Tacos Oscar's Magical Chile Oil

This recipe comes from Oscar Michel, founder and chef of one of our favorite Oakland restaurants, Tacos Oscar. Oscar's fried egg taco is such a beloved, signature dish on his vegetable-forward menu, that fried eggs even feature in the restaurant's logo!

For a fried egg taco ladled with Oscar's magic chile oil we think there's no better implement than 'Alice's Egg Spoon' but at Tacos Oscar eggs are fried directly on the plancha. To get an extra crispy egg, make sure to fry in plenty of olive oil.

Oscar Michel's Chile Oil

"This is one of many versions of chile oil we've made. This recipe here was adapted for a smaller batch to be consumed at home. We usually make 5–6 quarts at a time!


  • teaspoons coriander seeds
  • scant teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • dried guajillo chiles, deseeded & destemmed
  • dried aji amarillo chiles, deseeded & destemmed
  • dried pasilla chile, deseeded & destemmed
  • 2 tbsp raw white sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil, plus more for frying chiles
  • dried chiles de arbol, seeds optional
  • clove garlic
  • Salt
  • tablespoon red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 350º

Place guajillo, aji and pasilla chiles on a sheet tray in a middle rack and toast in the oven for a few minutes, turning frequently so that they do not burn. Once aromatic, remove from the oven to cool. Once cooled, grind in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Toast coriander, cumin and mustard seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, set aside to cool.

Place a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the garlic clove and arbol chiles until chiles are toasted but not burnt. Remove chiles and garlic clove. Set aside to cool, grind into a paste in a mortar & pestle with a pinch of salt. Reserve cooking oil. NOTE: For longer shelf-life, use a half teaspoon of garlic powder instead of a garlic clove. Fry the arbol chiles solo and add the garlic powder at the steeping step below.

Transfer all the ground chiles, ground spices and garlic/arbol paste and chile arbol frying oil into a saucepan and add 1.5 cups of olive oil. Heat on low, stirring constantly and incorporating with a whisk for about five minutes. Once hot and fragrant, set aside to steep for 30 minutes.

Lastly, stir in the vinegar and whole, toasted sesame seeds and cool completely before storing. Add salt to taste.

At Tacos Oscar we usually pair our fried egg tacos with queso fresco, pickled onions and cilantro. Fresh pressed tortillas are a must. And of course a drizzle of this chile oil which goes great on literally anything. Probably not ice cream though? But there are some freaks out there!"

. . .
Oscar grew up in a Mexican household in Los Angeles, before making his way north to study city planning at U.C. Berkeley and play music. He could never quite imagine owning a restaurant but he had worked in the kitchens of local establishments, all while dreaming of a taco made with a freshly-pressed tortilla—then still a rare thing in the Bay Area food world. 

What began as a street food pop-up—Oscar was hawking his now-famous fried egg tacos on the streets of Oakland to immense crowds—is now a community cornerstone. Based on 40th street in Oakland, in the tight quarters of a shipping container with just a modest back courtyard, Oscar has been transforming the local culinary scene. Oscar focuses heavily on seasonal, local vegetables—think 'Cherry Tomato Tostada with Yuzu Kosho' or 'Charred Broccoli Tacos'—effectively pushing the boundaries of what might be expected from Mexican cuisine.

On top of it all, Oscar and his crew have found countless ways to use their platform for good: to support the community, regularly making donations to mutual aid and human rights advocacy organizations like CALMA: Collective Action for Laborers, Migrants & Asylum Seekers. We love Tacos Oscar!