Preserved Chillies in Oil

AlexandraCondiments, Gluten Free, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian139 Comments

Preserved Chillies in Oil

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Preserved Chillies in Oil - It's Not Complicated Recipes #vegan #vegetrian #glutenfree #sidedishes

Preserved Chillies in Oil are an ideal way to enhance the flavour of a dish. I regularly make a batch, as I go through them so quickly!

The heat from the preserved chillies will depend on the variety you choose. I always buy the long, slender red chilli, and these generally have a deep warmth without an overt hit.

The heat of the chillies does seem to vary according to the seasons, but even when they are very mild they add a beautiful flavour.

Inspiration for the Preserved Chillies in Oil:

I first came across this style of chilli some years ago at our favourite pizza restaurant. The owner had a personal jar of preserved chillies, his own personal stash.

Knowing how much I enjoyed them, he brought them out whenever we dined there. This pleased him immensely, and his family had been making this style of chilli for generations.

I asked how they preserved the chillies and received some very vague instructions. There was, of course, no actual recipe, just an outline of what they did, so I interpreted and adapted this as best I could and was delighted with the result.

I have now been making these for many years, always having a jar on hand and finding them a useful accompaniment to roast meats, pasta or pizza.

It pleases me very much to be able to pass on the inspiration for this recipe to you also – the chillies are an absolute delight.

Ingredients in the Preserved Chillies in Oil:

Long Red Chillies:

The heat from the preserved chillies will depend on the variety that you choose. I always buy the long, slender, red chillies and these generally have a deep warmth without an overt hit.

The heat of the chillies does seem to vary according to the seasons, but even when they are very mild, they add a beautiful flavour. If you prefer very hot chillies you may like to add a couple of fiery, smaller chillies to your mixture.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Extra virgin olive oil is the finest quality olive oil. It is naturally extracted by crushing the olives; crushing the olives releases their oil.

Wikipedia advises that this ancient practice has been in use since the Greeks began pressing olives over 5,000 years ago. Some lower quality oils are made using heat or chemicals to assist with the extraction of the olive oil.

I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil for the extra flavour it provides. In addition, it is at the heart of the much-praised Mediterranean Diet being an excellent source of healthy fat and health-benefiting antioxidants.

Cooking Salt:

For the vinegar brine, I use coarse kitchen salt, not fine table salt. This may also be known as kosher salt.

White Vinegar:

Distilled white vinegar is often recommended for pickles and preserves. However, you can also use white wine vinegar. They each will have an acidity content of around 5% and when combined with the salt assist in the preservation of the chillies.

How to Make the Preserved Chillies in Oil:

I carefully wash and dry the chillies thoroughly and remove the stalks. I then finely slice the chillies, seeds included.

In a non-reactive bowl (ie: glass or ceramic), I place the chillies. I then prepare a vinegar and salt brine, and cover the chillies with it.

The chillies sit in a vinegar and salt bath for 24 hours which removes some of their moisture and assists with the preservation.

After that time, they are drained, packed into a sterilised jar and completely covered with olive oil. It’s that simple.

They seem to last indefinitely as long as they remain covered with oil, but mine do not last that long.

Tips for Success:

It is important to select firm, brightly coloured, fresh chillies. They should have shiny skins without blemishes. Do not select any with wrinkled skin or soft spots.

Whilst long, red chillies are generally of mild-moderate heat, this is not always the case. For this reason, I recommend that you wear food-safe, disposable gloves when handling the chillies.

Avoid touching your face or eyes as the active ingredient, capsaicin, can irritate the skin and cause burning. Discard your used gloves and carefully wash your cutting board and knife.

Wash the chillies thoroughly in cold water and carefully dry them on a kitchen towel, before slicing them and placing in the vinegar brine.

It is important to soak the chillies at least 24 hours. On occasion, I have left them in the brine for 48 hours without ill effect. The acidic vinegar and the salt are the preserving agents in this recipe.

For freshness and to maintain a vivid colour, I prefer to make the batch size as specified. After topping the brined chillies with olive oil, wait for a few minutes. There will be some air pockets and the oil will drain further. Top up with extra oil if necessary.

To prevent the growth of bacteria, place the brined and drained chillies into a sterilised glass jar. Details for sterilising the jar are in the recipe below.

When it comes to serving the Preserved Chillies in Oil:

This recipe for Preserved Chillies in Oil will enable you to enjoy their spiciness all year. It is an easily prepared condiment which is a great addition to many dishes.

In fact, I have even been known to add it to my breakfast toast with tomato or mashed avocado.

It is delicious on top of pizza or pasta, salads, meat and vegetables.

I serve it with my Greek Chicken and Salsa and Mediterranean Beef Stew, to name a few!

More suggestions for these ingredients:

Long red chillies feature in these tasty recipes:

Other fantastic edible gift ideas:

Preserved Chillies in Oil make the perfect gift!
Here are some more ideas that work well:

Enjoy these delicious Preserved Chillies in Oil. I would love to know what you think in the comments below!
Alex xx

Chillies Preserved in Oil

These preserved chillies are a great condiment to many dishes. You can always have some on hand with this quick and easy recipe for chillies preserved in olive oil.
5 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chillies, condiment, oil, preserved
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Brine Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 15 minutes
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 339kcal
Author: Alexandra


  • 200 gm long red chillies * stem and end removed
  • 30 gm cooking salt *
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil extra virgin


  • Finely slice the long red chillies, seeds included. You may like to wear disposable gloves*.
  • Place chillies into a non-reactive bowl, ie, glass or ceramic.
    Cover with a vinegar and salt brine, using a ratio of 20 gm of salt to 1 cup of vinegar.*
    Stir well, cover and leave for 24 hours.
  • Drain well, place the chillies in a sterilised glass jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil. *
  • There will be some air pockets; wait until the oil has settled, you may need a little extra.

To Sterilise the Jars:

  • Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid and ensure they have been washed by hand in hot soapy water then rinsed well. Check that the metal lids do not have rubber inserts.

    Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C (270 F).

    Place upright jars and lids on a baking tray. Heat in the oven for at least 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool before filling.


* This is the weight of the chillies after the stems had been removed.
* I find the long red chillies have a mild heat. When I want to amp up the heat I add a few of the small, red, very hot chillies.
* If you’re not wearing disposable gloves, be careful and do not touch your eyes.
* Ensure the chillies are covered with the brine solution.
* Always ensure there is sufficient oil to cover the chillies. As you are enjoying them, I use some of the oil in pasta sauces.
* I used course kitchen salt, or Kosher salt. 
* For 200 gm chillies, and the container in which I stored them, I used 1 cup of oil. Depending on the container, you may need a little more.
* This is a flexible recipe and can be made to a smaller quantity. Just use the ratio of 20 gm of salt to 1 cup of vinegar for the brine, and always ensure the chillies are completely covered with olive oil.


Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 11653mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1905IU | Vitamin C: 287.4mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Preserved Chillies in Oil
Gluten Free and Vegan Chillis in Oil - It's Not Complicated Recipes #vegan #glutenfree #chili #chilli #pantry #easyrecipes
Gluten Free and Vegan Chillis in Oil - It's Not Complicated Recipes #vegan #glutenfree #chili #chilli #pantry #easyrecipes
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I'm Alex – a passionate foodie and writer. I love sharing delicious and simple recipes to inspire you in the kitchen. Try a recipe? I'd love to see your creations! #itsnotcomplicatedrecipes

139 Comments on “Preserved Chillies in Oil”

  1. I made three jars of this today. Very excited. One question. How long do you let them sit in the oil before they are ready to eat?

      1. Hello, I have a quick question, I tried making these and it was super easy, but after the first time trying them the oil liquid went an opaque shade and is quite thick. Is this normal?

        1. Hi Eilidh,
          It sounds like the oil has solidified from a cold temperature – ie the fridge. This is normal if the oil gets cold. Once it reaches room temperature (unless it’s very cold inside!) then it will return to liquid. Enjoy!

  2. Hi Alexandra,
    Thank you very much for answering me back. I’m going to try it now with my organic chillies and olive oil which is organic as well.
    Your recipe is the best and not complicated from those I read on other websites. Now I understand very well why you put them in brine for 24h which lower the PH.
    God Bless you and your children,

    1. Thank you for the lovely comments Daniel, I do appreciate them. Organic chillies and oil sound just perfect. Enjoy! 🙂

  3. hi Alexandra,
    your method seems easy to do, I will try it. The reason you put chillies in brine for 24h is to avoid botulism. Correct me if I’m wrong, I would like to know.

    1. Hi Daniel,
      Thanks – I hope you enjoy it!
      Yes, the salt and vinegar act as a preservative and the acidity is designed to prevent botulism.
      Let me know if you give them a try!

    1. Hi Deb! We haven’t tried with vegetable oil to be honest – we prefer the taste of the olive oil. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
      Enjoy – Alex

  4. 5 stars
    I made this with 1200g of Cherry Bomb peppers. I used my food processor to slice peppers. It’s really good! Thank you very much for sharing the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you. You’ve solved the wonderful problem of a glut of chillies which have ripened before i go on holiday tomorrow ?️?️?️?️???

  6. 5 stars
    Wow, this recipe will be very useful. I used to by chillies every now and then in small amount, cuz it just dries as days pass. Preserving it willsave me more time and effort.

  7. 5 stars
    What a fab gift idea! I love chillies so would love to received preserved chillies as a gift.

  8. 5 stars
    This is definitely a project for me for one of the weekends. Great way to prepare chillies and a wonderful way to spend some time in the kitchen. I love the idea of leaving the chillies in a salt and vinegar bath – I’ve used this approach with some other produce before.

  9. 5 stars
    I love chillies and I can think of so may great things to use these for! These are definitely a must keep on hand!

  10. 5 stars
    I have always loved preserved chilies in oil, they are so perfect for so many dishes! Meat dishes, tacos, pizzas, on top of rice, just to name a few! These look perfectly delicious and so easy! Thanks for this recipe!

  11. I have never kept chillies like this before but it’s an awesome idea! Just chillies waiting for you to put in your stews, casseroles etc. I would love to make chilli and garlic olives with this!

  12. 5 stars
    I never thought of preserving chillies in oil! This is a fantastic idea and love how it enhances the flavor!

    1. Hi Heather, I discard the vinegar. Although on occasion I make another batch of chillies and put them in the same vinegar. Hope you try them. 🙂 🙂

  13. I have some Birds Eye chilli. Do I have to chop them up or can I leave them whole. I’m going to try this recipe it looks fantastic. Thank you.

    1. Hi Brenda!
      I have only ever prepared this recipe with whole chillies, so I would be inclined to suggest chopping them first. If you do try them whole, however, I would be curious to know how you get on.
      Hope you enjoy the chillies!

    1. Hello Andrea!
      I would give them a stir a couple of times – they should start to sink as they take on the brine.
      Most important for them to be well covered once you get to the stage of placing them in the oil 🙂
      Let me know how you get on!

  14. 5 stars
    I remember my mom used to make this preserve and good spices for our table. It is affordable to prepare too.

  15. 5 stars
    How I love chillies! Spicy meals are my favorites. Thanks for letting me know that I can soak them up in vinegar and the oil…does it sound less spicy? I suppose.

  16. Looks delicious! Nomnom! I love chillies, the hotter the better but always am afraid to buy more because I hate it when products get spoiled. Your way sounds ideal to me

      1. Hi there. Brand new to the site.
        Love it. Have some home grown long red skinny chillies and want to make Christmas gifts. Going to thrift stores for some unique jars.
        Thank you

  17. These look good to add to sauces and other dishes. About how long will they last and do they have to be refrigerated? I tend to use condiments slowly in dishes so I might have to decrease the number of chillies I use.

    1. Hi Dominique!
      They do not have to be refrigerated – I just keep mine in the pantry.
      They will last for about 6 months – just make sure the oil is always covering the chilli 🙂

  18. 5 stars
    Sounds delish and so damn SIMPLE too. I always have pickled chili’s in the fridge but might try this method when they run out

  19. Thanks, this is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Every other recipe I read wants you to roast the chillis, which destroys their texture and heat.

    You need to revise the note at the end – you’ve referred to a salt:water ratio instead of salt:vinegar.

    Thanks again. Now we can keep most of the chillis we grow for our own use instead of giving away the excess crop during the season and having to buy in later. All part of being self-sufficient! (May give away preserved ones for gifts though…)

  20. Pingback: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes - It's Not Complicated Recipes

  21. 5 stars
    I got a lovely stash of dried chilies. I am going to try it with them. I have 12 different kinds and I think they would be awesome infused in oil.

  22. This is one of my favorite things! My 90 year old Caribbean gma still makes this and uses it for so many dishes!

  23. Thank you for sharing the recipe for your preserve chillies oil. I sometimes make the same thing.

  24. I can’t do spicy food but I wonder if this works for other peppers like the sweet ones? I know this method is common in many other countries because they do not have electricity all the time…

    1. Hello Rose, no need to refrigerate – just store in the pantry/a cupboard 🙂 The oil would solidify if refrigerated. Just make sure the oil level doesn’t get too low, and you’ll be fine.

    1. Hi Lorraine – I haven’t tried it with whole chilli before, so I couldn’t say for sure. If you do give it a try though, please let me know how it goes 🙂

  25. Hi. I’m so excited by this recipe, can’t wait to try it…thing is, I have an amazing chili plant at home but it’s been a little neglected and the chili’s on the bush are basically dried, I still use them for different things but could I still soak them in the brine to bring them back to life and make the oil? Or should I show my plant some love and use the next fresh batch that grow?? Thanks x

    1. Hi Alanna – I would use a fresh batch for this application. But your dried ones do not have to go to waste… you could use a little olive oil straight on them and make a dried chilli oil! Will be quite different to this recipe but delicious all the same xx

  26. This is awesome! And so simple! I’m a sucker for anything spicy, so I’ll definitely be making this!

  27. I love chili peppers! Whenever I make homemade tacos (I just did last night!), I like adding chili peppers for that extra bit of heat.

    Thanks for the tip! x


    1. Hi Jess! 🙂 I use the milder long chillies for this – it gives a nice warmth, without the overwhelming heat of some chillies. Hope you get to try it, and please let me know what you think 🙂

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