This homemade spicy chili crisp recipe is easy to make, the perfect condiment for spooning over anything from vegetables to eggs, meats and more. Learn how to make chili crisp at home.
Chili crisp is quickly gaining popularity around the world. What was once a single brand or two from China made its way to the states in the late 1990's, but only now is it making its way into kitchens and local dishes.
You may know the popular Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp brand, which is the most well known, though other brands are working their way into the market. Many of these are wonderfully flavorful, though I've been making my own chili crisp at home and I love it.
I'll show you how you can make chili crisp at home, and how you can customize the heat level and ingredients that go into it so you can make it your own.
What is Chili Crisp?
Chili crisp is an infused chili oil condiment with crunchy bits, made by simmering chili peppers, onion, garlic and seasonings in oil. It is spicy, salty and savory with an addictive umami, great for adding flavor and texture to anything from sandwiches to desserts. You can use the crispy crunchy bits or just the chile oil.
I've fallen in love with the stuff, and I can't get enough of it. This is a recipe you need to print and keep in your recipe collection because once you try it, you'll never want to be without it again. Perfect for home cooks!
Let's talk about how to make chili crisp, shall we?
3 Components to Making a Chili Crisp
- The Oil. Chili crisp is essentially an infused oil, so oil is obviously the main component. Vegetable oil is perfect here, though peanut oil works very nicely as well. You can realistically use any cooking oil to make chili crisp.
- The Crispy Bits. This is the stuff that puts the "crisp" in chili crisp, the ingredients that crisp up from cooking in the oil and make it crunchy. Common ingredients include shallot, green or red peppers, garlic and ginger. Dried chili flakes are also common. There are many options. Other ingredients that are popular are nuts for extra crunch, like soy nuts, peanuts and more.
- The Seasonings. For flavoring. Your options are only as limited as your imagination. I use Sichuan peppercorns, chili powder, soy sauce, sugar, msg, cinnamon and star anise. Other options include cardamom, extra spicy peppers, herbs, so much more.
Chili Crisp Ingredients
- Vegetable Oil. I usually use peanut oil.
- Chili Peppers. I love serranos for this, though you can use other peppers. Habaneros are great, or Sichuan peppers.
- Ground Sichuan Peppercorns. You can use black peppercorns.
- Red Pepper Flakes.
- Gochugaru. Or use smoked paprika or a blend of paprika and cayenne for spicier.
- Soy Sauce.
- MSG. Strongly encouraged. MSG adds extra umami to the finished crisp and makes it so delicious. However, you can skip it if you have any concerns over MSG. Use sea salt instead.
- Cinnamon Stick.
- Star Anise.
- OPTIONAL ADDITIONS (for extra flavor)
- Mushroom Powder. For an umami boost.
- Sesame Seeds.
- Roasted Peanuts.
How to Make Chili Crisp - the Recipe Method
First, add the oil to a small pot along with the serrano peppers, shallot, garlic, peppercorns. Add the cinnamon stick and star anise pods, if using.
Heat the oil to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the ingredients in the pot brown. Look at how crispy and golden brown the ingredients are becoming. It is quite fragrant. It could take longer for the bits to brown and crisp depending on the size of your chopped peppers and oil temperature.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. The flavors will infuse the oil even further.
In a separate heat-proof bowl, mix together the chili flakes, paprika (or Gochugaru), soy sauce, sugar and msg.
Strain the oil into the chili flake mixture. Reserve the crispy serrano-shallot-garlic bits in the strainer and set them aside for now to cool, which will allow them to fully crisp up.
Pick out the cinnamon stick and star anise pods (if using), then swirl the crispy bits back into the oil.
Cover and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop even more. Stir before serving.
Lasts 1 month. You can use the chili crisp sauce right away, but it gets better after a day or so to develop and intensify.
Boom! Done! Now you have some wonderful spicy chili crisp to jazz up just about anything you'd like. It's a zest factor extraordinaire, and huge on flavor, too. I love this recipe so much. New favorite for sure!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Chili Peppers. I used serrano peppers for this recipe, though you can realistically use any fresh pepper. Many recipes skip the fresh chilies and use only dried. I prefer both, as the fresh pods crisp up very nicely. Use jalapeno peppers or even no-heat bell peppers for a milder version.
- Chili Flakes. Use your favorite dried chiles. There are many available from your local grocer, or in Mexican grocery stores. Popular chili peppers used for making the flakes include chile de arbol, japones, or Kashmiri chilies. Choose to your flavor and heat level preference. It works with any dried peppers. Try dehydrating chili peppers and making your own homemade chili flakes. Spice it up!
Here are answers to some of the common questions about chili crisp.
Does Chili Crisp Need to be Refrigerated?
Chili crisp should be refrigerated for longer keeping. It will last 1 month in the refrigerator stored in a sealed container. Because of the crispy bits in the oil, refrigeration will keep it from going bad more quickly.
Note that it will congeal in the refrigerator, but it will come to room temperature quickly.
How to Eat Chili Crisp?
Chili crisp is wonderfully versatile chili sauce and can be used to add umami, spice and flavor to any number of dishes. Try it out in the following ways:
- Spoon it over grilled or steamed vegetables
- Swirl it into brothy soups
- Scoop it over grilled meats
- Add a spoonful to scrambled eggs or over fried eggs
- Drizzle the oil over ice cream or other sweets
- Make awesome Spicy Ramen Noodles!
Where to Buy Chili Crisp
If you'd prefer to buy chili crisp rather than make it at home, there are several great brands out there with amazing flavor. Here are some links to Amazon (affiliate links, my friends) where you can buy some to try.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your homemade chile crisp. This stuff is seriously great, perfect for any spicy food lover like you. Let me know how yours turns out.
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Salsa Macha (a Mexican version of chili crisp)
- How to Make Chili Oil
- Akabanga: Rwandan Chili Oil
- Chili Pastes from Around the World
- How to Make Hot Honey
- How to Infuse Alcohol with Chili Peppers
- How to Preserve Peppers in Oil
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Chili Crisp Recipe – How to Make Chili Crisp
- 1.5 cups vegetable oil or use peanut oil
- 2 serrano peppers rough chopped
- 1 shallot rough chopped
- 10 cloves garlic rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns or use Sichuan peppercorns
- ¼ cup red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or use a Gochugaru seasoning blend, or cayenne for more heat
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce adds umami
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon msg optional - use sea salt as an alternative
- OPTIONAL ADDITIONS for extra flavor
- 1 3- inch cinnamon stick
- 4 star anise pods
- Add the oil to a small pot along with the serrano peppers, shallot, garlic, peppercorns. Add the cinnamon stick and star anise pods, if using.
- Heat the oil to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the ingredients in the pot brown. It could take longer for the bits to brown and crisp depending on the size of your chopped peppers and oil temperature.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. The flavors will infuse the oil even further.
- In a separate heat-proof bowl, mix together the chili flakes, paprika (or Gochugaru), soy sauce, sugar and msg.
- Strain the oil into the chili flake mixture. Reserve the crispy serrano-shallot-garlic bits in the strainer and set them aside for now to cool, which will allow them to fully crisp up.
- Pick out the cinnamon stick and star anise pods (if using), then swirl the crispy bits back into the oil.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop even more. Stir before serving.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 6/24/22 to include new video and information. It was originally published on 2/3/20.