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!

For more phenomenal homemade Asian dipping sauces be sure to try our Sweet and Sour Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, and Yum Yum Sauce!

sweet chili sauce recipe best homemade Thai Asian

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.

sweet chili sauce recipe best homemade

How to Make Sweet Chili Sauce 

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.

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).  You can find natural food coloring here.

Can I Make This Sugar Free?

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.

For a sugar free alternative you can use a powdered/granular sweetener of your choice, such as erythritol.

How to Use Sweet Chili Sauce

Here are a few things you can enjoy with your homemade sauce – either as a dip, marinade or added to it:

  • Wontons, Steamed dumplings, and potstickers
  • Spring rolls and egg rolls
  • Chicken wings and chicken tenders
  • Grilled, baked or fried chicken or salmon
  • Grilled or battered shrimp or fried calamari
  • Steamed or grilled vegetables
  • Meatballs
  • Fried or baked tofu nuggets
  • Chicken/meat/seafood kabobs
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Stir fries, fried rice and noodles
  • Mixed with cream cheese and served with crackers

how to use sweet chili sauce

ways to use sweet chili sauce

How to Store It

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.

Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

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.

mixing ingredients in saucepan

Continue stirring for about a minute until the sauce is thickened.

Let the sauce cool completely, pour into an airtight jar.

stirring ingredients in saucepan

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge where it will keep for up to a week.


sweet chili sauce recipe asian thai best easy homemade

Be sure to try these other homemade sauces!

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet July 17, 2019

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