This homemade Thai sweet chili sauce is the perfect mix of savory, sweet and spicy, great with shrimp, noodle dishes, egg rolls, or as a dipping sauce, easy to make!
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
This is the recipe for Thai Sweet Chili Sauce you've been looking for, my friends. This version is the ideal mix of sweet and spicy, perfectly balanced to please your spicy food loving palates.
Thai sweet chili sauce is a sweet, sour and spicy chili sauce used to add punch and flavor to many dishes. In Thailand, it is called "nam jim gai" (sometimes spelled "nam chim kai").
While it originated in Thailand, it has spread around the world and has become hugely popular in the U.S. and western cooking. It's a mix of chili peppers with vinegar and other ingredients, then sweetened and often thickened.
You'll usually find it in bottles at the supermarket, or in restaurants paired with fried chicken or spring rolls, as the combination of sweet and sour perfectly compliments the salty qualities of fried foods.
However, you can use it in so many other ways.
Of course you can find sweet chili sauce in grocery stores, but homemade sweet chili sauce is so much better than store bought, especially when you can make it your own way.
Most recipes focus on the sweet and sour elements, though I like to up the overall spice factor just a bit, in order to achieve a better balance for those like me who enjoy spicy foods.
Let's talk about how to make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, shall we?
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Ingredients
- Fresh Red Chilies. Use Thai chilies, or a mix of peppers to your own heat and flavor preference. Or use sambal oelek as a substitute.
- Rice Vinegar. White vinegar is a good substitute.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar. You can use honey as a substitute.
- Hot Chili Flakes. Optional, for extra heat/flavor. Use dried/crushed red chilies or red pepper flakes for this recipe. Options include bird's eye chilies, spur chilies, Thai chilies, japones, chile de arbol, or others - or use fresh minced red chili peppers.
- Fish Sauce.
- Corn Starch. For thickening.
- Optional Additions. Rice Wine can be added as well, or sriracha.
How to Make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce - the Recipe Method
Add to a Small Pot. Add all of the ingredients except the corn starch to a small pot.
Boil, then Simmer. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.
Thicken the Chili Sauce. Mix the corn starch with a bit of water to make a slurry, then stir into the pot. Heat through a couple minutes to thicken.
If you prefer a thicker sweet chili sauce, add in more of the corn starch slurry and simmer until it thickens up to your preference.
Cool and Refrigerate. Cool the sauce and enjoy as desired. Keep refrigerated.
Boom! Done! Your Thai sweet chili sauce is ready to go. How are you serving yours? Dipping sauce? Slathered over shrimp? I'd love to hear it! So easy to make, isn't it?
Serving Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- Fried Chicken Dipping Sauce. This sauce is most popular as a dipping sauce for chicken, particularly fried chicken or chicken wings. It's also great with other fried foods, like fried shrimp.
- Seafood Dipping Sauce. Thai chili sauce is perfect as a dipping sauce for shrimp and seafood.
- Dipping Sauce for Rolls. Sweet chili sauce is essential for fried egg rolls, but also try it on fresh spring rolls. So good!
- Noodles. Swirl Thai sweet chili sauce into a bowl of noodles, or use to enhance your stir fries.
- Cream Cheese. Spoon some Thai sweet chili sauce over a block of cream cheese and serve it with crackers. Delicious!
It's great with many Asian cuisines.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Other Ingredients/Add Ins. Soy sauce is a popular addition to Thai sweet chili sauce, though I omit it in my own recipe. Give it a go, as it does compliment nicely. When serving, try adding crushed roasted peanuts or fresh chopped cucumber.
- Heat Factor. Mild-Medium. My version isn't an overly spicy version, with only a touch of heat. You can easily add in hotter chili flakes to achieve your perfect balance. Use bell peppers for a no-heat version.
Store your Thai sweet chili sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 month or longer. Use as desired.
You can also freeze it in freezer containers for up to 6 months. Simple thaw and use when needed.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
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 Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped chilies Use Thai chilies, or your favorites - or use sambal oelek
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar use 2 tablespoons for less sweet - you can use up to 1 cup for sweeter chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes use dried/crushed - bird's eye chilies, Thai chilies, japones, chile de arbol, or others - or use fresh minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic or more - 3-4 cloves
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry - double this for thicker sweet chili sauce
- Add all of the ingredients to a small pot except the cornstarch.
- Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Swirl in the cornstarch slurry and simmer, stirring, until thickened.
- Cool and enjoy. Keep refrigerated.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 7/28/23 to include new information, photos, and video. It was originally published on 4/11/22.