Start to Finish: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 1 pint-size jar
Habanero hot pepper oil is a wonderful way to add spice and heat to a dish. Infused oils have a lot of flavor and a little oil goes a long way. You can use just a few drops to add significant heat to a dish, or cook meats and vegetables in a small amount of pepper oil to give it a spicy kick.
The skin of the habanero pepper is very hot and can irritate skin and eyes if contact is made. Be very cautious and scrub your hands thoroughly after handling the peppers, or wear gloves while making the habanero oil to be certain that no residual oil will rub off onto your skin.
- 1 3/4 cup oil
- 3 to 4 dried habanero peppers
Use grapeseed oil for the best-tasting hot pepper oil.
Step 1: Prepare the Oil & Peppers
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat until it is just about to simmer.
Break up the peppers so as to fully disperse their flavor and heat.
Step 2: Steep the Peppers
Add the habanero peppers to the oil and remove from heat.
Steep the peppers in the oil for 30 to 60 minutes. The longer the steeping time, the hotter the oil. Don't allow the peppers to steep for longer than 90 minutes as the oil will likely be too hot for any but the bravest of souls.
Step 3: Drain & Jar the Oil
Remove the peppers from the oil either using a slotted spoon or by straining the peppers out.
Pour the oil into a clean pint-size jar and seal. Use as desired. Store the oil in a cool, dark place and it will keep for two to three months.
The oil will be almost simmering when there's motion, like a gentle shiver, but without bubbles rising toward the surface of the oil.
You can also substitute fresh habanero peppers for dried habanero peppers. Make three to four cuts on the sides of the habanero peppers. The cuts allow the heat to permeate through the oil without requiring excessive straining to get all the pieces out, which happens with sliced peppers. Fresh pepper oil will keep refrigerated for three to four weeks. Check the refrigerated oil regularly after the three-week mark, as the oil can become rancid. Even if it seems okay, throw away any remaining oil after one month.
Hot habanero pepper oil can benefit from other flavors added to it. Try additions, such as peppercorn, lime or orange zest, cardamom, fresh or roasted garlic and even cocoa powder to create a unique twist on traditional hot pepper oil.