Last Updated: Apr 25, 2023 @ 1:37 pm.

What is the best chili oil? We took 14 of the most popular chili oils and started cooking—we made stir fry, omelettes, pho and . . . just plain ol' chili. Which was best? Here are the ones that passed muster.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep our reviews independent, we don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader supported! So we greatly appreciate you reading our article on the best chili oils!

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Best Chili Oil Overall

Simple ingredients: chilis, soybean oil
Loved this chili oil, which adds just enough kick to dishes like potstickers and dumplings. Slightly fruity flavor. Not too hot.
$4.08 ($0.58 / Fl Oz)

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Best Chili Oil Overall: Lee Kum Kee Lkk Chili Oil

Sometimes simple is best.

After trying out 14 different chili oils in a variety of dishes, we pick Lee Kim Kee LKK Chili Oil as the best overall.

This simple chili oil has just two ingredients: red chilies and soybean oil. Perhaps that explained why it performed best across a range of recipes, from a basic oil for stir fry to a dip for dumplings. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Flavor notes include a touch of fruit such as plums.

• Mild heat—zip without being too zippy.

• Simple ingredients.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Not hot enough for some folks. 

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Best Splurge Chili Oil

Made in Japan, amazing flavor!
Wow! This chili oil with crunchy garlic is simply out of this world. Loved it with dumplings! Caveat: contains MSG and is NOT gluten free. And the garlic flavor is too much for some folks!
$6.99 ($1.79 / Ounce)

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Best Splurge Chili Oil: S & B Chili Oil with Crunchy Garlic

One of our readers best summed this chili oil: “it’s magic . . . in a little jar.”

And we have to agree—S&B Chili Oil With Crunchy Garlic should come with a surgeon general’s warning . . . this stuff can become habit forming!

After we tried this on dumplings, we were tempted to throw out the rest of the chili oil we were testing and just crown this stuff the winner overall. The only downside: it is quite pricey! We think it is worth the splurge, though.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Made in Japan.

• Crunchy texture. Amazing!

• Favorite as dipping sauce for dumplings.

•  Great as a finishing sauce for fish dishes.

• Flavor is very addictive!

What Needs Work

• Pricey!

• Contains MSG. 

• Has gluten.

• Jar contains BPA warning.

• Not exactly a “clean” food. This jar somewhat indecipherable ingredients like disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, and mixed tocopherols.

• Allergy alert: contains tree nuts (almond), sesame.

Best Chili Oil Sauce

Wonderful—but contains MSG
We loved this chili oil sauce, with a crunchy, flavor-packed punch. Gluten free and not too hot. The texture is the star here—it should come with a label warning this sauce can be very addictive!

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Best Chili Oil Sauce: Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp

It your chili oil tastes run toward thicker, sauce-type oils, this is the one we’d recommend: Spicy Chili Crisp. It is most flavorful, with a bit of crunch—perfect as a condiment and dipping sauce. It topped our tests when we used it in recipes that required a thicker sauce.

What We Liked

• Wowza! This sauce is packed with flavor.

• Gluten free.

• Not too hot.

• Crunchy flavor texture.

• Loved it with ramen.

What Needs Work

• Contains MSG.

• Not exactly a health food. This jar is packed with salt. Which is probably why it tastes so good.

• Must be refrigerated upon opening.

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Best Budget-Friendly

Rich bold flavor, with right heat level
This blend of sesame oil, red peppers and sea salt is fantastic! Delicious with no artificial flavors or colors. Caveat: touch of olive oil turns off some folks.
$11.75 ($1.45 / Fl Oz)

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Best Budget-Friendly Oil: Sichuan Drizzle Chinese Chili Oil

Chili oil is addictive! And like any habit, it can get expensive.

Good news: one of the top chili oils in our tests is also easy on the wallet: Sichuan Drizzle Chinese Chili Oil. Loved the flavor here, which mixes red peppers, sesame oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Here’s more:

What We Liked

 Rich flavor!

• We loved it on noodle dishes and stir fry.

• No artificial colors.

• No artificial flavors.

• No preservatives.

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Too hot? Not hot enough? We thought this chili oil had just the right amount of heat. But some of our testers thought it was too hot. And a few even thought it was too mild. Go figure!

• Olive oil? While we loved the taste of this chili oil, there is a distinct minor flavor note of olive oil. And sometimes that clashed with the Chinese food recipe we tried, as olive oil isn’t exactly a neutral flavor. In the end, we still recommend it . . . with the caveat that some purists may find that flavor note off.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported.

Credit for photo at top of article: Percy Pham, Unsplash

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