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3 February 2020

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 last 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 your own 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.

But first…

Chunky Chili Crisp oil in a jar

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 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.

Let’s talk about how to make chili crisp, shall we?

Chili Crisp in a jar, ready to serve

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, fresh 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 peppercorns, chili powder, soy sauce, sugar, msg, cinnamon and star anise. Other options include cardamom, extra spicy peppers, herbs, so much more. 

Chili Crisp in a jar

Chili Crisp Ingredients

  • 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 – strong encouraged. MSG adds extra umami to the finished crisp and makes it so delicious
  • OPTIONAL ADDITIONS (for extra flavor)
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise pods

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.

Toasting peppers, garlic and more in oil

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.

Browning the crisped bits of homemade chili crisp in oil

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.

Mixing the chili flakes with wet ingredients

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.

Straining the crisped bits of homemade chili crisp

Pick out the cinnamon stick and star anise pods (if using), then swirl the crispy bits back into the oil.

Pour the oil into the strained bits in a bowl

Cover and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop even more. Stir before serving.

The texture of the chili crisp crispy bits on a spoon

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 favorites. 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.

Chili Crisp on a spoon

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.

How to Eat Chili Crisp?

Chili crisp is wonderfully versatile 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

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

Crispy, crunchy Chili Crisp bits on a spoon

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.

5 from 2 votes
Crispy, crunchy Chili Crisp bits on a spoon
Chili Crisp Recipe – How to Make Chili Crisp
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
 
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.
Course: Main Course, Seasonings
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: chili oil, condiment, peppercorns, serrano
Servings: 32 tablespoons
Calories: 13 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 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 ADDITIONS for extra flavor
  • 1 3- inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise pods
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Heat the oil to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the ingredients in the pot brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. The flavors will infuse the oil even further.
  4. In a separate heat-proof bowl, mix together the chili flakes, paprika (or Gochugaru), soy sauce, sugar and msg.
  5. 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.
  6. Pick out the cinnamon stick and star anise pods (if using), then swirl the crispy bits back into the oil.
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop even more. Stir before serving.
Recipe Notes

Makes about 2 cups.
Lasts 1 month in the refrigerator.
You can use the chili crisp right away, but it gets better after a day or so to develop and intensify.

Nutrition Facts
Chili Crisp Recipe – How to Make Chili Crisp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 13 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 32mg1%
Potassium 17mg0%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 111IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Chili Crisp Recipe - This spicy chili crisp recipe is easy to make, great for spooning over anything from vegetables to eggs, meats and more. Learn how to make chili crisp. #chilioil #chilipeppers

6 comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow. You have made my day! I’m addicted to the “old lady sauce” in the jar but being able to make my own will be amazing. Thank you so much!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jess! Haha, I’ve heard that brand referred to by a few different names – “old lady sauce” or “old lady oil”, or “Happy Lady Oil”. She looks so happy on the label! You will love this homemade version. It’s so good!

  2. Sharon Sivori

    I will make this it sounds wonderful. I have a bunch of heat seeking family! Thank you!

  3. Robert Strangways

    5 stars
    Have heard about this. Bought some at Asian grocery. But what should I use it on?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Yep, that’s the stuff, Robert. I love it on burgers and sandwiches/wraps, a bit on salads. You can use the crispy bits or just some of the oil sometimes, or both. So good!

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