Homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce recipe uses 6 simple ingredients and takes just 10 minutes to prepare. It’s a healthy flavorful sauce that contains just a fraction of the sugar in store bought options!
Once prepared, use this sauce to make sweet chili salmon, cedar plank salmon or crock pot chicken thighs.
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I’m no stranger to making homemade sauces and dressings like this healthy ranch dressing, Asian salad dressing, or healthy poppy seed dressing. They take minutes to prepare, contain no preservatives, and can be made far healthier than their store bought alternatives.
For example, this Thai sweet chili sauce contains no refined sugar and is heat adjustable for a tastier and healthier version of your favorite Asian sweet chili sauce.
It’s sweet and sour, tangy, with a kick of heat, and makes for a delicious condiment or dipping sauce. Now you can learn how to make it at home with just a few all natural, cost efficient ingredients and just 10 minutes of your time!
If you love homemade dressings as much as I do, browse through 10 of my favorite healthy homemade salad dressings to always have one on hand!
What Is Thai Sweet Chili Sauce?
Also referred to as Asian sweet chili sauce or nam chim kai in Thailand it means ‘dipping sauce for chicken’ and pairs perfectly with almond crusted chicken or crispy coconut chicken.
It commonly may contain red chili paste (or sambal oelek), rice wine vinegar, sugar, and sometimes ginger and fish sauce. My version is a simplified version with easy to find ingredients plus it’s refined sugar free, gluten free and vegan.
Maybe I’m a little biased, but I honestly think this is the only sweet chili sauce recipe you’ll ever need. It’s the best!
One of the best parts about this homemade sauce recipe is that all ingredients listed below are affordable and easy to buy organic if desired.
- Maple syrup: This chili Thai sauce recipe relies on maple syrup rather than using tons of refined white sugar. You could alternatively use honey, agave, or brown rice syrup, but each will affect the flavor and sweetness.
- Vinegar: Rice vinegar is naturally milder and on the sweeter side, so it works perfectly for homemade Asian sauce.
- Garlic: I use just one clove of garlic, but feel free to adjust the amount to personal preferences.
- Red pepper flakes: I used regular red pepper flakes but feel free to swap this out with other chili varieties.
- Cornstarch: Needed to thicken the sauce. You could also potentially use arrowroot or tapioca starch, though I haven’t tried.
- Water: To thin sauce, adjust to preference.
- Salt: To enhance taste.
How to Make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Only a few easy steps and this healthy sweet chili sauce is ready to use!
- Add the ingredients to a pan: Add all the Asian sweet chili sauce ingredients to a pan and whisk until well combined.
To avoid clumping in the sauce you may want to create a cornstarch slurry with the starch and a little water before adding it to the pan. That way, you’ll avoid having any starch lumps in the sauce.
- Thicken and reduce: Bring the chili Thai mixture to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low, and simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until thickened. Then, use immediately, transferring any leftovers to a clean glass jar.
Before transferring to a jar, give your Asian sweet chili sauce a quick taste test and adjust any elements if needed. i.e., more chili for heat, more maple for sweetness, or a little more vinegar for tang/sourness.
Can I Use A Sugar Free Substitute for Making This Sauce?
Yes, you could make this with a sugar free alternative like granulated erythritol, but it won’t be quite as ‘sticky’. You could also try a liquid monk fruit or a sugar free syrup alternative. The flavor might differ.
Can I Use Fresh Red Chillies?
Yes, especially if you desire your Thai sauce to be a more red color similar to those found in store bought bottles. Use Thai red chillies if you can find them and be aware they are more spicy so you may want to remove the seeds before you process them into a paste.
Alternately, you could use sambal oelek which is a pickled chili paste. You may find you need to use less rice vinegar with this option.
I find that using a combination of red pepper flakes and rice vinegar is comparable to both of these, plus I always have them on hand!
How to Add an Umami Taste?
With it’s sweet and spicy ingredients, balancing sweet chili Thai sauce with umami flavor adds depth of flavor. While this sauce does already have garlic (another umami ingredient) you could add 1-2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten free option) that will add additional savory taste.
Simply swap out the type of dried chili flakes used (Chinese or Korean chili flakes are usually very mild) and the amount used. Note that the less you use, the less of a gorgeous orange/red color the sauce will be.
You also might be able neutralize the spice slightly with the addition of extra sweetener (one reader actually added orange marmalade).
I recommend using other milder, sweeter options like white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Yes you can, but note that it’s sweeter than maple and has a stronger flavor, so less would be needed.
You can add 1-2 tsp ginger puree/paste for more depth of flavor/slight heat or 2-3 tsp fish sauce.
How Do I Use This Sauce?
When I say that the food serving options for this sauce are endless, I mean it. Here are just a few of the ways I like to enjoy it.
- As a sauce for cabbage stir fry.
- As a dip for healthy fried chicken.
- A dip for canned salmon cakes.
- With a meatless meal like fried tofu or air fryer tofu.
- A condiment for healthy salmon burgers.
Let me know in the comments your favorite way of enjoying this homemade sweet chili sauce!
How Long Can It Be Stored?
You can store sauce in the fridge for between 2-3 weeks. It may thicken, just reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of water to reach desired consistency.
I recommend freezing the sauce in smaller ‘portioned’ amounts in a silicone ice-cube tray for 2-3 months. The sauce won’t freeze solid, which is why it’s best to use a silicone tray for easy removal.
More Must Try Healthy Thai Dishes
- Thai chicken curry
- Thai turkey meatballs
- Thai chicken salad
- Thai cauliflower rice
- Pad Thai zucchini noodles
Healthy Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp white or rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 small garlic clove grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- In a small saucepan, add maple syrup, water, vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, salt, red pepper chili flakes and whisk until combined.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
- Transfer to a glass jar to store. Use this sauce to make sweet chili salmon, cedar plank salmon or slow cooker Thai chicken thighs.
- Store: Refrigerate for up to a few weeks.
- Freeze: Freeze in smaller ‘portioned’ amounts in a silicone ice cube tray for 2-3 months.
- Sweetener: Honey, brown rice syrup, or agave may work, but taste may be sweeter.
- For umami taste: Add 1 – 2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free).
- Deeper red color: Use fresh red Thai chillies that have been deseeded and made into a paste. Alternately, use sambal oelek (pickled chili paste).
I just happened upon your site in a search for making my own sweet chili sauce as my new diet prevents using any store bought ones. Other than the cornstarch which I can sub with arrowroot, this is perfect for me. I’ve been checking out your recipes and I am so excited to start trying them, especially the Thai ones. Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes and I just can’t eat it anymore as it makes me sick due to the questionable ingredients in the sauce. Thank you.
That’s great! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!
My husband loves it!!
So happy to hear!
Usually use “that ONE brand” when I need sweet chili sauce, but we’re out.
I made the Crock-Pot Thai chicken thighs and those are still crocking, but I tasted this and it’s fantastic! Love that I don’t have to buy sweet chili sauce anymore if I don’t want to
We can’t wait until dinner and to try on other protein. Thanks for sharing both recipes!
You are very welcome, Kelly!
Delicious, easy recipe. I added soy sauce and ginger and next time I will put a little more garlic. Served it with basmati rice and asparagus. Really tasty!!!!!
Sounds like a lovely plus yummy meal! Thanks for the review!
I am following a 30 day program and the only vinegar I can have is apple cider vinegar. Do you think that would work with the flavor profile of your recipe?
I think so!
I love how simple and versatile this recipe is. I whipped it together to use with some egg rolls and it was the perfect accompaniment.
Happy to hear this Teresa!
Excellent as is, thanks for such a simple tasty recipe!
Had it with spring rolls 🙂
Thank you for this delicious recipe! The best salmon recipe I’ve tried! I paired it with brown jasmine rice. Amazing!!!
I really appreciate your amazing review Vicki!