Homemade Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

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This sweet chili sauce has a well-rounded flavor without being too spicy. It’s perfect on steaks, grilled fish, roasted vegetables, and chicken wings.

Homemade Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

I’ve always been a fan of spicy sweet chili sauce at my local wing joint, and it’s one of my go-to dipping sauce for chicken nuggets. However, the Chef in me always wonders if I can make my own version at home that would be better with less or no preservatives.

When you buy sweet chili sauce, they are made with high fructose corn syrup, water, vinegar, chili paste, and preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite. Not to mention the caution you must take if you have certain allergies, like soy, nuts, or wheat. You could be taking a huge risk.

This recipe is my successful replication of a sweet chili sauce with natural ingredients.

Overhead shot of Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce

What is Thai Sweet Chili Sauce?

Thai sweet chili sauce (or simply chili sauce) is a type of hot sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, sugar, and salt. It is popular in Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Singaporean cuisine.

The chili peppers used to make sweet chili sauce are typically Thai chilis, red jalapeños, or Fresno peppers. The sauce is made by cooking the peppers with vinegar and sugar until the mixture thickens. Salt or fish sauce is then added to taste.

What is Thai sweet chili sauce used for?

Thai sweet chili sauce is used as a condiment for various dishes. It can be served with grilled chicken, pork, beef, fish, shrimp, rice, noodles, and vegetables. It can also be used as a dipping sauce.

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Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a sweet Thai chili sauce at home.

Granulated sugar

Plain white sugar is all that’s needed for the sweet component of this recipe.

Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is the perfect combination of sweet and acidic.

Thai bird chilies

Thai bird chilies have a good amount of heat. I actually reduced the amount I love so everyone could enjoy the sauce. Sambal Oelek (chili paste) may be easier to find at your grocery stores.

Fresno chilies

Fresno chilies add a beautiful color and sweetness to the sauce. This of it as a mini red bell pepper cousin.

Garlic

Garlic is going to add some spicy notes to the sauce.

Fish sauce

A little goes a long way! Fish sauce smells bad but adds a ton of umami flavor to your food. If you have anchovy allergies, don’t use it. You can find it near the soy sauce at your local grocery stores.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is going to give our sauce the right body and texture.

wide shot of Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce3

How to Make Thai sweet chili sauce recipe?

Making Thai sweet chili sauce is much easier to make at home than you thought! The flavors are cleaner than anything you’ll buy on the shelf. Plus, your gluten-free friends can enjoy it!

Add sugar, rice vinegar, and ¼ cup water in a medium pot over medium heat, and cook for 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

While that cooks, in a food processor, add Thai chilies, Fresno chilies, and garlic, and blitz on high for 15-20 seconds until the mixture is chopped fine. Be cautious because a good whiff of this will make you sneeze or aggravate your nose.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and the remaining water to make a cornstarch slurry.

Stir in chili mix, fish sauce, and cornstarch mixture in the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, until sauce thickens and coats a spoon. Pour into a heatproof container or bowl, and cool before serving.

Sweet Thai Chili Chicken Wings4

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are a few notes I had from making sweet chili sauce.

  • You can use coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar for an authentic sweet chili sauce.
  • The sauce is amazing on burgers, fries, stir-fries, fried chicken wings, fried fish, dumplings, or egg rolls.
  • If you cannot find Thai chilies, use bird chilies, serrano, habanero, jalapeno, or scotch bonnets.
  • Add 6 Thai chilies for a really spicy sauce.
  • Use ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper per Thai chili for a milder sauce.
  • You can use 1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes instead of Thai chilies.
  • If you cannot find Fresno chilies use 1 medium red bell pepper.
  • Fresno peppers look like red jalapenos.
  • You can use 2 tablespoons of Sambal Oelek, a chili paste, instead of Thai chilies.
  • Rice wine vinegar can be found near the soy sauce at your grocery store.
  • Some fish sauces contain shellfish, so read the label if you have an allergy or do not consume shellfish.
  • If you cannot find rice wine vinegar, use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar instead.
  • Always check your local Asian grocery stores for anything that may not be available at your regular store.
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FAQs

Here are the questions

What does sweet Thai chili sauce taste like?

Thai sweet chili sauce tastes sweet, tangy, and bright with a bit of heat. The vinegar in the recipe tames the majority of the spicy chilis added. If you like a more spicer sweet chili sauce, add more chilis. If you want a milder sauce, use red chili flakes.

Is Thai chili sauce the same as sweet chili sauce?

The two sauces are synonymous with each other but not the same for one difference. Thai sweet chili sauce is typically made with fresh chilies, while sweet chili sauce uses dried chilies.

Is Thai sweet red chili sauce hot?

Yes, Thai sweet red chili sauce can be hot. It has a spicy and tangy flavor that many people enjoy. You can control how spicy it will be when you make homemade sweet chili sauce.

Does Thai sweet chili sauce have gluten?

No, Thai sweet chili sauce is gluten-free, depending on the brand of fish sauce you use. Some fish sauce brands are gluten-free, and others aren’t. Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce is gluten-free. Please read the labels to confirm if you have a gluten allergy.

Does Thai sweet chili sauce need to be refrigerated?

No, it can remain in a cool dark place but refrigerating the sauce will extend its shelf life.

What is the best Thai fish sauce brand?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as different brands of fish sauce will have their own unique flavors. Some of the most popular brands include Red Boat, Squid, and Three Crabs. It’s best to try a few different brands and see which you prefer.

What preservatives should I use for homemade chili sauce?

When making a homemade sweet chili sauce, you do not need to use preservatives.

How to store leftover sweet Thai chili sauce?

Sweet Thai chili sauce is best 4 days after making but will remain fresh in an airtight container for 7 days in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing the sauce. 

Sweet Thai Chili Chicken Wings2

More Recipes

Here are some recipes you can use for dipping sauce or drizzling the sweet chili sauce over.

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Here are my steps for getting organized before I start anything.

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the Thai sweet chili sauce recipe on the counter.

Step 2: Put everything measured into individual bowls.

Step 3: Follow the recipe and get ready for the best sweet chili sauce you’ve ever had.

If you’re looking for a delicious and versatile sauce to add to your meal, give this Thai sweet chili sauce a try. It’s perfect on everything from steaks to chicken nuggets. Leave a comment and let me know your favorite way to enjoy this sauce!

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Overhead shot of Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce

Homemade Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Kenneth Temple
This sweet chili sauce has a well-rounded flavor without being too spicy. It's perfect on steaks, grilled fish, roasted vegetables, and chicken wings.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Simmer 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Asian
Servings 2 cups
Calories 606 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water + 2 tablespoons
  • 2 Thai bird chilies or serrano chopped
  • 4 Fresno chilies or 1 medium red bell pepper chopped
  • ½ cup water divided
  • 8 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • In a medium pot over medium heat, add sugar, rice vinegar, and ¼ cup water, and cook for 3 minutes.
  • While that cooks, in a food processor, add Thai chilies, Fresno chilies, and garlic, and blitz on high for 15-20 seconds until the mixture is chopped fine. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and the remaining water.
  • Stir in chili mix, fish sauce, and cornstarch mixture in the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens and coats a spoon. Pour into a heatproof container or bowl, and cool before serving. The sauce can be kept covered in the fridge for 7 days.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are a few notes I had from making sweet chili sauce.
  • You can use coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar for an authentic sweet chili sauce.
  • The sauce is amazing on burgers, fries, stir-fries, fried chicken wings, fried fish, dumplings, or egg rolls.
  • If you cannot find Thai chilies, use bird chilies, serrano, habanero, jalapeno, or scotch bonnets.
  • Add 6 Thai chilies for a really spicy sauce.
  • Use ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper per Thai chili for a milder sauce.
  • You can use 1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes instead of Thai chilies.
  • If you cannot find Fresno chilies use 1 medium red bell pepper.
  • Fresno peppers look like red jalapenos.
  • You can use 2 tablespoons of Sambal Oelek, a chili paste, instead of Thai chilies.
  • Rice wine vinegar can be found near the soy sauce at your grocery store.
  • Some fish sauces contain shellfish, so read the label if you have an allergy or do not consume shellfish.
  • If you cannot find rice wine vinegar, use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar instead.
  • Always check your local Asian grocery stores for anything that may not be available at your regular store.
Storage:
Sweet Thai chili sauce is best 4 days after making but will remain fresh in an air-tight container for 7 days in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing the sauce.
This sauce is amazing on burgers, fries, stir-fries, chicken wings, fried fish, dumplings, or egg rolls.

Nutrition

Calories: 606kcalCarbohydrates: 145gProtein: 7gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gSodium: 979mgPotassium: 1177mgFiber: 11gSugar: 121gVitamin A: 15020IUVitamin C: 622mgCalcium: 97mgIron: 3mg
Keyword homemade sweet chili sauce, sauce chili Thai, sweet and spicy sauce, sweet chili sauce, sweet chili sauce recipe, sweet Thai chili sauce, Thai sweet chili, Thai sweet chili sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce recipe
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