Szechuan Pepper Oil

As I am “fending for myself,” I can produce a specialty oil for stir-fries, sauces, soups, and the like. I could make a supply as I was gifted a packet of good-quality peppercorns at Christmas.

One item that I have not been able to acquire is Sichuan or Szechuan Pepper oil. When eaten, Sichuan pepper produces a tingling, numbing effect. In addition, the spice transforms and enhances other flavors tasted together or shortly after. By infusing a neutral oil with the toasted and cracked peppercorns, we can acquire the taste effects in a simple-to-use manner. This oil is often used in conjunction with chili oil in Szechuan recipes.

One wonders if these flavor enhancers can be added directly to an infused chili oil, or if a good quality pepper flake can be added to this process. (Another case of cultural misappropriation).

As this alters the spice profile of other ingredients, I suggest starting with minor additions to known recipes.

Methods of production vary; for my use, I will toast and crack the peppercorns, then add them to a neutral oil and allow them to infuse over time.

From Wikipedia:

Sichuan pepper, also known as Szechuan pepper, Szechwan pepper, Chinese prickly ash, Chinese pepper, and mala pepper, is a spice commonly used in Sichuan cuisine. Despite its name, Sichuan pepper is not closely related to black pepper or chili peppers. It is made from plants of the genus Zanthoxylum in the family Rutaceae, which includes citrus and rue.

When eaten, Sichuan pepper produces a tingling, numbing effect due to the presence of hydroxy-alpha sanshool. The spice has the effect of transforming other flavors tasted together or shortly after. It is used in Sichuan dishes such as mapo toufu and Chongqing hot pot, and is often added together with chili peppers to create a flavor known as málà “numb-spiciness”.

Szechuan Pepper Oil

Adds a fragrant pepper flavor for sautéing, stir-fry, dipping sauces, or anywhere you’d like to add a mouth numbing, lemon zing to your meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Ingredient
Cuisine Asian
Servings 0.25 Cup
Calories 1980 kcal


  • 1/4 cup neutral oil Peanut, Avocado
  • 2 tbsp Szechuan Peppercorns


  • Heat a medium saucepan over high-heat for approximately 30 seconds.
  • Add the peppercorns and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Move peppercorns around the pan (approximately 20 seconds) or until they start to smoke and become aromatic, being careful not to let the peppercorns burn. 
  • Once cooled, transfer peppercorns to a bowl and lightly mince them by crushing the shells with the back of a spoon.
  • Pour the peppercorn into a glass jar.
  • Using the same pan, heat the oil over medium heat 1-2 minutes or util it begins to smoke.
  • Carefully pour the oil over the peppercorns and store in your pantry.


This is one of those ingredients you do not find at the local mega-mart, but it adds so much to the taste of various soup and noodle dishes, as well as stir-frys, and dipping sauces
Alternatively, one can toast, crush the peppercorns, and add unheated oil.  Then leave it to infuse over a more extended period.
This should last up to three months in the cupboard.


Calories: 1980kcalFat: 224gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 63gMonounsaturated Fat: 142gTrans Fat: 1g
Keyword Oil, Peppers, Sichuan, Szechuan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

  Filed under: Asian, Condiment, Cultural-Misappropriation, Indo-Chinese, Ingredient, Process, Vegan, Vegetarian

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