Chili Crisp Adds The Ultimate Spicy Kick To Classic Potato Gratin

From Fly by Jing to Momofuku, trending brands have boosted chili crisp into a buzzy condiment on social media — and considering the ingredient has nearly 100 million views on TikTok, it's safe to say it's having its moment in the sun. Chili crisp may have generated massive buzz as an oil to fry eggs in, but that's not all it's good for. If you're looking for a way to upgrade a classic potato gratin, try incorporating this trendy ingredient — as long as your guests aren't afraid of a little spice, that is.

While potato gratin is packed full of creamy, cheesy goodness, there isn't a whole lot of potent flavor going on in this dish. Adding chili crisp provides the perfect zingy bite along with a little crunch, and it pairs perfectly with the milder backdrop of the classic potato dish.

The magic of chili crisp is that its flavor goes way beyond plain heat. Along with the spice, you'll get salty and umami flavors that come from garlic, shallot, sesame, and of course, the chilis themselves. 

How to make potato gratin with chili crisp

Luckily, it couldn't be easier to add chili crisp to your potato gratin. The ingredient comes into play during two steps of a typical recipe: First, you'll want to add a little to the other ingredients when you're making the sauce on the stove, which typically includes milk, cream, and garlic. Feel free to also incorporate anything you like that you think will complement the potatoes and chili crisp — for example, onion powder, minced shallots, thyme, rosemary, parsley, or chives. Then when you pour your creamy mixture over multiple layers of the stacked spuds, it will already be infused with chili crisp, so you'll get compounding layers of the spicy flavor. If that's not enough heat for you, feel free to also serve your dish with a spoonful of the stuff on top, right out of the jar.

With the variety of chili crisps on the market, it's important to choose one that you love. Some have more heat than others — for example, Momofuku's jar is known for being ultra-spicy, while Trader Joe's is fairly mild. Different brands offer variations on their classic formulas, too. Fly by Jing, for instance, sells its classic Sichuan Chili Crisp ("savory, hot, tingly") and its Xtra Spicy Chili Crisp, and Momofuku boasts hot honey, black truffle, and extra spicy versions of its original. Whether you go mild or super hot, you'll get an umami-packed kick from just a little chili crisp.