This homemade chili sauce recipe is a great combination of sweet and savory, perfect as a condiment, marinade, or all around flavor builder. So many uses!
Move over ketchup! Chili sauce is here and it's taking over! If you've never tried a good sweet chili sauce condiment, you're in for a treat, my friends. There are many different types of "chili sauce", which is often more of a generic term of a sauce made with chili peppers.
This particular chili sauce refers to the popular American condiment usually sold in bottles, found at your local grocer. There are popular brands, like Heinz chili sauce. The consistency is very similar to your typical ketchup, though the seasonings often vary slightly.
It is super popular served as a dip for chilled shrimp and other seafood, though it's a wonderful marinade, a general condiment for topping burgers and hot dogs, or for seasoning dishes like meatloaf.
Of course you can buy some from the grocery store on your next outing, but this Homemade Chili Sauce is so much better.
Let's talk about how we make chili sauce, shall we?
Homemade Chili Sauce Ingredients
- Tomato Paste. Use 6 ounces tomato paste (1 can).
- Sweet Factor. I use 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons honey, though you can adjust to your personal tastes.
- Vinegar. I use 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, though white vinegar is good, too. You can add in more or less as desired.
- Seasonings. My combination is 1 teaspoon paprika (use cayenne for spicier), 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or more to taste), 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or use hot sauce, to taste), 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, Salt and pepper to taste (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is usually good).
- Water. For thinning the sauce. I usually use 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, or more as needed.
How to Make Homemade Chili Sauce - the Recipe Method
Whisk the Ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk them together until the chili sauce is nicely uniform and all of the ingredients are mixed through. You can also use a blender or food processor, but a whisk is usually sufficient.
Simmer for Flavor. Pour the chili sauce into a small pot or sauce pan. Heat and simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld and develop. This is an important step. Taste and adjust for salt, honey, and other spices. Add more water for a thinner sauce. It's really meant to be a thicker sauce, and it will thicken up as it cools, but if you prefer a thinner sauce, go for it!
Cool and Store. Cool the chili sauce completely. Store in the refrigerator, covered.
This chili sauce recipe is best served cold as a dipper, though there are so many other uses for it. It will last for several weeks easily. It makes about 2 cups or so. It upscales very easily, so make a big batch next time!
Boom! Done! Making chili sauce at home is incredibly easy, isn't it? It's really just whisking the ingredients together in a bowl and some simmering. I love this stuff.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Sweet Factor. I use both brown sugar and honey to achieve a nice level of sweetness without overdoing it. A lot of recipes call for corn syrup, which works nicely as well. I often prefer honey. You can use a combination if you prefer more of a sweet chili sauce.
- Tomato Sauce. You can use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste for this recipe. However, if you do, skip the water for thinning.
- Seasonings. You can very easily adjust the seasonings to your own flavor preferences. Want more garlic? Add in another teaspoon or more. Not a fan of clove? Skip it. Prefer nutmeg? Go for it! You can even make a spicier version. Speaking of...
- Heat Factor. This is not meant to be overly spicy, but more of a sweet and sour and savory sauce. If you would prefer a spicier version, add in cayenne pepper or a spicy red chili powder, or some of your favorite spicy hot sauce. Try this with a bit of ghost pepper powder added it. I love it!
Serving Suggestions for Chili Sauce
- Shrimp Dipper. Serve chili sauce as a dipping sauce for chilled shrimp or other seafood. It is very much like a cocktail sauce.
- Use Instead of Ketchup. You can use this condiment anywhere you'd use ketchup. Squirt some onto your burgers, hot dogs, grilled brats or Italian sausages.
- Meatloaf. Use it a a binder and flavor builder for your favorite meatloaf recipe.
- Sauce Substitute. Try this chili sauce in place of or in combination with your favorite BBQ Sauce, Creole Sauce, Cocktail Sauce, or others. Get creative!
- Stir it In. Use this chili sauce to spice up pretty much anything simmering on the stove, like a pot of chili, soups, stews, stir fries and so much more.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my homemade chili sauce recipe. So tasty! Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. What's YOUR favorite way to use it? Curious!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Sweet Pepper Chili Sauce
- Aji Chili Sauce
- Ancho Chili Sauce
- Homemade Ketchup
- Chili-Garlic Sauce
- Homemade Mumbo Sauce
- See all of my Homemade Condiment Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. 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 Sauce Recipe
- 6 ounces tomato paste 1 can
- Water for thinning 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, or more as needed
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or to taste - white vinegar is good, too
- 1 teaspoon paprika use cayenne for spicier
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or use hot sauce, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is usually good
- Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk them together until the chili sauce is nicely uniform and all of the ingredients are mixed through.
- Pour the chili sauce into a small pot or sauce pan. Heat and simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld and develop. Taste and adjust for salt, honey, and other spices. Add more water for a thinner sauce.
- Cool. Store in the refrigerator, covered.