Chili Spiced Homemade Olive Oil

Add a spicy kick to your olive oil. Besides spicing up your own kitchen, this will make a great gift. During our six-week trip to France my husband and I admittedly ate our fair share of pizza. I know that may sound strange to eat pizza in France, but it is actually quite popular there. The reason we found ourselves at pizza parlors is that, oftentimes, they are the only restaurants open before 7:30 PM. They also offer fairly quick food. Otherwise a typical French restaurant doesn’t open until 7:30 or 8:00pm and it can often take a few hours from the time you sit down to the time you pay your check.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the French dining experience, but we were there for six weeks and sometimes we just wanted a quick bite before heading back for the evening.

It was through these frequent pizza dining experiences that I learned about chili flake spiced olive oil. Every single pizza place we went to offered this to drizzle on our pizza. It was so prevalent that I made the observation that serving pizza in France without this spicy olive oil was like serving fries in the U.S. without ketchup.

One night we were in a small town and stopped at a pizza place that was admittedly a bit beneath the standards of our previous pizza experiences. When our pizza arrived at the table it didn’t arrive with a bottle of olive oil. Instead the server brought out little disposable single use plastic packets of spiced olive oil. Just like you would see ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise served in is the U.S. I am telling you, they are serious about serving their pizza with this sauce!

I knew I would want to make some when I got back home and since then I’ve found a lot of different uses for this oil that goes beyond the pizza experience. It can be drizzled onto practically everything, including veggies and soups. It is also delicious just to dip some bread into it. It can also add a spicy kick to your homemade salad dressings.

Now that you know why I was inspired to make this recipe I want to share some of the health benefits of olive oil and cayenne.

Aceite de oliva

Olive Oil Health Benefits

In the past several decades olive oil has repeatedly made the headlines with study after study showing its health benefits.

It is most widely heralded for its healthy heart benefits and certain constituents of olive oil are now being studied for their ability to fight cancer.

As I shared in the olive tapenade recipe, the Greeks consume the most olive oil in the world, which amounts to about 6 gallons a person per year! Their incredible olive oil consumption is often correlated to their lower incidence of heart disease.

Even still, the U.S. is one of the biggest buyers of olive oil.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people in the U.S. are buying olive oil and then use it so infrequently that the bottle just sits around in the cupboard for a long time.

My husband and I have been increasing our olive oil consumption in the past several years and we go through ten gallons between the two of us each year. I promise you we aren’t drinking it by the glass. We just use it for practically everything, including light sautéing, kale chips and salad dressings.

I hope this spicy olive oil inspires you to use more olive oil in your daily life. When buying olive oil look for extra virgin olive oil that has been cold pressed. Unfortunately a lot of olive oil on the market is being adulterated with inferior oils so it’s best to get it from a reputable company or straight from an olive oil farm.

Whole chili pepper, flakes and cayenne powder on white

Cayenne Health Benefits

Today’s recipe uses two kinds of chili flakes. Both of these come from cayenne (Capsicum annuum).

Like olive oil, cayenne has been shown to have numerous benefits for the heart. One study showed that it decreased lipoprotein oxidation in both men and women. Another study has shown it can increase insulin sensitivity (which can be a major factor in heart disease).

Cayenne also modulates inflammation and decreases chronic and acute pain.

Cayenne is hot and spicy and helps to warm up the body and increase circulation. This is a wonderful herb to be using during the cold months of the year. If you tend to feel cold or have cold hands and feet then cayenne will be a good herb to know.

Chili Spiced Olive Oil

This spicy olive oil can be drizzled on your pizza, soup or veggies, used as a bread dip or used to spice up your homemade salad dressing. The recipe below makes a medium spicy blend. Consider adding more or less chili flakes for your personal preference.

What you’ll need…

  • 2 Tablespoons chili flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked chili flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic granules
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine the chili flakes, garlic granules and salt into a pint jar.

chili-spiced-olive-oil-4

Fill the jar with olive oil.

chili-spiced-olive-oil-5

Cover with a lid and shake well. Continue to shake this mixture every day or so for two weeks.

After two weeks give it a taste. If you would like it stronger you can add more chili flakes. If it is too strong you can dilute it with a bit of olive oil.

When it is done to your liking transfer the oil and chili flakes to a corked bottle or a bottle that has an oil dispenser on it. The flakes naturally settle to the bottom of the jar and can be left in for decoration.

chili-spiced-olive-oil-6

Resources & Citations

Effects of Chili Pepper Ingestion on Lipoprotein Oxidation in Men and Women
Ahuja K, Ball M. Effects of daily ingestion of chilli on serum lipoprotein oxidation in adult men and women Brit J Nutr. 2006;96:239-242.

Chili Peppers with Meals May Help with Glucose Levels
Ahuja K, Robertson K, Geraghty D, Ball M. Effects of chili consumption on postprandial glucose, insulin, and energy metabolism Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84(1):63-69.

Which herbs & remedies should you always stock in your kitchen?

40 comments
  1. We’d love to hear what you think! Happy Holidays!

  2. I love this idea! I only wish I had smoked chili flakes. How do you think chipotles would mix in, flavor-wise?

    • I love chipotles – sounds good to me!

  3. Am I missing the actual olive oil info? How do we know what olive oil to buy, and if it’s rancid or not?

    • When oil goes rancid is has a very distinct smell and taste. If you’ve never experienced rancid oil before you could leave some olive oil exposed to air and light for awhile and then notice the taste it develops. Once you’ve had rancid olive oil you’ll never forget that taste. I buy our olive oil from a farm in California (unfortunately they are sold out for the year). I like buying direct from farmers whenever possible. There are lots of California olive oil farmers out there, it may just take a bit of digging through search engines.

  4. You had begun by talking about rancid, poor quality oil.i would like to know a bit more of determining good quality oils. Thank you.

    • One of the best ways to determine if an oil is of good quality is by taste. The only way to develop your sense of taste for oils is to go out and taste them. When you buy directly from a farmer you know how fresh the oil is which can be a good starting place for determining quality. Or you could buy several different oils at the store and taste them back to back. You’ll quickly gain insights into what tastes good vs. what is rancid.

  5. Do you have a particular source for olive oil that you recommend?

    • I buy mine from Chaffin Family Orchards but they are sold out for the year. I know there are a lot of California olive oil farmers out there. It may take some digging, but it’s worth it!

  6. I was very interested to hear your thoughts on how to find good quality olive oil but alas, this seems to have been left out!

    • Here’s what I say in the article: “When buying olive oil look for extra virgin olive oil that has been cold pressed. Unfortunately a lot of olive oil on the market is being adulterated with inferior oils so it’s best to get it from a reputable company or straight from an olive oil farm.”

  7. Salt? Does it really dissolve in the olive oil? Any reason for using the granules instead of fresh garlic? I do use both, but they taste different. Hubby is going to love this. Thank you, Rosalee

    • You never want to use fresh herbs in oil because it bring a risk of botulism. That’s why I stick with dried in this recipe.

  8. Wow I. Wonder how this would also be with other herbs, such as basil??

    • Basil infused into oil is also delicious. There are so many options our there for herbal oils. You just always want to use dried herbs, not fresh to avoid the risk of botulism.

  9. can you recommend quality olive oil, we use organic but it could be tainted with other stuff?

    • Here’s some tips for getting good quality olive oil. Look for cold pressed and extra virgin. Buy directly from a farm so you know the quality and freshness. If that isn’t possible try a variety of different brands, taste them back to back so you can start to develop an awareness of the different tastes. Talk to your current olive oil company about their quality assurances.

  10. What are garlic granules? Will minced cloves of garlic work?
    Also, regarding Ruby’s question about ‘olive oil info’, may I offer an article I wrote for a sustainability group in NW Montana, titled Adulterated or Fake Olive Oil, which can be found at the following url: http://essentialstuff.org/index.php/2014/01/22/Cat/adulterated-fake-olive-oil/

    • Garlic granules are basically dried garlic. You want to avoid using fresh garlic to avoid a risk of botulism.

    • That was a very informative article Catherine. Thank you.

  11. Thank you so much! You are awesome :-) Merry Christmas!

  12. All is really new to me; but at the same time very interesting. I would love to try it.

  13. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Love the chili oil

  14. photo’s are stunning, very well done! and info. awesome too!

  15. The grocery store that I normally shop at doesn’t have a good selection of organic oils, so my only option, recently, was the private label brand associated with the store. I knew the moment I opened it that it wasn’t a keeper. I’ve used oiive oils for years and this one had a very distinct smell that made me go … ewwwww. I don’t know if it is just “yucky” olive oil or is actually rancid. I just know that I don’t want to have anything to do with it.

    I’m now on a mission to more thoroughly analyze the organic oils available at other local stores (and return them if necessary), then possibly consider obtaining olive oil from one of the local Texas olive ranches. Sounds like it’s time for a weekend trip to a couple of those ranches, for a tour!

    When it comes to those pouring spouts, what should we look for? I’m concerned that the spouts I have seen are allowing the olive oil to be exposed to air, allowing it to become rancid before its time. I like the idea of a spout, because the bottles I have used, in the past, tend to pour too freely. But, the exposure to air is of concern to me.

  16. Thank you! Love the recipe. Please make these recipes printable, along with the beautiful pictures. Thank you for considering.

    • Sure! Simply select PRINT under the FILE menu of your browser. That simple!

  17. Thanks guys, you all are so knowledgeable, helpful friendly and professional. You are such a wonderful gift to the herbal community, and those like me who are trying to learn without leaving home to attend a formal herbalism school. Thanks for all you do….John keep looking forward to the vision of what you will be able to accomplish in another 10 years…the sky’s not even your limit!

    • You’re welcome!!! :)

  18. Happy Holidays! Thanks for all the wonderful information and fabulous recipes!

  19. On the note of rancidity…I had learned olive oil is not stable at high heat, i.e. you shouldn’t really be cooking with olive oil. Using the oil cold or room temp is preferred. Any thoughts? Sorry I don’t have references…

    • ps thanks so much for the recipes and continued fantastic work! happy holidays and I’m looking forward to more in the new year!

  20. I started last year with the Taste of Herbs course . I have loved and totally enjoyed every thing I have learned and discovered along the way. I appreciate your teaching style and the depth of knowledge you share. We have been a totally herbal household since last November and haven’t been sick at all. I *WISH* there would be a Taste of Herbs 2!
    I’ve bought your Herbal remedy kit and Learning Herbs game and Herbal Fairies series We use the game as a family activity with grand kids and everyone gets involved.
    In the Spring we found wild violets and made wild violet lemonade and infused oil with the leaves. The kids reach for plantain while playing if they get scraped. . .it’s great to see them connecting with nature.
    Keep it all coming! You guys are the best!
    Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy Holidays to all of you!

  21. As a Chef with 27yrs experience in kitchens, I have always insisted on using only high quality cold pressed EVOO. I use it for everything with the exception of desserts. Olive oil does burn at temperatures above 375, but if you sauté on medium heat and allow the sauté pan to heat up sufficiently before adding the olive oil and don’t walk away, you will be just fine cooking with olive oil. I’ve also used EVOO for making infused olive oils in restaurants, as the executive chef why should I order over priced basil infused olive oil? just save the basil stems and steep them in olive oil at a very low temp for about 20 minutes and you’ve got a basil oil that will taste better than anything you can buy on the shelf. same goes for any other herb, take an oven safe earthen ware crock or sauce pan, throw in basil, parsley and rosemary, and thyme stems, a couple table spoons of crushed red pepper, a hand full of whole garlic cloves, a healthy pinch of sea salt or kosher salt, put it in a oven set at 325 for about then strain and bottle and you’ve got the best tasting olive in the world for dipping your crusty loaf of French or Italian bread into, or add some red wine vinegar, a dash of lemon juice and shake it up good, toss in some minced shallots and chives and you’ve got a dynamite quick vinaigrette for your salad. easy peasy japaneasy and damn tasty if I might add. oh and its smack yo mamma good drizzled on bowtie pasta tossed with toasted pine nuts, halved kalamata olives, feta cheese and some sautéed spinach with fresh sliced roma or halved cherry tomatoes.

    • I forgot to mention oven steeping the olive oil for about 45 minutes.

    • Hi Sonja!
      Well! You have just made my
      Mouth water with those descriptive spicy food words you put together up there !
      I will be making this recipe
      And trying
      Some
      Of yours as well! Tjank You!!!

  22. Finding spices has been hard for me in the past. A shop opened a few years ago “near” called Penzey’s. It’s the closest I can get to decent spices, etc now.

    • Hit ‘enter’ accidentally.
      Will have to see if Penzey sells smoked chili’s or peppers :)

      • We’ve been using Penzey’s spices in our home for many years. High quality herbs. Nice to be able to smell and taste samples of everything in their stores too!
        Smoked paprika is sooo good, and several others!

  23. Well…I live hot stuff, olive oil, and pizza..this will be on my table asap.

    Just joined the site…love it…will definitely be staying..

    Have a safe and prosperous new year to all,

    Scottie

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