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Sweet & Spicy Chili Crisp

Homemade Spicy Chili Crisp will be your new favorite topping! This crispy/spicy/sweet chili oil is the perfect addition to salads, potatoes, pasta, ice cream, and more. With origins in Sichuan cuisine, this condiment is easy to make, impossible to resist, it keeps for a month in the fridge!

jar of homemade chili crisp with a wooden spoon sticking out

What is Chili Crisp?

Chili crisp is a sweet and spicy condiment made from red pepper flakes, neutral oil, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and shallots. It is 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. It tastes delicious on practically any food! The bottom of this post contains a few of my favorite uses, so read on for more.

Ingredients in Spicy Chili Crisp

  • Crushed red pepper flakes, the ones you’ll find on the table in a pizza place
  • Fresh garlic
  • Shallots
  • Cinnamon, for warmth
  • Soy sauce, for umami
  • Sugar, to balance the heat
  • Neutral vegetable oil as a base

overhead shot of ingredients needed for chili crisp - shallots, cinnamon, soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes

How to Make Chili Oil

This process in thankfully very simple. The hardest part is chopping your garlic and shallots.

  1. First, you’ll let the garlic, shallot, and cinnamon slowly cook to infuse the oil with depth of flavor.
  2. Then, you’ll strain the oil to remove the solids and add them back to the pan to let them crisp further.
  3. While the shallots and garlic are crisping, you’ll mix the base oil into a delicious-smelling blend of garlic, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Finally, you’ll add the crisped alliums back to the oil base, and you’re ready to serve!

Should you refrigerate chili oil?

Yes, I recommend storing this in a sealed jar in the fridge. When cool, chili oil will last for a month or more.

bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with chili crisp oil

Are the shallots crispy in a spicy chili crisp?

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.

What matters most in this recipe is that you give the aromatic ingredients (garlic, shallots, ginger, and cinnamon) enough time to infuse the neutral oil with a balanced flavor.

plate of smashed potatoes topped with chili crisp and parsley

Serving Ideas For This Chili Crisp Oil Recipe

The best part about this dish is how truly versatile it is. Here are just a few methods I’ve tried (or considered):

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!

Print
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jar of homemade chili crisp with a wooden spoon sticking out

Spicy Chili Crisp


  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

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!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Begin infused oil by adding 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!
  2. While oil is infusing, combine ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and sugar in a medium sized, heatproof, nonreactive bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Notes

Nutrition information listed for 1/40 of recipe.

  • Category: Appetizer, Condiment
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/40 of recipe
  • Calories: 81 calories
  • Sugar: 0.9 grams
  • Sodium: 44.8 milligrams
  • Fat: 8.2 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7.6 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 gram
  • Fiber: 0.3 grams
  • Protein: 0.3 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: chili, chile, crisp, oil, condiment, topping, garlic, shallot, ginger, spicy, red pepper

Pin this Spicy Chili Crisp

Homemade Chili Crisp will be your new favorite topping! Seriously, this crispy/spicy/sweet chili 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!

 

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments! Meet me here.

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