When in doubt, chili crisp out

You should add more crunchy textures and spicy and savory flavors to your life.

Read Time: 5 minutes
Adding an egg to french fries totally makes it breakfast. Hot chili crisp on top turns it into brunch.

If you’re not familiar with chili crisp (sometimes called chili crunch), then I’ve got some things to teach you today. I’m not a chili crisp scientist or historian, nor do I consider myself to be an expert on the condiment, but I have eaten a lot of it and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at least once.

At its most basic, chili crisp is fried chili peppers mixed with crunchy fried garlic, onions, oil and other ingredients to make an oily, crisp, savory condiment. Many chili crisps will have an addition of something like mushroom powder or even MSG to add extra savory umami and flavor.

Many versions of chili crisp will have Sichuan peppercorns which have a mouth numbing effect and some will have soybeans, black beans or peanuts in the mix. I have about six or seven versions of chili crisp in my fridge now and they’re all different. It seems the main goal of all the recipes is to add crunch, savoriness and spice in that order.

Hate spice? If you’re not a fan of spicy/heat flavors, many chili crunches have a mild option available that offers a tiny bit of spice but mostly focuses on being a savory, crunchy condiment.

How to use chili crisp

Almost any time I’ve tweeted about chili crisp I get a question from someone asking, “I put it on eggs, but what else should I do with the condiment?” Hopefully some of the recipes below will help inspire you to try to use chili crisp in different ways.

The most often use of chili crisp in my house is when we are snacking on cheese and crackers. I spoon a tiny bit on top of the cheese on a cracker and get down to work. But chili crisp works great on lots of different dishes.

Here are just a few things that most chili crisp companies suggest you should put chili crisp on:

  • pizza
  • eggs
  • french fries
  • noodle dishes
  • ice cream
  • avocado toast (shout out to millennials)
  • breakfast cereal

Ok, the last one is a joke, but I guess you could try it. I suggest Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Anyway, let’s get down to business.

Passenger chili crisp


This blog post may look like it, but it’s not sponsored. My friend, Phil Wymore, started a new company this year that makes chili crisp. Passenger Foods makes three versions (heat levels) of chili crisp and I bought the mild and hot. I used Passenger chili crisp in all these recipes, but no money has changed hands. I’m just a fan of their flavors.

You can purchase Passenger chili crisp here or you can likely find another version of chili crisp in the Asian section of your grocery store, and you can definitely find many different chili crisp options online.

Some of the recipes I write about today are using the Hot version and some the Mild. When incorporated with cheese or bread, the spiciness of hot foods is dulled. But if you’re skeptical about heat, the Mild version is a condiment that adds savory flavors with crunchy textures.

These are the two flavors of Passenger Chili Crisp that I have in my fridge. They have recently released a Very Hot Chili Crisp version, but I haven’t tried that one yet.

Here are the ingredients in Passenger Foods Hot and Mild chili crunch.

The Hot version has jalapeno and serrano chilis.
The Mild version uses New Mexico hatch chilis for pepper flavor but less heat.

Hi. This is a sandwich blog, let’s make sandwiches

We’re going to make three sandwiches with a focus on chili crisp. First, it’s going to be a hot dog. I bet you folks have heard of hot dogs.

The chili crisp hot dog

Hot dog time. Let’s make a hot dog.

Hot dog with cream cheese, chili crisp and crispy fried shallots on a homemade toasted potato hot dog bun.

My chili crisp hot dog needs to have the emphasis on the chili crisp. To do this, I want at least one ingredient that accentuates the chili crisp and one ingredient that contrasts the chili crisp.

To accentuate, we’re adding crispy fried shallots, this will add even more crunch to the hot dog, and it will bring a shallot/onion flavor that will be similar to flavors in the chili crisp. To contrast the chili crisp we’ll add cream cheese, which will be cooling, creamy and smooth; all things that are not present in chili crisps. If you’re weirded out about cream cheese on a hot dog, someone invented this already in the 80’s or 90’s in Seattle. Cream cheese is a base ingredient in Seattle dogs and in my opinion, it’s a very underutilized hot dog ingredient that I will be fighting to bring into the limelight.

I have a super easy microwave fried shallot recipe that you can get done in less than 10 minutes. Crunch in a hurry is a great thing for sandwich enthusiasts.

13 minutes
Microwave fried shallots

Crispy, crunchy and flavorful. Yes, you can fry shallots in the microwave for a great sandwich or burger addition.

Get Recipe

And here’s my whole chili crisp hot dog recipe. It’s easy if you know how to add things to hot dogs, but I made a recipe anyway.

20 minutes
Chili crisp and crunchy shallot hot dog

Change up your hot dogs with a focus on spicy and crunchy. Cream cheese and chili crunch are the pairing you never knew you needed.

Get Recipe

The chili crisp brie and apple burger

That’s quite enough hot dogs. Now we can burger.

Third pound patty with green apple and melted brie. Topped with chili crisp. Everything on a homemade potato burger bun.

This is a good burger combination. The texture added from the green apple and the crunch of the chili crisp make each bite a different experience. Brie is very melty and creamy which contrasts in a good way with the chili crisp.

I suggest that you change things up and make this super flavorful recipe next burger night at your house.

25 minutes
Chili crisp and green apple brie burger

Green apple provides texture and sweetness to balance the spice from the chili crisp. Add a little creamy brie and you're all set for a fantastic burgering experience.

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The chili crisp grilled cheese

More cheese please!

Shredded fontina and gouda cheeses melted with hot chili crisp on griddled homemade harvest grains Pain de mie bread.

A basic grilled cheese is the perfect platform for interesting condiments. Adding chili crisp brings savory flavors and spice that works well with the creamy cheese. If you have problems getting the cheese in your grilled cheese to melt before the outside is brown, this recipe has a trick where you steam the cheese to melt it as the first side of the sandwich cooks.

15 minutes
Chili crisp grilled cheese

Gooey, melted cheese and crispy crunch from the chili crisp leads to an almost perfect combination in this grilled cheese.

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The extra

Chili crisp popcorn

Now on to some not sandwich recipes. Add chili crisp to popcorn. You can do it with the microwave type or the kind you pop on the stove. Here’s a recipe with instructions for both options. You also don’t have to follow a recipe and you can just spoon some chili crisp on top. But the recipe incorporates things a little better.

15 minutes
Chili crisp popcorn

Popcorn is a perfect vessel for chili crisp flavors. You could just sprinkle some chili crisp on a small serving of buttered popcorn, but these recipes integrate the flavors into a whole batch.

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Chili crisp ice cream

You can just put a teaspoon or tablespoon of chili crisp on your next bowl of ice cream, or you can use this recipe to flavor a whole batch of ice cream. This ice cream is great, with a fun somewhat crunchy texture. It pairs very well with chocolate brownies or cake. Add some chopped walnuts or pecans on top for extra flavor and texture.

40 minutes
Chili crisp ice cream

Sure, you could just spoon chili crisp on top of a couple scoops, but you can also use this recipe to make a whole batch of chili crisp flavored ice cream!

Get Recipe

Chili crisp is awesome.

Buy some chili crisp if you haven’t already.

Chili crisp adds crunch, spicy heat, and savory flavors to everything it touches. Buy some and add it to your next sandwich. Check back next week when I’m tacoing about other sandwiches.

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