Wednesday, June 19 2024

Calabrian chili holy oil is a typical and popular specialty of Italy

Chili pepper, as well as in other traditional cuisines, such as Indian, for example, has always been part of the culinary tradition of our South.

The spicy oil derived from it, also called “holy” precisely because it is capable-almost miraculously-of giving flavor to any dish, is one of the most beloved and well-known recipes.

Its preparation is simple and looks like a perfect way to preserve the chilies themselves, which can thus be used even in winter, as well as to always have a simple universal flavor enhancer on hand.


Holy oil can be prepared with many different types of chili peppers, depending on personal taste and availability at the time. What exactly does it consist of?

It is a spicy oil in which typical Calabrian chili peppers have been macerated and, depending on the variety, it can be more or less spicy or more or less sweet.

In fact, there are countless varieties of chili peppers with very different levels of spiciness.

This property is always related to capsaicin content and measured on the Scoville scale to determine sweetness or spiciness.

This scale depends, of course, on the concentration of the active ingredient, which is deeply related to where the chili pepper is grown, i.e., climate and soil.





  • 7 oz of fresh Calabrian chilies
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste.
  • Fine salt, if needed
  • vinegar to taste


  • Gloves
  • Colander
  • Glass jar with airtight stopper
  • Canning press



Before you begin, remember to use gloves when preparing the chilies and, if necessary, protective eyewear as well.

At this point, wash the chiles in cold water, then remove the stems, dry them with kitchen paper and slice them very thinly with a knife.

Tradition dictates that the seeds should not be removed.

Place them in a plastic strainer and put the strainer in a bowl, add plenty of salt to the chiles until they are covered.

Cover with a cotton cloth and let them sit overnight.

The next day, you will see that the chiles will have lost a lot of water, which will have been collected from the basin below.

Dry them with kitchen paper, put them in a clean basin, add vinegar and soak the chiles to give them an acid bath, which will increase their acidity: this will sterilize them, preventing the growth of unwanted bacteria.

Remove them after 3-4 minutes from the vinegar bath and dry them with kitchen paper.

Put them back in the colander and cover them with salt. Let them stand again for 12 hours.

After 12 hours, dry them with kitchen paper and place them in previously sterilized glass jars.

Add enough extra virgin olive oil to cover them completely.

Add a press and let them sit for 1 month, protected from light, in a cool, dry place.

A little trick is to store the jar in a paper bread bag inside the pantry.

After 30 days, you can enjoy your spicy holy oil on any dish you like!




The best way to store holy oil is definitely to store it in glass bottles, preferably dark or covered with aluminum foil, and store it in a cool, dark place.

Another important factor for proper storage is a good bottle seal.

Oxygen is what immediately deteriorates the quality of your holy oil by oxidizing it, along with the action of light.

So choose the most suitable container and place that possesses these characteristics to store your product.

Remember that the shelf life can be up to 2 years if stored properly.

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