pork Loin and Celery Stir-Fried with Hoisin Sauce


Author: Natasha

I'm just a busy expat mom who has a psychological need to feed people. I enjoy learning about new cultures, (especially the food) and enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and spices

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