Have you ever tried to make peanut sauce for spring rolls at home? It’s a fairly easy recipe, but there are plenty of moving parts along the way, and it’s very easy to mess it up. I speak from experience. Peanut sauce is the best part of spring rolls. Just like peanut butter and jelly, peanut sauce and spring rolls go together. There’s nothing better than piling a plate with delicious spring rolls, then pouring on your favorite creamy peanut sauce.
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Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 spring rolls 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
These Vietnamese spring rolls are fresh, not fried! They’re the perfect party appetizer or light meal. The peanut sauce sends them over the top. Recipe yields 8 spring rolls.
- 2 ounces rice vermicelli or maifun brown rice noodles*
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup torn butter lettuce, ribs removed
- 1 cup very thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or sliced into strips with a julienne peeler
- 2 Persian (mini) cucumbers or 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced or sliced into strips with a julienne peeler
- 2 medium jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
- 8 sheets of rice paper (spring roll wrappers)
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed
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- To make the spring rolls: Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the noodles just until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse them under cool water, and return them to the pot. Off the heat, toss the noodles with the sesame oil and salt, and set aside.
- Fill a shallow pan (a pie pan or 9″ round cake pan works great) with an inch of water. Fold a lint-free tea towel in half and place it next to the dish. Make sure your prepared fillings are within reach. Combine the green onion, cilantro and mint in a small bowl, and stir.
- Place one piece of rice paper in the water and let it rest for about 20 seconds, give or take. You’ll learn to go by feel here—wait until the sheet is pliable but not super floppy. Carefully lay it flat on the towel.
- Leaving about 1 inch of open rice paper around the edges, cover the lower third of the paper with a few pieces of butter lettuce, followed by a small handful of rice noodles, some cabbage, and a few strips of carrot, cucumber and jalapeño. Sprinkle generously with the herb mix.
- Fold the lower edge up over the fillings, rolling upward just until the filling is compactly enclosed. Fold over the short sides like you would make a burrito. Lastly, roll it up. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- To make the peanut sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, tamari, honey, sesame oil, and garlic. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed to make a super creamy but dippable sauce.
- Serve the spring rolls with peanut sauce on the side. You can serve them whole, or slice them in half on the diagonal with a sharp chef’s knife.
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Be sure to use certified gluten-free noodles and tamari (not soy sauce, which typically contains gluten).
MAKE IT VEGAN: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
MAKE IT PEANUT FREE: Substitute almond butter (if not avoiding nuts altogether) or sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE: You can definitely mix together the peanut sauce in advance. You can also prepare the veggies several hours or up to 1 day in advance, and store them in an air-tight container (they will lose freshness with time). The spring roll wrappers tend to dry out with time or once chilled, so spring rolls are best assembled shortly before serving. If you’d like to keep them fresh for an hour or two, store them under a lightly damp, lint-free tea towel at room temperature (the skin tends to harden in the refrigerator).
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PEANUT SAUCE RECIPE
This quick and easy Peanut Sauce recipe can be made with just a few simple ingredients in 5 minutes or less! Creamy peanut butter, savory soy sauce, a touch of sugar, and the heat of Sriracha make for a delectably smooth, spicy-sweet flavor. Whether used as a dip for fresh spring rolls or chicken satay or drizzled over noodles and salads, this homemade Thai dressing is guaranteed to please.
Asian dishes are well known for their complexity of flavor, but what if I were to tell you that you are only 5 minutes and 6 simple ingredients away from one of the BEST Thai dipping sauces ever?
This super simple Peanut Sauce is ultra creamy, a little sweet, just a bit tangy, and comes with a pleasantly spicy kick.
Peanut butter is mixed with flavor-packed ingredients such as rich soy sauce, a sweetener like brown sugar, spicy Sriracha, aromatic garlic, acidic rice vinegar, and just a touch of water until delectably smooth and silky.
Try dipping your favorite Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls in it, or drizzling it atop some Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad
The simple ingredients you need to make this Peanut Sauce recipe include:
- Peanut butter. Smooth peanut butter without any added sugar is best. This gives you the chance to adjust the sweetness of the sauce to your preference.
- Soy sauce. This adds a salty, umami flavor. Gluten-free varieties or Tamari sauce may be used to avoid products with gluten, and coconut liquid aminos also work as a soy-free alternative.
- Sugar. Brown sugar will taste the best, but honey and agave nectar may be used if you’d like a healthier alternative. If on a low-carb or keto diet, you can also substitute with a non-nutritive sweetener such as stevia.
- Sriracha sauce. This spicy, lightly sweet condiment helps bring as much or as little heat as you’d like, for an extra kick.
- Rice vinegar. An acidic component gives it a nice tanginess and cuts through some of the oily richness of the peanut butter. Rice vinegar is the most common and authentic type to use, but fresh lime juice may also be used.
- Garlic. A clove of fresh garlic is preferred, but ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted for each clove.
- Water. This helps to thin out the sauce until it is a good consistency for dipping or drizzling, as desired.
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HOW TO MAKE PEANUT SAUCE
The basic steps for making Peanut Sauce are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.
MIX THE MAIN INGREDIENTS
Add all of the ingredients except for the water to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk them together until smooth and well combined.
If the peanut butter is too difficult to whisk at room temperature, it can be warmed for 10-20 seconds in the microwave to soften it up and make it easier to mix with the other ingredients.
WHISK IN WATER
When all the other ingredients are combined, slowly whisk in 1 tablespoon of warm water at a time. This will help to thin out the sauce to the desired consistency – going slightly thicker for a dipping sauce, and slightly thinner for a drizzling sauce or dressing.
About 3-6 tablespoons of water should help it get to the right consistency, but adjust accordingly based on preference.
By the time the desired amount of water is fully whisked in, the sauce should have returned to a lighter brown color, similar to that of the peanut butter.
Serve the sauce with Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls, and enjoy!
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- To Prep-Ahead: Homemade peanut sauce can be prepared up to 3-4 days in advance, however, the sauce will gradually start to lose some of its flavor over time.
- To Store: Prepared peanut sauce can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze: Leftover sauce can be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 4-6 months.
- To Reheat: Stored peanut sauce may be left out on the counter for an hour before serving, or microwaved in the oven for 10-20 seconds to make it smooth and creamy.
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The recipe you’ll find below is already vegetarian and vegan as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:
- Gluten-Free: Substitute soy sauce for a gluten-free variety, or for Tamari sauce, which is prepared without wheat.
- Peanut-Free: Use almond or cashew butter in place of peanut butter.
- Low-Carb: Instead of sugar, use a non-nutritive sweetener such as stevia extract.
- Whole30: Use almond or cashew butter, coconut sugar or honey, apple cider vinegar, and a hot sauce without any added sugars.
- Soy-Free: Substitute the soy sauce or Tamari sauce for coconut liquid aminos, which bear a similar taste without the soy.
- Refined Sugar-Free: Replace the brown sugar with honey, agave nectar, or coconut sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are peanut sauce and satay sauce the same thing?
While peanut sauce can technically refer to any sauce featuring peanuts or peanut butter, satay sauce is a form of preparation generally involving soy sauce, sugar, chili sauce, and water. Despite its association with dishes like spring rolls, the trend of referring to this variety of peanut sauce as “satay sauce” comes from its actual origins in Indonesia, where it was originally intended to be served alongside satay, a dish of grilled, skewered meat.
What do you use peanut sauce for?
Peanut sauce can be used for a wide variety of Asian dishes, such as Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai lettuce wraps, Indonesian satay, or Pad Thai with a nutty kick. However, it also serves as a delicious accompaniment to steaks, crispy-fried tofu, salads, slaws, fresh vegetables for dipping, and much more.
How do you thicken peanut sauce?
Before it has been thinned out with water, peanut sauce already has a very thick consistency. However, if it has been thinned out a little too much, try putting it in the fridge for a short amount of time to solidify a bit, or carefully whisk in a little more peanut butter to thicken it back up. Keep in mind that this may alter the flavor of the sauce, and require additional adjustments to taste.
Why are some peanut sauce recipes cooked on the stovetop and others not?
It comes down to preference and preparation technique. Some recipes where the sauce is being used in a hot dish may call for it to be prepared very warmly, or some cooks may find it easier to incorporate all of the ingredients when the sauce is heated on the stovetop. However, if it is simply being used as a dipping sauce or in a tossed salad, for example, there is no need for it to be heated through.
EXPERT TIPS AND TRICKS
- Warm it up. To make the sauce easier to stir, microwave the peanut butter for 10 seconds before adding it, and use warm water instead of cold to thin it out.
- Prep in bulk. Peanut sauce reheats beautifully, so make a double or triple batch and portion it out to freeze until ready to use it.
- Watch the spice. Start by adding just a little bit of Sriracha to the sauce and tasting it, gradually adding more and testing until it reaches your desired level of spice.
- Make it creamy. For a thinner, mellower, extra creamy sauce that’s perfect for tossing with noodles or salads, try replacing the water with coconut milk.
- Experiment with flavors. Implementing ingredients like sesame oil, fresh ginger, coconut milk, alternative nut butter, or lime juice within the sauce can help yield different results.
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Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce for Fresh Spring Rolls / Summer Rolls (Tương Chấm Gỏi Cuốn)
Creamy sweet and spicy Vietnamese peanut sauce. The perfect dipping sauce for fresh spring rolls and summer rolls.
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup sweetened creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted toasted peanuts (optional)
- Sriracha chili sauce (optional)
- In a small pot, heat oil on medium-high. Add garlic and saute until it begins to turn color (about 30 seconds).
- Add water, hoisin sauce, and peanut butter. Whisk until smooth. Simmer on low for about one minute then remove from heat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Transfer to individual sauce bowls, and top with a sprinkle of toasted peanuts and a drizzle of Sriracha chili sauce. Serve on the side of your favorite spring/summer rolls.