Homemade Chili Crisp will be your new favorite topping! Seriously, this crispy/spicy/sweet chile oil is the perfect addition to salads, potatoes, pasta, ice cream, and more. Even better than the Trader Joe’s variation, this condiment is easy to make, impossible to resist, it keeps for a month in the fridge!
What is Chili Crisp?
I first heard about chili crisp last year in Bon Appetit, so definitely am behind the bandwagon. Often thought of as having a cult following, even Trader Joe’s now sells their own chili crisp. After doing some further research, I discovered this flavorful blend unsurprisingly has origins in China. Feel free to read more about the Chinese beginnings here! It’s important to note that I do not consider this an authentic recipe by any means, this is just a take that has worked for me.
While there are many variations, it essentially a versatile, oil-based condiment full of sweet, warming, and spicy flavors. Rumor had it that it tasted delicious on practically any food (from salad to ice cream to pizza and more).
I knew there must be a reason to give it a try!
I’m happy to say, this recipe lived up to the hype and MORE. I made a few modifications for ease in a home kitchen + things I had on hand. Ready in under and hour (with most of that time hands-off), I can confidently say it’s one of the best things I’ve made in a while!
Ingredients in Chili Crisp
- Crushed red pepper flakes, the ones you’ll find on the table in a pizza shop
- Fresh garlic, for pungency
- Shallots, for a mild allium aroma
- Cinnamon, for warmth
- Soy sauce, for umami
- Sugar, to balance the heat!
- Neutral vegetable oil as a base
How to Make Chili Oil
This process in thankfully very simple. The hardest part is chopping your garlic and shallot (props to anyone who uses a mandolin. First, you’ll let the garlic, shallot, and cinnamon slowly cook to infuse the oil with depth of flavor. Then you’ll strain it to remove the solids and let those crisp further, while mixing the base oil into a delicious-smelling blend of garlic, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
Should you refrigerate chili oil?
Yes, I recommend storing this in the fridge. When cool, chili oil will last for a month or more.
Are the shallots crispy in a chili crisp?
I will admit that there have been a few times I’ve tried this recipe where the shallots did not stay quite as crispy as I would have liked. One method I’ve heard that can help with this would be storing the garlic/shallot mixture separately from the chili oil itself, and then combining just before serving. To be honest, I like the texture both ways!
Serving Ideas For This Recipe
As stated above, the beauty in this dish lies in its true versatility! I have read a few different ideas for serving. Here are some that are particularly interesting:
- With smashed potatoes (shown in these photos)
- On avocado toast
- On vanilla ice cream
- As a salad dressing
- With a cheese plate spread
- On mac and cheese (Dan’s idea)
Please let me know if you try this recipe, and feel free to leave a comment here and a rating letting me know what you thought!
- Large sealable jar for storage
- Cast iron skillet
- Fine mesh strainer
- 6 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly into rounds
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced into thin discs
- 1 1/2 cups neutral oil, like canola or vegetable
- 1 TBS ground cinnamon
- 3 TBS grated fresh ginger, or 3 tsp ground
- 1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 TBS soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar, brown or white
- Add shallots, garlic, cinnamon and oil to a large cast iron skillet. Let simmer over medium low heat, stirring to combine. Let brown for 30 minutes. This takes a while but it important!
- While oil is infusing, combine ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and sugar in a medium sized, heatproof, nonreactive bowl.
- After your shallots and garlic and brown and crisp in the oil, carefully remove from heat and strain oil through a fine strainer over the bowl with the red pepper flake mixture . I do not have a fine strainer so just used a flour sifter - this works well! You want to add the flavorful oil to the red pepper flakes, but the garlic and shallots are not quite done.
- Add garlic and shallots back to the skillet and cook over medium low heat, stirring often until frizzled and crispy, about 5-10 minutes more. Be careful to not let them burn - this will impart an acrid taste. If they begin burning, turn down the heat or remove them from the pan altogether. Add shallots and garlic into the oil mixture. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a sealed jar to store in the fridge for up to one month.