First post on this exchange so I hope this is appropriate!

Anyway, I don't cook much, so I made something simple following this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSSF4O4o2eE Since I love chili.

Anyways, I have it bottled, and I didn't refrigerate it the past few days. If it's been on the shelf (and stays on the shelf) how long do I have till it goes bad? I cant really tell...

And, since it may be a lost cause for my current recipe, how can I lengthen its shelf life for the future? Recipe looks pretty simple, can't imagine adding anything that wont mess up the intended flavor.


1 cup vegetable oil 1/4 kilogram garlic, chopped 15 pieces bird's eye chilies (add more if you want it spicier) 2 tablespoons salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 tablespoons brown sugar 3/4 cup water

1 Pour oil in a preheated pan, add the garlic and let it cook for 5 minutes.

2 Add the chilies, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Allow to cook for 5 minutes over low heat.

3 Add water then let it simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the garlic turns dark brown. Mix occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning.

  • 2
    Can you post the actual recipe rather than needing us to watch the video please?
    – Catija
    Apr 24, 2017 at 23:32
  • From a very fast skim through without sound, looks like it's basically just minced chiles and garlic cooked in oil.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 24, 2017 at 23:37
  • @Catija, yes, what Jefromi said. ingredients are pretty basic. I will update the op.
    – Aroueterra
    Apr 25, 2017 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


This is absolutely unsafe - it's a botulism risk. This isn't a matter of it going bad in the sense of becoming obviously spoiled and unpleasant to eat, it's a matter of it being a safety risk - it could look totally fine, but send you to the hospital.

What you're making should not be kept unrefrigerated at all. It's safe for short periods refrigerated, or essentially indefinitely in the freezer. The FDA's ultimate conclusion in this document on vegetables and herbs in oil is 4 days in the refrigerator. They do say that 10 days in the refrigerator is safe if it's 3-5C, and the recommended fridge temperatures are indeed 40F/4C or below, but many fridges are warmer than that, at least in spots (nearly 30%, according to that paper).

We have a past question, Botulism, Garlic, Cold pressed Olive oil and mason jars, covers in more detail exactly why this sort of thing is a botulism risk. It is possible to make it safe with just garlic and oil, through a very specific process (see for example How to make garlic oil in a safe way...tomorrow), and the same also works with certain herbs and oil, but that won't help you with your chili-garlic sauce. As the PDF linked from there says:

The acidification procedure was developed for garlic, basil, oregano, and rosemary. Do not use it with other vegetables or herbs until the appropriate research has been conducted.

When confronted with this sort of advice, people often point out that things like this have been made by people all the time in the past, and they never got sick. It's true, many people never got sick. But it's also true that people have gotten severely ill from this sort of thing. Unless you want to take that risk, you have to go with the strict guidelines.

  • This is honestly quite enlightening. Didn't know garlic on oil had this effect. Definitely at least keeping it in the right conditions. Though with those risks, I wonder if it's even worth preparing at all since it's mostly unavoidable without lasting less than a week. (Planned to make a batch). One of the videos I looked up even mentioned it would last up to 2 months, so I thought it was safe. The facts are against that however. My reference
    – Aroueterra
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:07
  • Yeah, when people say it lasts that long, they're generally basing it on tradition and obvious spoilage (as I alluded to in the last paragraph. And in that sense, yes, it does last two months. But there's a small risk that in that time it's become invisibly dangerous to eat, which people aren't going to realize unless they go do some research, or are unlucky enough to have actually encountered the consequences.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:14
  • @Arvayne Although this batch might be a loss, if you make this again you can easily keep most of it in the freezer and pull out portions for use within 3-4 days. The recipe also looks pretty easy to scale down to a half batch.
    – logophobe
    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:49
  • 1
    Unlike plain garlic oil, though, pressure canning might be an option here. Mar 16, 2018 at 19:32

Check out jamie olivers how to make chillie sauce... he keeps his for a year as long as you put in a steralized kilner style bottle... also fresh stuff will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks

  • Would you please provide links to an online source for the Jamie Oliver reference and also to the documentation for the shelf stability statement?
    – elbrant
    Feb 18, 2019 at 3:11

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