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Butter-Baked Saltines with Chili-Crisp Yogurt Dip

The ultimate 10-minute appetizer.

The Kitchn

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Photo by Olive & Mango

Want to be the hero of your next potluck? You’ve come to the right place. This buttery Saltine upgrade and spicy, garlicky dip is so knock-your-socks-off good that everyone will be begging for the recipe. It feels familiar and fancy all at once, and packs a surprising amount of flavor. And yet, if you start with store-bought chili crisp, you could whip up this dish 10 minutes before the party starts. That’s part of what makes this the ultimate potluck appetizer: You can make it at the last minute, it’s easy to transport, it can be served at room temperature (for up to two hours), it’s inexpensive to make, and everyone loves it.

Photo by Meghan Splawn

The 2-Ingredient Yogurt Dip That Shines

Buttered saltines sound simple (and they are!), but serving them with a cool dip spiked with garlicky chili crisp will practically glue folks to the appetizer table. We’ve included a recipe for an easy homemade chili oil, but store-bought chili crisp makes this a 10-minute appetizer with just four ingredients.

If you’re not familiar with chili crisp, the condiment has stolen our collective hearts this year. It’s full of warming spices, a kick of heat, garlicky flavor, and crunchy texture in every spoonful. Most recently, it’s become popular at Trader Joe’s, but the Chinese condiment has been around for at least two decades. It’s more than worth it to have some on hand at all times for frying eggs, topping toasts, and making this dip.

This dip is all about contrast. The yogurt is cool and creamy, and the chili oil is funky, crunchy, and spicy. You could pair it with chopped veggies or a basic cracker, but we love the juxtaposition of serving it with the very old-school snack of butter-baked saltines. Butter-baked saltines are exactly as they sound — drenched in butter and baked until crisp. They are really amazing served warm (trust me, people will audibly gasp), but they also keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days — if you don’t eat them all first.

Butter-Baked Saltines with Chili Crisp Yogurt Dip

Yield: Serves 10 to 12

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 32 minutes

Ingredients

For the chili crisp:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the butter saltines:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 sleeves saltine crackers (about 48 crackers)

For the yogurt dip:

  • 1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chili crisp

Instructions

  1. Make the chili crisp: Peel and thinly slice 2 heads of garlic (about 1/2 cup garlic slices). Place the garlic and 1 cup canola oil in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the garlic is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Darkly browned garlic will taste bitter, so keep an eye on the mixture as it cooks. Meanwhile, prepare the ginger mixture.

  2. Peel and grate a 1-inch piece ginger (about 1 tablespoon grated ginger), then place in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red pepper flake, 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

  3. When the garlic oil is ready, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of ginger and stir to combine. Let the oil mixture and the garlic in the strainer cool separately to room temperature (this makes for crisper garlic flakes). Once cooled, stir the garlic into the oil mixture. Meanwhile, make the butter saltines.

  4. Make the butter saltines: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Arrange 2 sleeves of saltines salt-side down in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in a small microwave safe-bowl and drizzle over the saltines. Bake until the edges of the saltines begin to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Let the saltines cool completely before storing or serving.

  5. Make the yogurt dip: Place 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup chili crisp in a small bowl and stir to combine. Use a spoon to scoop off some of the brightly-hued garlic and pepper flakes to top the finished dip.

Make ahead: The buttered crackers can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The chili crisp can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month — some separation is normal with the dip, just stir it together again.

Meghan Splawn is the Food Editor for Kitchn's Skills content. She co-hosts a weekly podcast about food and family called Didn't I Just Feed You.

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This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published November 4, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

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