I’ve had Sweet Chili Hot Sauce on my bucket list for years. It’s the kind of thing I never knew existed until I moved to California, but now that I’ve found it, I can’t get enough. I don’t really put hot sauce on anything these days, but a splash of this chili sauce on an ice cream sundae will blow your mind.
BEST Sweet Chili Sauce
This homemade sweet chili sauce recipe is guaranteed to become a favorite staple in your home! It’s versatile, is quick and easy to make, is free of additives, and tastes WAY better than the store-bought stuff!
Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
As with most everything, nothing beats homemade and Sweet Chili Sauce is no exception. Not only is it super quick and easy to make, it’s cheaper, doesn’t have any additives or preservatives, you know exactly where the ingredients come from, AND it tastes better than the bottled stuff. That’s a win-win! This homemade sweet chili sauce recipe is sure to become your go-to whenever you’re craving this deliciously versatile sauce!
WHAT IS SWEET CHILI SAUCE?
Sometimes also referred to as Thai Sweet Chili Sauce or Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, it’s a simultaneously sweet, savory, tangy and spicy sauce incorporating red chilies, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar.
You can find bottled sweet chili sauce in most grocery stores but if you’re like me once you open the bottle it ends up sitting in the fridge forever and forgotten about until it’s time to toss it. One of the several advantages of making you’re own (besides no junk ingredients, fresher, tastier) is that you can regulate how much you make. This recipe makes about 1 cup which is usually enough for whatever you have in mind and if you need more you can simply double it. As quick and easy as it is to make there’s simply NO excuse to buy it!
One of the ingredients used in sweet chili sauce is pickled red chili. I’ve found that between using a chili paste like sambal oelek and adding some vinegar that same flavor is fully replicated. Most grocery stores carry sambal oelek but if you cannot find it you can use dried red chili flakes. Chili flakes are considerably spicier than sambal oelek so be sure to cut back on them unless you like it really hot.
CAN YOU SAY “UMAMI”?
Sweet chili sauce often has all the “high notes” of sugar and white vinegar without the “low notes” of umami for balance. While this sauce does have garlic (a umami ingredient), we’re also going to add a splash of tamari (or soy sauce), which is a fermented product simply oozing umami. It adds depth and makes the overall flavor more interesting. If you’re gluten-free be sure to use tamari.
HOW DO I GET MY SAUCE TO LOOK RED LIKE THE BOTTLED STUFF?
If you’re using a chili sauce like sambal oelek that will give your sauce a nice red color. Without it your sauce will not be as red. Is there another way to give it that aesthetically attractive red color? Yes, if you want a little red color boost you can use food coloring but if you’re going to I strongly recommend using natural red coloring (usually made from beet or paprika extract).
CAN I USE A SUGAR SUBSTITUTE FOR MAKING SWEET CHILI SAUCE?
Yes, you can use honey, agave syrup or brown rice syrup if you prefer. Since these are liquids you will need to add a little extra cornstarch to thicken it. Honey in particular is also sweeter than sugar so I recommend using a little less and adding some water in its place to dilute the sweetness.
HOW DO I USE SWEET CHILI SAUCE?
Here are a few things you can enjoy with your homemade sweet chili sauce, either as a dip, marinade or added to it:
- Steamed dumplings and potstickers
- Spring rolls
- Egg rolls
- Chicken Wings
- Grilled, baked or fried chicken or salmon
- Grilled or battered shrimp
- Chicken nuggets
- Fried calamari
- Fried or baked tofu nuggets
- Chicken/meat/seafood kabobs
- Mozzarella sticks
- Stir fries
- Fried rice
- Mixed with cream cheese and served with crackers
- …and more!
This sauce is as versatile as your imagination allows!
HOW DO I STORE SWEET CHILI SAUCE?
You can store the sauce in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for two to three months. The sauce will congeal if you freeze it. But if you gently heat it up (on the stovetop or in the microwave) and stir it, its texture will return to normal.
Let’s get started!
Place all of the ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring regularly. Once the sugar is dissolved stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring continually.
Continue stirring for about a minute until the sauce is thickened.
Let the sauce cool completely, pour into an airtight jar.
Store in an airtight jar in the fridge where it will keep for up to a week.
SWEET CHILLI SAUCE
You will find many ways in which to enjoy my homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce and you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to make. It is made from ingredients that are readily available and, as with all foods that we make ourselves, we can control the quality of the ingredients which we use. It is certain to become a staple condiment in your home!
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE:
If you like a condiment that adds a boost of flavour to many dishes, look no further, this is the recipe for you. Sweet Chilli Sauce is an essential condiment to many Asian recipes.
Here are some of the reasons that we love it:
- The flavours are a harmonious blend of sweet, spicy and tangy.
- It will suit people who follow a gluten-free or vegan diet.
- You will be delighted to discover how quick and easy it is to make your own Thai-style Sweet Chilli Sauce – it will take just a little over 30 minutes.
- All the ingredients are readily available; in fact, you may have many on hand.
INGREDIENTS IN THIS RECIPE:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Sugar – regular white sugar.
Water – I use filtered water.
Rice wine vinegar – is less acidic and milder than other vinegar.
Garlic – fresh garlic for flavour.
Long red chillies – also known as cayenne chillies. They generally have mild-gentle heat but can vary.
Cornflour/corn starch and cold water – combine to slightly thicken the chilli sauce.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:
The long, red chillies are generally mild but can vary, so you may wish to wear disposable gloves.
- Finely chop the garlic and the chillies. Add the sugar, water, vinegar, garlic and finely chopped chillies to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then simmer rapidly on medium to high heat for 12 minutes.
- Mix the cornflour with cold water.
- Lower the heat, add the cornflour and water mixture to the chillies, stir well and simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then decant your Sweet Chilli Sauce into a sterilised jar or bottle.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS AND FAQS:
When making your own pickles and preserves, always ensure you are sterilising the jars you will store them in. This is very simple to do:
- Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid and ensure they have been washed by hand in hot soapy water then rinsed well
- Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C (270 F) and leave the jars for 15-20 minutes.
Is this a hot sauce?
This is a relatively mild sauce. The cayenne chillies have great flavour and are often mild, but may vary. It should have a good balance of spicy and sweet.
How can I make it hotter?
If you would like a hot sauce, simply replace some of the chillies with a hot variety, such as Thai red chillies.
Can I use another vinegar?
Yes, you could use white wine vinegar. Do not use distilled white vinegar; it is too strong.
How long does the Sweet Chilli Sauce last?
Store in a sterilised glass jar/bottle, in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
This Thai sweet chili sauce recipe is the perfect mix of savory, sweet and spicy, great with shrimp, noodle dishes, egg rolls, or as a dipping sauce. Easy to make!
This is the recipe for Thai Sweet Chili Sauce you’ve been looking for, my friends. This version is the ideal mix of sweet and spicy, perfectly balanced to please your spicy food loving palates.
Thai sweet chili sauce is a sweet, sour and spicy chili sauce used to add punch and flavor to many dishes. In Thailand, it is called “nam jim gai” (sometimes spelled “nam chim kai”).
While it originated in Thailand, it has spread around the world and has become hugely popular in the U.S. and western cooking. It’s a mix of chili peppers with vinegar and other ingredients, then sweetened and often thickened.
You’ll usually find it in bottles at the supermarket, or in restaurants paired with fried chicken or spring rolls, as the combination of sweet and sour perfectly compliments the salty qualities of fried foods.
However, you can use it in so many other ways.
Of course you can find sweet chili sauce in grocery stores, but homemade sweet chili sauce is so much better, especially when you can make it your own way.
Most recipes focus on the sweet and sour elements, though I like to up the overall spice factor just a bit, in order to achieve a better balance for those like me who enjoy spicy foods.
Let’s talk about how to make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, shall we?
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Ingredients
- Rice Vinegar. White vinegar is a good substitute.
- Sugar. You can use honey as a substitute.
- Hot Chili Flakes. Use dried/crushed red chilies for this recipe. Options include bird’s eye chilies, spur chilies, Thai chilies, japones, chile de arbol, or others – or use fresh minced red chili peppers.
- Rice Wine.
- Sriracha. Or use sambal oelek as a substitute.
- Fish Sauce.
- Corn Starch. For thickening.
How To Make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce – The Recipe Method
Add to a Small Pot. Add all of the ingredients to a small pot.
Boil, then Simmer. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring, until it thickens. If you prefer a thicker sweet chili sauce, add in more of the corn starch slurry and simmer until it thickens up to your preference.
Cool and Refrigerate. Cool the sauce and enjoy as desired. Keep refrigerated.
Boom! Done! Your Thai sweet chili sauce is ready to go. How are you serving yours? Dipping sauce? Slathered over shrimp? I’d love to hear it! So easy to make, isn’t it?
Serving Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- Fried Chicken Dipping Sauce. This sauce is most popular as a dipping sauce for chicken, particularly fried chicken or chicken wings. It’s also great with other fried foods, like fried shrimp.
- Seafood Dipping Sauce. Thai chili sauce is perfect as a dipping sauce for shrimp and seafood.
- Dipping Sauce for Rolls. Sweet chili sauce is essential for fried egg rolls, but also try it on fresh spring rolls. So good!
- Noodles. Swirl Thai sweet chili sauce into a bowl of noodles, or use to enhance your stir fries.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Other Ingredients/Add Ins. Soy sauce is a popular addition to Thai sweet chili sauce, though I omit it in my own recipe. Give it a go, as it does compliment nicely. When serving, try adding crushed roasted peanuts or fresh chopped cucumber.
- Heat Factor. Mild-Medium. My version isn’t an overly spicy version, with only a touch of heat. You can easily add in hotter chili flakes to achieve your perfect balance. Use bell peppers for a no-heat version.
That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my Thai Sweet Chili Sauce recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!