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Innovative Ways to Cook with Chili Crisp

Chili crisp is one of the up-and-coming condiments of this generation — and it will likely keep a chokehold on our palates for a long time. This spicy, savory Asian condiment is made with ingredients like chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, spices, herbs, and aromatics to tie it together. Some brands will also add MSG to their products to round out the umami profile, as well as a diverse profile of seasoning ranging from star anise to mushroom powder. These flavorful, crunchy components are swirled in oil to give the condiment a smooth mouthfeel and an unexpected peppery bite to boot. 

Although chili crisp has been touted as an Asian ingredient, its use in the kitchen extends far beyond stir-fry dishes and ramen. As newfound folks on the chili crisp scene, we’re always looking for ways to use this versatile ingredient. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite creative ways for chili crisp to amplify dishes and introduce an unexpected layer of flavor. 

Add it to the top of deviled eggs

Deviled eggs with paprika garnish

Folks who don’t like deviled eggs will claim that they don’t really taste like anything. They say the white is rubbery, while the inside has a bland texture with notes of mayonnaise. These folks may just need ingredients that will seriously upgrade deviled eggs — like chili crisp. 

Chili crisp can help make your deviled eggs exciting again. Not only will the condiment’s red color stand in beautiful contrast to the egg, but its crunchy qualities will also provide some textural oomph to your appetizer. You can add this condiment to your eggs in several ways, including whipping it directly with the egg yolks and mayo, or spooning it on top of each egg half before serving.

Infuse more flavor into roasted vegetables

Roasted root vegetables on tray

Roasted veggies are a critical component of our weeknight meal rotation. It’s easy to spread mixed veggies on a sheet pan, cover them in oil and seasoning, and bake them until they’re a perfect contrast of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. But our roasted veggies always tend to come out flat in flavor. 

Upgrade your roasted vegetables from bland to bold with chili crisp. This condiment has spicy and umami notes that complements the caramelization of the veggies and creates a well-rounded side dish. 

You can substitute oils and seasonings you use to roast the veggies with chili crisp, or mix it in with a balancing ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar. You can also crisp up the veggies with breadcrumbs. 

Bring a little heat to your potato gratin

Potato gratin in dish

Potato gratin doesn’t top our list of the best potato dishes. It’s cheesy, which we love, but it’s a side dish that lacks depth. Chili crisp adds the ultimate spicy kick to classic potato gratin, and helps accentuate the flavors. 

There are many ways to add this spicy condiment to your potato gratin. Add a spoonful to the cheese sauce as it simmers on the stove to infuse the spicy oil and chili flakes into the sauce, or add it directly to the top of the dish after serving it. The crisp pairs well with other aromatics in the gratin, like rosemary, thyme, and shallots, making for a flavorful side dish perfect for an elaborate steak dinner. 

Make your dips hot

Greek yogurt tzatziki in bowl

izikMD/Shutterstock

Your dips can use a little help from the condiment shelf of your refrigerator. Greek yogurt dipping sauce gets a spicy kick with chili crisp, for example. The yogurt itself has opposing flavors and mouthfeels, like tangy and creamy, which will contrast the fiery notes of the condiment. Once you mix the yogurt together with your chili crisp, you can slather it as a marinade for meat or serve it as a dip for pita chips. 

For a perfect dip, combine one cup of full-fat Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of chili crisp. If you are sensitive to heat (like us), you can tone back the crisp. You can also add the condiment to pre-made sauces like tzatziki.

Upgrade ramen’s spicy profile

Bowl of beef ramen

It’s almost like chili crisp was made for ramen. It’s the secret ingredient for more flavorful ramen because it infuses more aromatics into the broth — like onion, garlic, and ginger — and brings a warming element to the entire dish. Beyond being a canvas for Asian flavors, the condiment also provides texture in an otherwise soupy mixture of noodles and soft veggies. 

You can add chili crisp to ramen by emulsifying the oil in the broth as the soup base is cooking … but you can also take the convenient way and just top your bowl with a teaspoon of it. We also recommend cooking your fried egg topping in chili crisp to infuse more flavor into the protein.

Break up the richness of chocolate cake

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

There are so many ingredients you can add to improve chocolate cake — whether you’re looking to make it more moist, chocolatey, or, in this case, add a bit of heat. Chili crisp is the perfect ingredient for spicing up chocolate cake. Not only can you use this condiment in the batter, but you can also use it to infuse a caramel glaze on top of your cake. 

Cake isn’t the only sweet baked treat that can benefit from the versatile condiment. You can add it to brownie or cookie recipes to add a new depth of flavor — just be sure to balance it out with a more robust sweet profile to avoid sending desserts into savory mode. 

Use it as a dipping sauce for nuggets or tenders

Chicken nuggets on plate

Move over, Chick-fil-A sauce and ketchup, there’s a new dipping condiment in town. Chili crisp is an easy way to upgrade fast food and bring Sichuan flavors to your nuggets. Dip chicken tenders or nuggets into the chili sauce as your taste buds come alive. Chicken is a rather bland protein, so chili crisp adds the perfect level of heat and umami notes.

Alternatively, you can subdue some spicy flavors by pairing chili crisp with mayonnaise. Whisk the condiments together, adding your preferred level of spiciness, and enjoy as a schmear on a fast-food sandwich or burger. The creaminess of the mayo pairs perfectly well with its spicy counterpart for a balanced bite. 

Pair it with chocolate ingredients

Pieces of dark chocolate

If you’ve ever had a chocolate bar infused with chili flakes or sipped on Mexican hot chocolate, you know the magic that pairing spicy and chocolate can bring. Chili crisp and chocolate are a match made in heaven. The fattiness of the chocolate lines the palate, while the chili crisp provides a wave of hot, fiery sensations on your tongue. Plus, the background of umami flavors and smokey notes of the condiment can add even more complexity. 

The key to pairing chocolate and chili crisp is to find applications where the texture and flavors of the two are welcome, like by adding the two together in cookies. Chocolate bars infused with chili crisp are made by confectioners like Petrova Chocolates. 

Introduce new flavors to pasta sauce

Pasta with sauce and spoon

Is your pasta sauce coming out one-dimensional? While you might try to add a couple more garlic cloves or a hint of sugar to your sauce, nothing makes it taste like your grandmother’s recipe. But the secret to a full-bodied pasta sauce is in the Asian condiment section of the grocery store. 

Chili crisp gives pasta sauce a layered, savory base. Not only can you toss your pasta in it alone, but you can also add this ingredient to your marinara sauce. For the former, pair angel hair pasta with a few tablespoons of chili crisp, pancetta, and fresh herbs. The marinara version is like a play on arrabbiata sauce but with unique Asian ingredients mixed in. 

Pair it with fruit jams in your favorite recipes

Strawberry jam in jar

A crisp piece of toast slathered in butter and jam is a great way to start your morning. But an even better way to start it is with chili crisp. It’s an unexpected pantry ingredient to spice up fruit jam and make your breakfast much more memorable. You’ll only need a teaspoon of the condiment for each half-cup of jam. Add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk or blend them together until completely meshed. 

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There are endless possibilities for what to do with fruit jam. We recommend trying this hack with strawberry or raspberry jam before stuffing it into a sugar-coated donut. Undoubtedly, the umami and saltiness of the crisp will balance out the fried confection’s sweetness. 

Slather it on chicken before roasting it

Chicken in cast iron pan

Roast chicken is a love-hate recipe for us. While we like that it’s an easy recipe to plop into a roasting pan and shove in the oven, the process tends to draw out all that delicious fat and flavor from the bird. Chili crisp comes to the rescue yet again! 

Not only will this spread keep the chicken juicy, but it also adds a punch of flavor. Slather roasted chicken with the condiment before placing it into the oven. We recommend leaving the chili crisp on for as long as possible to seep deep into the skin and lock in moisture, and finish with salt. This chicken marinade hack also works for smaller cuts, like thighs or breast meat, or even pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. 

Substitute it for chiles in your guacamole

Dipping chips into guacamole

Guacamole is one of the reasons we go out to restaurants. At the end of a long day, it’s so satisfying to dip a crisp tortilla chip into a mountain of mashed avocado, cilantro, onions, and garlic. But our guacamole is always missing a bit of heat. 

A jar of chili crisp is the fiery ingredient your guacamole needs. The key to adding this ingredient is to be very careful with mixing. The light green color of the avocado can be easily discolored with the red crisp, turning your appetizing bowl into something reminiscent of a brown gloop. Instead, add a scant drizzle rather than mix it in entirely. You can also leave a little puddle of chili crisp on top of your guacamole for easy scooping.

Top your ice cream with it

Chili crisp topping ice cream

Chili crisp on what? Although it might seem unconventional (or unbelievable, depending on who you ask) to taint a bowl of premium vanilla frozen dessert with chili crisp, it’s the sundae topping you need to start using. Adding chili crisp to ice cream helps balance out its sweet notes and deliver a more multi-dimensional profile to your dessert. Moreover, the creaminess of your ice cream pairs well with the bright heat of the chili crisp, making it surprisingly easier to eat. 

Vanilla isn’t the only flavor that pairs well with your new sundae topping. You can also try a base of decadent chocolate or a spicy ginger ice cream.

Use it in your fried rice or stir fry

Seafood fried rice in bowl

Fried rice or stir-fried noodle dishes never taste the same as when you order them from a takeout joint. But beside using day-old rice and cooking on high heat, you’ll need to recruit spicy, umami flavors for restaurant-quality fried rice at home. Chili crisp already contains the aromatics like garlic and ginger, which make for a flavorful stir fry, as well as the umami richness from the MSG. 

Add your chili crisp to the rice or noodles with the rest of your seasoning ingredients. It’s important to note that the chili crisp already has salty, umami, and spicy qualities that may overwhelm other ingredients, so you may have to tone down your other seasonings for balance in the dish. 

Smear it on your sandwiches or breakfast toast

Toast with avocado slices

Thomas Faull/Getty Images

Avocado toast may seem like a millennial concept, but it’s one we will forever buy into. Rather than just serving a plain avocado with toast, we recommend jazzing it up with a bit of your new favorite condiment. The chili crisp’s spiciness can help balance the spread’s creaminess and add a bit of texture. Besides complementing the avocado spread, it can also flavor eggs and give them an unexpected bite. 

We’ve also loved spreading chili crisp between an English muffin, cheese, and eggs. This sandwich triad has many great pairings, including fresh spinach, baby arugula, and even Spam. Although you might raise an eyebrow at the last option, it has a unique texture and protein density that can balance the sharpness of the oily condiment.

Take your scrambled eggs up a notch

Scrambled eggs on plate

Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Scrambled eggs are a relatively plain breakfast food. There are a ton of ways to make your scrambled eggs taste better, from adding balsamic vinegar to changing your cooking method for something more low-and-slow. But your scrambled eggs are craving a bigger bite from chili crisp. 

The trick to adding your chili crisp is to keep your pan on medium-low to prevent burning the chili flakes. You can also add a dash of sesame oil to round out the flavors, but refrain from adding it until the eggs are finished cooking. These seasoned eggs are perfect with a sprinkle of furikake seasoning over a slice of toast or bowl of white rice. 

Use it as a garnish on pizza

Pepperoni pizza on peel

Foodio/Shutterstock

Spicy ingredients belong on pizza, just as much as sweet ones. A hint of chili crisp can bring out the flavor of your pepperoni and veggie additions. 

There are some types of pizza that pair better with the heat of chili crisp than others. White clam pizza, for example, is an unexpected variety that will really benefit from the condiment. The saltiness of the clams pairs extraordinarily well with the sharpness of the chili oil and the flecks of garlic and aromatics. Spread the condiment onto the pizza after you add the cheese and pop it in your oven to melt it down. We also recommend adding a layer of it to your dough to infuse more flavor into the crust.

Transform your salad dressings

Olive oil on spoon

Dirkrietschel/Getty Images

Why settle for a boring vinaigrette when you can infuse it with exciting chili crisp? You can use chili crisp as a base for your Asian-inspired salad, or use it as a light dipping sauce for your spring rolls. Add your chili crisp to a jar along with soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup, and shake until combined. It’s a great dressing for a cabbage salad or Asian-inspired slaw because it highlights savory, umami, and bitter flavors in every bite. 

Another place where chili crisp shines is when you add it to a cucumber salad. Toss your slivered cucumbers with scallions, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, and serve your salad as a quick snack or appetizer pairing for a heavier dish. 

Add it to your cocktails

Spicy mango margaritas with limes

Gmvozd/Getty Images

Although adding your chili crisp to a beverage might seem strange, it’s an unexpected condiment that will change your drinking experience. Try a twist on a Paloma cocktail and swirl your chili crisp with a shot of mezcal or tequila and citrusy additions like grapefruit and lime juice. You can dilute the cocktail with seltzer or soda water, and add a splash of simple syrup to balance out the flavors. 

Chili crisp can also star in your next margarita. Roll the rim of the glass in salt and the condiment, and pour in your mixture of shaken tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup. Bitters will also help balance out the flavors in your beverage and harmonize with the newest ingredient in your cocktail arsenal.

Blend it into a compound butter

Compound butters with baguette

rukxstockphoto/Shutterstock

Chili crisp compound butter is as delicious as it sounds. Not only can you use it as a topping for toast, but you can also slather it over your steak. Start by adding the chili crisp to a food processor with cubed cold butter, and pulse until well combined. Once your butter is well-mixed, roll it into a log and wrap it in plastic. After about an hour in the refrigerator, your butter will be ready to slice and use. 

Not only is compound butter a great way to finish a cut of meat, but you can also use it to add spicy flavor before you start cooking it. A marinade can exude buttery notes and the sublime heat from the chili crisp. 

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