What Is Chili Crisp And How Do You Use It?

Spicy, crunchy, savory, aromatic, and bursting with flavor. Chili crisp is taking the culinary world by storm – and for good reason. This highly esteemed condiment's versatility and ability to spruce up any dish has spicy food lovers absolutely hooked. While the condiment originated in China, people of all cultures and walks of life have praised the stuff. Even pro wrestler and actor John Cena openly professed his love for it in a non-sponsored video while speaking fluent Mandarin (via Silky Kitchen).

What is chili crisp, exactly? Chili crisp is a blend of chili peppers, garlic, oil, onions, and spices (via Taste of Home). And here's the kicker: You don't need a super-high spice tolerance to enjoy it. It has a moderate, tender spiciness level that adds just the right amount of depth and punch to meals. (Is your mouth watering yet?!) According to Taste, chili crisp has formed a cult-like following. It's so good, many people remember the very first time they entertained their taste buds with it. When it comes to chili crisp, the ways to fully enjoy the experience are endless.

What are the best ways to use chili crisp?

Chili crisp adds a pleasant, garlicky, not-too-spicy flavor and crispy texture to just about everything – from noodles to eggs to veggies to ice cream. Yep, even ice cream (via The New York Times). Whether your base dish is savory, umami, sour, salty, or sweet, chili crisp will simply amplify it. Insider also suggests pairing chili crisp with dipping sauces, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and dark chocolate. Scott Stein, editor at CNET, loves it mixed into his oatmeal, plopped in a bowl of ramen, and atop bagels and cream cheese, among many other fares.

Chili crisp has become a staple in many kitchens. Among the most popular brands you can buy online or find in the international aisle are Fly by Jing, Lao Gan Ma, and Momofuku (via Eater). Trader Joe's even sells its own made with habanero peppers. The iconic spicy food blog Chili Pepper Madness offers up a wonderfully simple recipe to make your own chili crisp at home. All you need are vegetable oil or peanut oil, chopped shallots, fresh peppers, garlic, ginger, dried chili flakes, peppercorns, chili powder, soy sauce, and sugar. And of course, feel free to customize it to fit your own personal flavor profile.

So, go ahead and pump up your already-amazing appetizers, entrées, AND desserts with a crunchy, oily, spicy zing you'll instantly fall in love with.