Easy Homemade Vietnamese Inspired Chili Oil Recipe

Spice up your dishes with homemade Vietnamese chili oil recipe!
vietnamese chili oil pinit

If you’re a fan of spicy food and seeking that extra spicy kick, look no further than this Vietnamese chili oil recipe. Also known as Vietnamese sate sauce  (ớt sa tế).

chili oil recipe

I love a spicy sauce with most of my meals, and Chinese chili oil is a staple with nearly every savory dish I enjoy.

Typically, I pick it up from nearby Asian stores, but sometimes it tastes a bit stale, and I suspect they use lower-quality oil. So, I took matters into my own hands and decided to whip up my own chili oil at home.

It was my first time making it, and it turned out to be a great recipe. Now, I doubt I’ll ever go back to buying it from the store again.

sichuan chili flakes

In the original recipe, fish sauce and soy sauce are among the main ingredients. However, I find that these two sauces impart a very fishy taste. Since I enjoy using this chilli oil with a variety of dishes, eliminating these sauces has made it lighter and, in my opinion, tastier. Now, when I add it to my avocado toast, for example, I no longer encounter the fishy taste.

The Ingredients


While I was searching for a recipe to customise, I came across many that were using fresh chili instead of the regular chili flakes, which are a common ingredient in this recipe. I opted for red chili flakes (chili peppers) instead of fresh chili simply for their longevity. I aim to prepare a large batch once and have enough for the entire month or so.

Although chili powder is included in the original recipe, you have the option to omit it to tailor the spiciness level to your preference.

chili powder

Fresh ingredients

The original recipe calls for lemongrass stalks as a key fresh ingredient, but I swapped it out for fresh onion.

Some people use garlic powder, but I prefer using fresh garlic cloves. However, feel free to use whatever you find most convenient.

Dry ingredients for the chili sauce

I included bay leaves and cardamom which is my favourite condiment to this recipe for flavour. But you can also enhance it by adding star anise or cinnamon sticks to the jars. These additional ingredients can add extra depth and aroma to your chili oil, giving it a unique twist.


For this recipe, it’s better to use a neutral oil. The traditional recipe suggests vegetable oil, but I’m not a fan of it because some vegetable oils can be unhealthy if used too much.

Since I eat this dish often, I wanted to use a healthier oil. That’s why I chose MCT oil because it’s better for cooking at high heat and might be better for you.

I only used 2 tablespoons of sesame oil for its flavor. Sesame oil can be a bit strong, but I still enjoy its taste, so I added just a small amount.

For a healthier oil option, consider using 1/2 a cup of oil of either olive oil or avocado oil.

chinese chili oil


If you choose to use fresh chili, you’ll need a food processor. Otherwise, all you’ll need are a small saucepan and airtight jars.

simple steps on how to make chili oil recipe?

  • In a small saucepan, fry all the fresh ingredients in MCT oil, then add the condiments.
  • For best results, let the ingredients simmer in the MCT oil on low heat. If you’re short on time, medium low heat will also work, but avoid using high heat. Lower the heat when you start to see the oil making small bubbles.
  • Carefully set aside the hot oil to allow it to cool down, then strain it.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: chili flakes, salt, and chili powder. Then, add the infused oil and the other oils. Finally, divide the mixture into the jars.

How to Store homemade chili oil?

To store the chili oil, transfer it to an airtight container or jar. Ensure that the container is clean and completely dry before adding the oil to prevent any moisture from causing spoilage.

Store the container in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, to maintain the quality of the oil.

Additionally, sealing the container tightly will help prevent oxidation and preserve the flavor of the chili oil. It’s best to consume the chili oil within a few weeks for optimal freshness, although it can typically last for up to one month when stored properly.

What to Serve with Vietnamese Chili Oil Recipe?

regular chili flakes


Don’t forget to adjust the level of spiciness to your preference. For an extra touch, consider adding sesame seeds for additional flavour.

vietnamese chili oil pinit
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Easy Homemade Vietnamese Inspired Chili Oil Recipe

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 15 mins Total Time 45 mins
Servings: 12
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


This homemade Vietnamese chili oil recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors and customizable spice levels. With simple steps and versatile usage, it's perfect for enhancing stir-fries, fried rice, noodle soups, and more. Adjust the spiciness to your liking and add sesame seeds for an extra burst of flavor.


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  1. Heat MCT oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic, chopped onion, and sliced ginger. Sauté until fragrant and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add bay leaves and crushed cardamom pods to the pan. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

  3. Remove the pan from heat and allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, strain the infused oil mixture to remove the solids. Discard the solids and reserve the infused oil.

  4. In a small bowl, combine chili flakes, red chili powder, and salt.

  5. Transfer the dry ingredients mixture into a clean, dry glass jar or airtight container.

  6. Pour the reserved infused oil (from step 3) over the dry ingredients mixture. Add sesame oil and extra virgin olive oil as well.

  7. Seal the jar tightly and shake well to combine all the ingredients.

  8. Let the chili oil sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours to allow the flavours to meld together before using. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one month.

    Enjoy your homemade chili oil! Adjust the amount of chili flakes and red chili powder to suit your preferred level of spiciness.
Keywords: vietnamese chili oil recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I adjust the spiciness level of the chili oil?

Yes, you can adjust the spiciness level according to your preference. If you prefer a milder chili oil, you can reduce the amount of chili flakes and red chili powder used in the recipe. Conversely, if you like it extra spicy, you can increase the quantities of these ingredients.

How long does the chili oil need to infuse before it's ready to use?

It's recommended to let the chili oil sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together and intensify. However, for optimal flavor, you can let it infuse for up to several days before using. Remember to store it in a cool, dark place during this time.

Can I store the chili oil in the refrigerator?

While it's not necessary to refrigerate chili oil, storing it in the refrigerator can help prolong its shelf life. Make sure to transfer the chili oil to a clean, airtight container before refrigerating. Before using, let it come to room temperature or warm it slightly to liquefy any solidified oil that may occur due to refrigeration.

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