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30 July 2018

This is an all-purpose, homemade chili-garlic sauce recipe, much like the Asian Huy Fong chili garlic sauce, but freshly made, without preservatives. Super easy to make, and can be used in many recipes.

Walking through your typical grocery store, most likely you aren’t going to find many chili-garlic sauces available to you. You’ll probably find “Huy Fong” chili garlic sauce in the Asian aisle, maybe one other competing brand, but that’s about it.

Unless you’re in a specialty store, your choices are fairly limited, and specialty stores are few and far between unless you’re living within a fair sized city.


Chili-Garlic Sauce is something I use regularly. Unlike Sriracha, it is a freshly made sauce, unfermented, and is meant more for cooking rather than a condiment, though it can be used for both purposes. In fact, if you’re out of chili-garlic sauce, you CAN use Sriracha as a substitute, but it isn’t quite the same in texture and flavor.

Check out my Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce Recipe (both fermented and unfermented versions).

Sometimes you want one over the other. Lucky for us, we know how to make our own chili-garlic sauce at home on our own. Well, at least NOW we all do!

Because here is the recipe.

Homemade Chili-Garlic Sauce – Use it for Many Recipes

The recipe is simple enough. It uses only 4 main ingredients, aside from salt and pepper – chili peppers, garlic, sugar and vinegar. Let’s make some!

How to Make Chili-Garlic Sauce

First, select and measure out your chili peppers by weight. Four ounces is good. You can choose any type of pepper to make a good chili-garlic paste, though Thai chiles are traditional in some regions. Red, fresh, vibrant peppers are ideal. Consider cayennes, red jalapenos, red serranos, or Fresno peppers to make this sauce.

Add the peppers to a food processor along with 4 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and a bit of salt and pepper.

Next, process to form your sauce. Pour all of the ingredients into a pot and simmer them for about 10 minutes to meld the flavors.

Finally, cool and adjust with a bit more salt and pepper to your personal tastes. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge until ready to use.

Homemade Chili-Garlic Sauce – Ready to Serve

Video Recipe – Chili-Garlic Sauce

Recipe Making Tips

It is best to use the freshest chili peppers available to you, so be sure to check the peppers for blemishes or spots. You can, however, make this with frozen chili peppers as well. Just be sure to thaw them out and dry them a bit with a paper towel before processing.

If you have a larger food processor, it is best to make a larger batch so the ingredients can be properly processed.

Adjusting the Heat Level

I often make this with medium-hot level chili peppers, though realistically you can make this recipe with any type of pepper. Use sweet peppers for a no-heat version that can still be used in many, many recipes.

Go with ghost peppers or above – see my list of superhot chili peppers – for a seriously HOT version. Best case is to use a good variety for both heat and flavor.

What Can I Make with Chili-Garlic Sauce?

Chili-Garlic Sauce typically lends itself to Asian-inspired recipes, though you can use it in numerous dishes. Here are some recipes to get you started.

Try These Other Popular Sauce Recipes


Check out more Hot Sauce Recipes or learn more about How to Make Hot Sauce.

Homemade Chili-Garlic Sauce – On a Spoon

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Homemade Chili-Garlic Sauce – Recipe
Print Recipe
4.93 from 14 votes

Homemade Chili-Garlic Sauce – Recipe

This is an all-purpose, homemade chili-garlic sauce recipe, much like the Asian Huy Fong chili garlic sauce, but freshly made, without preservatives. Super easy to make, and can be used in many recipes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili paste, chili peppers, condiment, recipe, spicy, video
Servings: 10
Calories: 11kcal


  • 4 ounces spicy chili peppers – This works for any pepper of choosing. I used a bunch of Fresno peppers. Use a variety.
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a small pot and heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Cool and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper to your tastes.
  • Store in a sealable jar in the refrigerator.



Makes about 1 cup.
Heat Factor: HOT, though it will depend on the peppers used.


Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 43mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 27.9mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.2mg

This recipe was updated on 7/21/18 to include a video and updated photos. Originally published on 5/31/2017.



    5 stars
    Delicious with soy sauce and vinegar and calamansi, health wise very healthy

  2. Jeremiah Wanjohi

    Thanks for your write up on chili and garlic sauce. I have plenty chilies in my kitchen garden and tomatoes. Please also explain more on the use of vinegar and preserving a longer period.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jeremiah, vinegar acts as a preservative for foods. For home preserving, shoot for a pH of 3.5 or lower. Keep refrigerated for longer keeping, or consider pressure canning or a water bath.

  3. Christopher

    5 stars
    Was curious if you or anyone have had any luck using sugar substitutions such as Monk fruit, or other artificial sweetners, with this recipe, as well as your other recipes. I’m diabetic. But love your recipes.


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Christopher, you can use artificial sweeteners or subs. I often use fruit instead and add zero sugar, or I use stevia. Very easy to sub.

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe’s simple to prepare. But one thing I wonder that what should I use it with any dish or some? Hainan chicken rice? Dim Sum? Szechuan tofu?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Nolan. Yes, I use it as a flavor base for such recipes, or sometimes as a finisher. Very versatile.

  5. 5 stars
    Just made these. My family says these are the best naans I ever made. Will make them again! Thank you so much!

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this. I have been wanting to make a Sichuan sauce but never really ventured into it. Will try this out soon and let you know how it goes.

  7. 5 stars
    This would be a huge hit at our house – we love spicy food Great tip about not rubbing your eyes too – I’ve learned the hard way in the past haha Great recipe and the color is gorgeous!

  8. 5 stars
    I truly enjoy the detailed explanations of each recipe you share here. Not only do I get inspired, I learn something new each time I visit your blog. So thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Made a batch today. Used 3 Fresno’s and a Hungarian Wax pepper. Came out great!

  10. I made this earlier this week and added some fish oil and onion and it was a huge hit for both my hubs and neighbors. I’m not sure what peppers I used as they have all cross pollinated so some combo of ghost, chili, cayenne, jalapeno, and Thai Chili’s. The garlic really made it!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Nice! Great to hear, Kimi! I appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. 4 stars
    I used jalapenos since that is what i had on hand. It turned out beautifully. I really love cooking with what I have on hand vs going to buy it with all the preservatives.

  12. Larry Brooke

    5 stars
    Is this your version of Sambel – can i use Sambel in the firecracker shrimp recipe

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Larry, this is very similar to sambal oelek, so yes, you can use it with the firecracker shrimp recipe. Let me know how it turns out for you! Enjoy.

  13. How long would this store unopened in fridge. I am looking at making a year’s suppky with home grown chilies and garlic. Or could l put it in hot-water bath to preserve? Don’t want to poison guests when l am able to have visitors again. Cheers, Petra.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Petra, this sauce should last a month easily, or longer depending on the acidity. If you want to make sure it lasts longer, add more vinegar. If you get the pH to 3.5 or lower, it will last many, many months.

  14. 5 stars
    Hello there-I haven’t tried your recipe yet but from the looks of it it will be 5 stars.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Mavis! This one is a winner for sure!

  15. Can I use minced garlic instead of the chopped??
    Also if I am using habaneros should I still use 4 ounces??

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Cole. Absolutely, minced garlic is great here. 4 ounces is good for the habaneros, but if you’re concerned about heat, you can sub in milder peppers. Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      JD, yes, they certainly can be used. I make hot sauces/sauces from dried pods all the time. I actually have a post with a video going live tomorrow on this very subject. Just rehydrate them as needed. Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Ariel, it helps to meld the flavors and remove some of the raw quality, plus it lasts longer. You don’t have to cook it, though.

  16. 5 stars
    OMG! This is a seriously delicious sauce. Sweet and tangy! I used dried chile pepper and I added about 5 or 6 Tablespoons. Of course I had to add a lot more water. I paired frozen mussels and peas with some fresh veggies with the sauce for a delish chile garlic stir fry.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Toni! Glad you enjoyed it! Sounds wonderful!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Lynn, if you are making this with dried powder, try it with 1 ounce of chili powder to start and see how that turns out for you, along with some extra water if needed. You can always add extra powder to your preference later on. Let me know how it goes for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Annie, this should last you a month sealed in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it for 6 months. Enjoy.

  17. 5 stars
    Hi Mike and everyone @ CP????M..

    Wanting to make the famed bw2s “Asian zing” wing sauce this morning before work from a recipe i found yesterday, but i didn’t have any garlic chili sauce on hand so improvising like normal in my free remaining 20mins at home, i tried to whip uP something quick….. Not bad, but my AZ needs a few more single origin ingredients.. this recipe from you Mike will go far in my next attempt at the zing sauce, so i thAnk you!

    Got any corn syrup ideas?? ????????lol

    Be well and good eats!
    dannydan of BubbleCity..

  18. Hi, how long can the sauce last refrigerated and not refrigerated?

    REPLY: Khay, if you keep it out of the refrigerator, it probably won’t last more than a week, though much will depend on the final ph of your sauce. Be sure to cover it. I recommend the fridge, where it can keep at least a month or much longer with a bit more vinegar. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  19. Can the sauce be frozen? If so how is the color and texture affected?

    REPLY: Tamara, yes, you can freeze it. It won’t affect the texture or color, though the sauce may darken a bit with age. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  20. Can this sauce be canned, so that it does not have to be stored in the refrigerator?

    REPLY: Jill, yes, though you should check the acidity. It would be best to be 4.0 or under for typical canning. If not, you’ll need a pressure canner. Or, just add more vinegar to achieve the proper ph level. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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