Chili crisp (sometimes known as chili crunch) has been commercially sold since the late 1990s. But, it’s seen a rapid rise in popularity over the years, thanks in part to influencers and well-known “foodies” on social media. People can’t get enough of the spicy, savory, crunchy condiment, so it’s no surprise there are a large handful of brands making their own chili crisp now.
Some people swear by a few staples when it comes to ways to use chili crisp. But it’s a more versatile condiment than you might think, and it could be time to expand your chili crip horizons.
Chili crisp recipes are often very simple, letting the condiment shine and perfectly complement the dish you’re using it with. If you’re stuck in a rut with ways to use chili crisp, we’ve got a few suggestions that can kick your favorite dishes up a notch or two.
Add a Fiery Flavor to Fried Eggs
Eggs are a breakfast staple for many, and there’s really no easier way to prepare them than to fry them in a pan with a bit of oil. But, if you’re getting bored with your basic fried eggs on sourdough toast every morning, you can spice things up with chili crisp.
All you really have to do is replace whatever oil you usually use to fry your eggs with a tablespoon or two of chili crisp oil. The oil is infused with wonderful flavors of garlic and spices and will add an instant kick to your eggs.
Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, use the chili crisp as a condiment by drizzling a spoonful or two on top.
Brighten Up a Pasta Dish
Chili crisp doesn’t exactly scream “Italian night,” but there are plenty of people who swear by it as a topping or mix-in for ramen noodles, so why not try it with other noodle dishes?
Toss spaghetti, rigatoni, or even macaroni and cheese with a few tablespoons of chili crisp, top with sliced green onion, fried garlic chips, and a few slices of steak or chicken, and you’ll have a unique, flavorful meal in minutes. It can turn any weekday cooking experience into something far more flavorful and exciting than what you typically make in a hurry.
Go Sweet and Spicy
Chili crisp recipes go beyond savory dishes. You can add chili crisp to some of your favorite baked goods for a complex, interesting, sweet and spicy flavor that will leave your family and friends coming back for more.
Don’t over-complicate things. Adding a tablespoon or two of chili crisp to your favorite brownie, cookie, or cake recipe is a quick and simple way to add flavor and heat. It’ll go especially well with chocolate baked goods, as the heat can bring out the flavor of the chocolate while adding an extra warmth that compliments it perfectly.
Make a Mean Mayo
Want to spice up your favorite sandwich? One of the easiest ways to up the flavor game of just about any basic sandwich is to add a couple of tablespoons of chili crisp into a small bowl of mayo. Mix it up, and spread it on your bread before adding your favorite meats and toppings.
Alternatively, you can mix a couple of tablespoons into softened butter. Once you do, put the butter back in the refrigerator to firm up, and you can use it on your morning toast or bagel.
Mix Up a Spicy Cocktail
There are plenty of drinks that are just better with a kick—a bloody mary, a margarita, or even a warm shot of cinnamon whiskey. But you can make your own version of a spicy cocktail (or mocktail if you’re sober and curious!) by adding about a teaspoon of chili crisp to the concoction.
Add it in with the rest of the ingredients and stir or shake well before pouring it into a cocktail glass. It will add a touch of warm spice and a lot more flavor. You can even invent a new drink and impress your friends with your bartending skills.
We’ve covered a few ways to use chili crisp, but…what is it, exactly? While each brand has its own recipe, and you can even make your own at home, there are a few basic ingredients that make up most chili crisp recipes. The more you understand the ingredients and what they bring to the table, the easier it will be to determine how to use chili crisp to maximize your meals and snacks.
What Is Chili Crisp?
Chili crisp originates from Chinese cuisine. It’s a blend of chiles, dried onion, garlic, soy beans, sugar, MSG, salt, and soybean oil. The ingredients are fried in the hot oil, causing them to become crispy and crunchy, and helping every ingredient (including the oil) become completely immersed in flavor. The oil itself gets infused with the chiles and garlic, and it helps to preserve and maintain the freshness and crunch of the larger ingredients.
Can You Make Your Own Chili Crisp?
You can absolutely make chili crisp at home, and it’s easier than you might think. You’ll want a high-quality oil because you’ll probably be drizzling your chili crisp on things, and the better the oil, the better it will taste.
From there, the sky’s the limit. Your recipe should include the basics like chile peppers, onions, garlic, and MSG. But you can also add things like cinnamon, sesame seeds, or even roasted peanuts for different flavors and textures. Add the oil to a pot with onion, chile peppers, garlic, and MSG. Let everything cook for 20-30 minutes until it becomes crispy, and then mix in your other ingredients. You can store your homemade chili crisp in a sealed jar for up to a month. The flavor will just keep getting better.
What Should You Put Chili Crisp On?
Okay, maybe not anything. But this is an incredibly versatile condiment, so don’t be afraid to play around with flavor combinations. You can keep it simple as a topping for eggs, or go wild and put a dollop or two on your favorite chocolate ice cream.
You can put chili crisp on sandwiches, salads, pastas, soups, and stir it into sauces to add depth of flavor and heat.
Whether you’re new to the world of chili crisp or not, give some of these suggestions a try. There are so many ways to use chili crisp that you’ll never get tired of spicing things up.