Peperoncino Oil

My favourite little Italian restaurant is near my youngest son’s university campus. When we visit him at school, we invariably go there and enjoy a pizza or pasta with wine on tap. Wine on tap? Who would have thought it would come to that.

As a condiment, there is always Peperoncino Oil on the table. You take a little spoonful, and apply it to your pasta or pizza to add some more dip. It can even be used as an oil to directly toss your pasta in. I love to make my own spice mixes and preserves and so I have always wanted to give this a try. I had hoped to use peppers from my garden, – last year I grew ghost peppers, this year poblano. But if you can believe it, they disappeared from the vine before I could bring them in. Which crazy bird or squirrel took them, and do you think they survived?

Photo by John Lambeth on

The chef at my favourite restaurant said that he uses only fresh hot chili peppers and extra virgin olive oil. The restaurant’s version is lovely, but I was worried about spoilage. If there is no vinegar or preservative, how would you prevent bacteria from sprouting? There are several fresh pepper versions of peperoncino oil on the internet, but I decided to follow the instructions of “The McCallums’s Shamrock Patch” blog at which uses dried peppers.

The worst part of this process was finding dried chili peppers. None of my grocery stores carried them. I finally found some in the international food section of my local Walmart. If I didn’t find them there, I was headed to Bulk Barn to see if there were some.

Dried Chili Peppers

I sterilized some jars and lids, by boiling for 5 minutes in a large pot.

Then I emptied some peppers into a large bowl and snipped them into smaller pieces with kitchen scissors. This part I could have done better. Wear gloves to protect your fingers from getting the spices into them – you don’t want to rub your eyes. I should have cut my peppers into smaller pieces, but next time.

Cut up the hot peppers

I kept all the chopped peppers and seeds, pulling out any little stem pieces that I found. I also added a half a cup of dried hot pepper seeds that I had on hand. I was ad libbing here. Then I poured the peppers into 2 sterilized jars, covered with extra virgin olive oil and sealed the jars. I am in the process of shaking the jars up every half day or so – and I’m keeping them in a cool dark place.

Peperoncino Oil

The Peperoncino is lovely, and super spicy, but I am hoping that the oil will soften them up a little bit more in a few days. I am still worried about the oil and peppers spoiling, so I am not sure if I will share these as gifts!

Has anyone else had experience with making Peperoncino Oil? Do you have any advice?

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