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jar of chillies with lid, tied with some string, and some jars and a bowl of chillies in the background.

Preserved Chillies in Oil

Elevate the flavour of many dishes with these delicious Preserved Chillies in Oil! So simple to make.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Brine Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 15 minutes
Servings 1 400ml Jar
Calories 2058kcal
Author Alexandra


  • 200 gm (7 ounces) long red (cayenne) chillies See Notes 1 and 2
  • 1 ½ tablespoon (30 g) coarse cooking salt See Notes 3 and 4
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) white vinegar (5% acidity) See Note 5
  • 1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil See Note 6


To Sterilise the Jars:

  • Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid and ensure they have been washed in the dishwasher or by hand in hot soapy water then rinsed well. Check that the metal lids do not have rubber inserts - if they do, allow them to air dry instead of placing in the oven.
    Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C (270 F). Place the jars and lids on a baking tray. Heat in the oven for at least 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool before filling.

To Prepare the Chillies:

  • To begin, carefully wash and thoroughly dry the chillies. Then, remove the stalks and finely slice the chillies, seeds included. Do not use any which have blemishes or bruises.
  • 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. After cutting the chillies, discard your used gloves and carefully wash your cutting board and knife.
  • In a non-reactive glass or ceramic bowl, (see Note 7), prepare a vinegar and salt brine. Combine the two ingredients and stir them well. Add the chillies along with their seeds. Ensure that they are covered with the brine, adding more if necessary, using a ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt for each cup of vinegar.
  • Stir the chillies then cover them with cling wrap and set them aside in their vinegar and salt bath for a minimum of 24 hours. Stir once or twice during this time. This process removes some of their moisture, increases acidity and assists with the preservation. (See Note 8)
  • After that time, drain the chillies well in a fine sieve, discard the vinegar, pack the chillies into the sterilised jar (see Note 9) and completely cover with olive oil. There will be some air pockets; wait until the oil has settled, you may need to add a little extra.
  • Store the chillies in a cool, dark place. The chillies will last for about 3 months, but are best consumed within the first 2 as they soften in texture the longer they sit in the oil.
    Alternatively, you may prefer to store them in the refrigerator. The olive oil will solidify and become cloudy but will become liquid again when the chillies return to room temperature. For this reason, some readers have used another oil but we prefer the taste of olive oil. 
    Always use clean utensils when removing the chillies from the oil.



  1. This is the weight of the chillies after the stems have been removed.  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.
  2. I find that cayenne chillies generally have a mild heat. When I want to increase the heat I add a few of the small, red, very hot chillies.
  3. Use coarse kitchen salt, or Kosher salt. Do not use table salt; it is finer and the chillies will become too salty.
  4. The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may have to adjust the measurements accordingly.
  5. You can use distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar. They each will have an acidity content of around 5%. For this recipe, we do not recommend apple cider vinegar as it has a lower acidity level. Do not use vinegar which is specifically sold for cleaning purposes; it has a much higher acidity content and is not intended for culinary purposes.
  6. Always ensure there is sufficient oil to cover the chillies. 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 to use a little more.
  7. Acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, may react with bowls made from aluminium, copper or iron, causing the ingredients to discolour and possibly take on a metallic taste.
  8. On occasion, for the sake of convenience, I have left the chillies in their brine for more than 24 hours without ill effect.
  9. To prevent the growth of bacteria, it is essential that the jar be properly sterilised and always use clean utensils when removing chillies from the jar.
  10. Please note, the nutritional information is based on the entire jar (including the oil). The nutritional information is an estimate only. 


Calories: 2058kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 217g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Sodium: 10495mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg