A couple of days ago, Mike and I spent a couple of days in Seattle, eating and celebrating Mike’s birthday. On our way home, we stopped into Seawolf, one of our favorite sourdough bakeries, to buy a loaf to bring home. We ate two slices late at night, spread with cold butter and sprinkled with salt. So GOOD. I know people like room temp butter because it spreads more easily, but there’s something about cold butter and really good bread that gets me every time.

Anyway, when you have good bread you almost always don’t need to do anything to it to enjoy it but I had a major craving for grilled cheese. And not just any grilled cheese…I had a craving for spicy chili crisp grilled cheese. Gooey, melty cheddar, crispy almost too brown buttery edges, and a generous amount of Lao Gan Ma’s spicy chili crisp is my idea of heaven.

I’ve been on a little chili crisp train lately and I’m not about to get off anytime soon. But maybe you’re wondering…what the heck is chili crisp?!

What is Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp and Why Is It So Good

If you’re all up on the cult food stuffs, then I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Lao Gan Ma’s chili crisp. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re a chili crisp disciple. The love on the internet for LGM’s chili crisp is real. People hoard the stuff. They bring it along to restaurants. They eat it by the spoonful. They reverse engineer it.

You’re 4 ingredients away from the best spicy cheesy grilled cheese you’ll ever eat: spicy chili crisp grilled cheese #grilledcheese #recipes #cheese #chilicrisp #spicy

But just what is chili crisp? It’s pretty simple: a super flavorful all purpose spicy sauce/topping/condiment that goes on just about everything. Essentially it’s chili oil that’s been jacked up with crispy bits of onion and soy beans. It’s been around since the late 90s in China, but recently it’s been experiencing a new found love in North America.

Mike and I almost always have a jar in our fridge because as easy and rewarding as it is to make your own Sichuan chili oil, we love the unmistakable crispy crunchy bits that Loa Gan Ma has. We love stirring it into noodles, eating it with wontons, or just adding it to most (if not literally) everything. It’s available at almost all Asian grocery stores and online and you just might want to buy two jars.

It’s the perfect thing to tuck into a grilled cheese sandwich and take it up a level. It adds spice and crunch and so much flavor. If you’re lucky, some of the chili crisp oil will leak out of your sandwich as your making it and infuse the butter that’s crisping out the outside pieces of bread making it slightly orange tinged.

Eating this sandwich is pure bliss. Your fingers will be oily and spicy. You’ll get those oh so addictive cheese pulls and you won’t want to stop. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Happy grilled cheesing!
xoxo spicy chili crisp and melty cheese,

You’re 4 ingredients away from the best spicy cheesy grilled cheese you’ll ever eat: spicy chili crisp grilled cheese #grilledcheese #recipes #cheese #chilicrisp #spicy

You’re 4 ingredients away from the best spicy cheesy grilled cheese you’ll ever eat: spicy chili crisp grilled cheese #grilledcheese #recipes #cheese #chilicrisp #spicy

You’re 4 ingredients away from the best spicy cheesy grilled cheese you’ll ever eat: spicy chili crisp grilled cheese #grilledcheese #recipes #cheese #chilicrisp #spicy

You’re 4 ingredients away from the best spicy cheesy grilled cheese you’ll ever eat: spicy chili crisp grilled cheese #grilledcheese #recipes #cheese #chilicrisp #spicy

chili crisp grilled cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Spicy Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese

Spicy, savory, crispy grilled cheese
Serves 1
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes


  • 2 slices really good bread
  • 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • chili crisp to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Place the two slices of bread (open faced) on a cutting board. Top the bottom slice of bread with shredded cheddar and dot generously with chili crisp, or to taste.
  • Melt half a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan on medium low heat. Carefully add the cheese topped bread and top with the other slice of bread.
  • Cook slowly on medium-low heat until golden brown and toasty. If your cheese isn’t melting as fast as you like, use a lid to cover your sandwich but keep an eye on the bottom, checking every so often so that the bottom doesn’t burn.
  • When it’s golden and toasty, carefully flip your sandwich and continue grilling. The second-side grills a bit faster, so turn the heat down to low and keep a close eye on it. When perfect, remove from the pan, slice (or not) and  enjoy hot!


  1. Sabrina says:

    never knew anything about chili crisp, let alone with grilled cheese, so thank you for the recipe and education!

  2. Tiffany says:

    So much YES!

    1. Stephanie says:

      eee! you should try it with your homemade chili oil ;)

  3. Andrea says:

    Your knife is beautiful. Where is it from?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s a miyabi! i love it so much :)

  4. Kim says:

    Thursday: read this post. Friday: went to Asian market for chili crisp Saturday: weeping tears of joy and despair. Joy, for this incredible comfort food. Despair, because I’ve lived so long without chili crisp.

    1. Stephanie says:

      SO GOOD RIGHT!??! so happy i introduced you to it, eat it on everything :)

  5. Sally says:

    Hey love your blog! Which non stick skillet do you recommend?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi sally,
      i like the zwilling or henckles skillets: here and here because they don’t have any rivets on the inside of the skillet :) hope that helps!

  6. Lisette says:

    My husband and I just discovered it and feel the same! How did we live so long without this amazing stuff??

  7. Janet says:

    5 stars
    There times when the simplest things are best–good bread, good cheese, plenty of butter, and now, chili crisp. I’ve recently found a source for colby cheese, the mild sandwich cheese from my childhood, and with chili crisp to update this with a spectacular sophistication, I’m SO happy. For someone like me who tends to fat, it’s not a frequent treat, but once in a while, hits all my happy buttons. I did a single sandwich and used your presentation meaning DH and I were both thrilled with a single sandwich and some lower cal homemade soup from the freezer.

  8. Melissa Stroberger says:

    5 stars
    Stephanie , I never had Spicy Chili Crisp before so I decided to try your recipe.Before that I had some plain white rice with it. By just reading your recipe made me hungry for a Grilled Cheese. I did not have the best bread , I did use English Muffin Toast Bread and I also used Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. It was very delicious ?.Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike