Chile crisp — the spicy, savory, crunchy condiment — is fast becoming an “it” ingredient with chefs and home cooks alike. It has some similarities to chile oil, in that they both are chile- and oil-based, but chile crisp has a textural component as its standout feature. In a chile crisp, the chiles are typically fried, making it slightly crispy.
While it rings in at about 100 calories a tablespoon, a little chile crisp goes a long way, adding a bright burst of flavor (and a little heat) to everything it touches. There are many chile crisp brands, from Trader Joe’s to tiny artisan brands, but it pays to read the ingredients list before you buy. Some, like the original Lao Ga Ma include a long list of additives, preservatives and MSG. But we’ve found some delicious jars of chile crisp that skip the chemistry and focus on all-natural ingredients. Check out our picks below.
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Made with non-GMO oil, mushroom powder, garlic and ginger, this chile crisp has a nice chewy texture thanks to black beans and a subtle, tingly-hot finish from Sichuan pepper. It’s great on noodles, cucumber salad and dry-fried green beans.
From David Chang’s famous restaurant and food group, this spicy condiment has lots of sesame seeds, a trio of dried peppers including fruity puya chilies, coconut sugar and seaweed. It has a mineral nori flavor and umami that pairs well with seafood and shrimp dumplings.
The crunchiest and mildest of this group, the flavor is mostly about the crisp onions and garlic. With heart-healthy olive oil, red bell peppers and crushed chile peppers, it’s good on just about everything, especially Mediterranean dishes. Try it on grilled chicken kabobs or zucchini.
Created by a Mexico City native, you’ll know this chile crisp by the Aztec snake logo on the coral red jar. The smoky flavor of roasted chile arbol comes through in this medium spicy condiment. The crispy texture is a revelation on avocado toast and is perfect drizzled on tacos.