How To Make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce


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Sweet, sticky, totally addictive Thai Chili Sauce for dipping grilled meats, spring rolls, dumplings, potstickers, fried wontons, crab rangoon and just about anything else you can dream up.

sweet chili sauce in a small white bowl

I can never believe  how much they charge for this sauce in bottles at the store. It’s incredibly cheap and easy to make at home.

In testing recipes for this month of Thai food, we’ve gone through many batches of this amazing sauce. And every time a jar of it was sitting on the kitchen counter, inevitably someone walked into the room and told me how much they love it. As in, “Jess, I could drink that stuff.”

And I’m right there too.

This dipping sauce is the definition of yum.  It’s sweet and tart with bright flecks of chilis and garlic.

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overhead image of a spoonful of Thai Sweet Chili Sauce on a wooden table

To those who don’t love Spicy Food

If you don’t love spice, this totally authentic Thai sauce is your new best friend.

The batch you see photographed here was not even the tiniest bit spicy. I carefully sliced all the veins out of the jalapeños and took out all but a few seeds. Once the sauce is simmered with sugar, any spice has disappeared. I’d feed this sauce to anyone, including kids, without hesitation.

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overhead image of garlic and chili peppers in a food processor

If you are one of many people out there who don’t love spicy food, we’ve got you covered all month long. While some Thai recipes are inherently spicy, we’re going to give you tips and tricks all month so you can adapt many of our favorite recipes to fit any spice preference.

And if you like a little heat, leave some of those seeds and veins in the mix. You’ll still get the sweet, tart flavors, with a bit of heat at the end.

How To Use It

Oh my, the list of ways you can use this sauce is endless. In Thailand, we love the classic combination of sticky rice and grilled pork or chicken on skewers (satay). Roll the rice in balls, dip it in the sauce. Now that is a meal.

overhead image of Thai Sweet Chili Sauce in a small white bowl

But we’ve got lots of other ideas for you. Serve the dipping sauce with:

Fresh Summer Rolls

dipping Vietnamese Summer Rolls into Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce

Baked Crab Rangoon

overhead image of crab rangoons on a white tray with a small bowl of chili sauce

Crispy Scallion Pancakes

scallion pancakes on a blue cloth

Baked Spring Rolls

a spring roll cut in half

More Homemade Sauce Recipes

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sweet chili sauce in a small white bowl
4.47 from 13 votes

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Our recipe for the totally addictive sweet Thai Chili Sauce that is perfect for dipping grilled meats, spring rolls (fried or fresh), dumplings, potstickers, fried wontons, crab rangoon. You name it, we've probably dipped it in this sauce!
Makes 2 cups
Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8


  • Food Processor or Blender
  • Saucepan


For Sauce:

  • 5 Red Jalapeno Peppers (see note about spice)
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

For Thickener (optional):

  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch


  • Slice peppers in half. Remove seeds and veins to your liking (see note below).
  • In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine peppers, garlic, sugar, vinegar, water and salt. Blend until only very small flecks of the peppers remain.
  • Transfer to a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. (Make sure you stir the sauce frequently as it cooks – it’s prone to bubble over.)
  • To Thicken:
    Whisk together 2 Tablespoons hot water and 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch and add it to the sauce. Simmer for a couple minutes longer, until the sauce is thickened to your liking. (You can also skip the addition of the cornstarch and just simmer the sauce down until it reduces by about half which takes 15 to 20 minutes. I think the flavor is more "clean" this way, but it yields a more watery sauce. The cornstarch addition is definitely the fastest and easiest way to go.)


The spice in jalapeños can vary, but almost all of the spice is in the seeds and veins, so you can remove those to limit the heat. If you want a kid-friendly sauce with no spice at all, remove all the seeds and veins. You can even use red bell peppers to make the sauce (zero spice). This is a great way to go if you want to make a portion of the sauce without spice and some with. Add red pepper flakes to taste to the portion of the spice you want to be spicy.
Feel free to halve this recipe or double (or triple!) it. It keeps for 3-4 weeks in the fridge, but never lasts that long at our house.


Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 116
Keyword: dipping sauce, DIY Thai, easy sauce, easy Thai recipe, homemade sauce, homemade Thai
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.47 from 13 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Hey, I wondered if I batch made this, would hot bath be the right way forward for preserving?
    many thanks

    1. Hi Garry – I’ve never tried it but it has a sufficient amount of sugar that my guess would be a hot water bath (of course, following all necessary food safety measures) would be the way to go!