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Apr 10, 2022

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese with Homemade Crusty Cheese Bread

This chili crisp grilled cheese sandwich is the way to take a grilled cheese sandwich to the next level. You'll never have "regular" grilled cheese again. 

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese Sandwich slices.


This chili crisp grilled cheese, with a mixture of cheddar and jack cheeses and dollops of chili crisp stuffed between two slices of crusty cheese bread turns your favorite lunchtime sandwich into something really special. 

What is Chili Crisp?

Chili crisp is a Chinese condiment made with spicy red chili oil, onions, garlic, and sometimes soy nuts or peanuts. The brand I used was Laoganma Spicy Chili Crisp. It is the original version, and, according to Serious Eats, the brand was started in 1996 by the owner of a noodle shop who found that her sauce was so popular that she decided to bottle it. Evidently, it is one of the most popular condiments in China. 

Chili crisp jar.

There are also many new brands of chili crisp available with different levels of spice and flavors. Even Trader Joe's had a version, which tells you that chili crisp has gone mainstream. 

It's a great seasoning to spice up your favorite dishes and leftovers. I like to use it for dipping pot stickers, with cream cheese for a cracker spread, with leftover rice. to spice up soups, and in quesadillas. 

It definitely is delicious in melty grilled cheese. 

Chili crisp grilled cheese slices on a plate.

Here's what you will need to make these chili crisp grilled cheese sandwiches:

For the Bread: 

Use a crusty bread such as a sourdough or French bread. If you want to take your sandwich to another level, make it with a cheesy bread. Yes, cheese on cheese. I've included the recipe for the cheesy bread, but it is optional. 

Basically, I added 200 grams of Fontina cheese cubes and some black pepper to the dough of no-knead bread and ended up with these delicious pockets of oozy cheese. 

Homemade Crusty Cheese Bread crumb.

If you still want to have some cheesy flavor on the outside of your sandwich but don't have time to make your own cheesy bread, just mix some freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese with the butter that you spread on the outside of bread slices before grilling. 

This will add extra cheesy flavor to your sandwich. And who doesn't love slightly burnt cheese?

If you do make your own, you will love how the cheese flows like lava over the crust of the bread as it bakes. Some of the cheese cubes will peek out of the top of your shaped loaf. Don't worry about them because that's how you get the cheesy crust. 

Homemade Crusty Cheese Bread in the baking pan.

Be sure to use good parchment paper so you can grab those cheesy bits at the bottom of the loaf and pop them in your mouth. 

I was really happy with the flavor of the Fontina cheese in the bread. It's melty like mozzarella, but with a little more flavor. You can substitute other cheeses, but if they are saltier, you might want to adjust the amount of salt in the dough. 

For the Cheese in the Sandwich: 

I used a combination of grated cheddar cheese and jack cheese. 

You will also need butter for the outside of the bread along with the chili crisp. I also added a few chopped scallions to the grated cheese, but they are optional. 

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese close up.

How to Make Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:

First, butter one side each of two slices of bread. 

Next, place the first slice, butter side down, in a skillet. I used a nonstick skillet but any kind will work. Top the bread with some grated cheddar cheese and then dollop on a few teaspoons of chili crisp. 

After that, layer on some grated jack cheese and then top it with the other slice of bread, butter side up. 

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese sandwich being prepped.

Next, set the burner to medium low and grill the sandwich until the bread has browned and then gently flip the sandwich over and grill the other side until it has browned and the cheese in the middle has melted. 

Slice the sandwich and serve. 

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese whole on a plate.

Make Ahead Tips:

If you have leftovers, or if you want to make these ahead of time, just let the finished sandwiches cool to room temperature and then wrap them in foil and refrigerate. 

When you are ready to serve them, reheat them in an oven or toaster oven on a foil lined baking sheet at 325 degrees F for about 15 minutes. They are just as good as the freshly made sandwiches. 

If your lunchroom at work has a toaster oven, definitely try this. It's way tastier than reheating leftovers in a microwave. Your colleagues will be jealous. 

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese with strawberries on a plate.

Serve this sandwich for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast (as I did with leftovers). Of course, it is amazing accompanied with tomato soup or roasted tomato and pepper soup.  

For another great grilled cheese sandwich combination, definitely give the Bacon and Guacamole grilled cheese sandwich a try as well. 

This week, the From Our Dinner Table group is sharing recipes for grilled cheese. April is actually National Grilled Cheese Month! If you love grilled cheese, be sure to check out everyone's recipes. 

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Get Your Grilled Cheese On!

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese with Homemade Crusty Cheese Bread on a plate.

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese with Homemade Crusty Cheese Bread

Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese with Homemade Crusty Cheese Bread
Yield: 2 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 15 Min
This chili crisp grilled cheese sandwich is the way to take a grilled cheese sandwich to the next level. You'll never have "regular" grilled cheese again.


For the Sandwich
  • 2 large slices crusty artisan bread
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 ounce grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 teaspoons spicy chili crisp
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sliced scallions (optional)
  • 1 ounce jack cheese
For the Cheese Bread
  • 400 grams (3 cups) bread flour
  • 200 grams Fontina cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 6 grams salt (1 teaspoon table)
  • 3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
  • 300 grams (1 1/3 cups) cool water


To Make the Sandwich
  1. Butter one slice of the bread and place it, buttered side down, in a skillet. Top the bread with the grated cheddar cheese and then dollop on the chili crisp. Add the optional scallions. 
  2. After that, layer the grated jack cheese over the chili crisp.
  3. Butter the other slice of bread and place it over the cheese layer, butter side up.
  4. Turn on the heat to medium low and grill the sandwich until the bread has browned. Flip the sandwich and brown the other side. The cheese should be melty and the outsides should be golden brown.
  5. Slice and serve.
To Make the Bread (optional)
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave out at room temperature for about 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Using a dough scraper, spatula, or bench knife, gently scrape the dough out onto a floured surface.
  3. Wet your hands and your dough scraper gently form the dough into a ball.
  4. Place the ball, seam side down, on your work surface and tuck the scraper under it all around to create tighten the loaf just a little.
  5. Line a 9 inch bowl or banneton basket with a tea towel and generously dust it with flour, bran, or a 50/50 mixture of wheat and rice flour.
  6. Tighten the dough ball and place it in the bowl, seam side up.
  7. Spray the top of the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Let it sit for one to two hours.
  8. While the dough is proofing, place a large cast iron Dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  9. Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid.
  10. First, remove the plastic wrap from the bowl, and top the dough with a piece of good quality parchment paper.
  11. Top the parchment with a dinner plate, and then flip the whole thing over.
  12. Remove the towel from the dough and lift the dough with the parchment paper and place it in the Dutch oven, leaving the parchment under the dough.
  13. Cover the pan and return it to the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 210 degrees. I transferred the partially baked loave to a baking sheet for the last 15 minutes to prevent burning.
  14. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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grilled cheese, bread, chili crisp
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Never heard of it before today! But I see I will have to try it. Lots of recipes for homemade too, and I do have Sichuan peppercorns!

    1. I've seen the homemade recipes too! On my list to make one of these days!

  2. Love the flavors! I need to get that chili crisp and try this one. Also, thanks for yummy bread recipe as well!

  3. What a flavorful grilled cheese! My Mom used to make a great ham & cheese bread so I get how good the cheesy bread must be.


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