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:
- 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.
Here are the ingredients in Passenger Foods Hot and Mild chili crunch.
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.
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.
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.
The chili crisp brie and apple burger
That’s quite enough hot dogs. Now we can burger.
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.
More cheese please!
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.
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.
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.
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.