This homemade Thai sweet chili sauce recipe is naturally sweetened and so much better than anything from a bottle. It is gluten free, paleo, clean eating and can be made vegan. A delicious condiment and dipping sauce.
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Thai cuisine is loved and cherished almost all over the world. It is known for its complex flavors and textures. Every meal will play on at least 3 taste senses of spicy, sweet, bitter, sour and salty.
It is no wonder then, that Thai sweet chili sauce has gained such popularity even in Western cuisine. It is sweet, mildly spicy with a touch of sour (from the vinegar).
It also has a wonderful touch of garlic and is super easy to make at home. I am using actual medium-mild red chili peppers (as opposed to just dried chili flakes) for a much richer flavor and deeper red coloured sweet chili sauce.
We all know the bottled version of this stuff – it tastes great and made us fall in love with Thai sweet chili sauce in the first place. But once you try homemade sweet chili sauce the former just fades in comparison.
The sauce from a bottle is for the most part just thickened sugar water with just a little bit of chili spice and garlic flavour. And like most store-bought condiments it’s not exactly clean eating or paleo friendly.
For my homemade sweet Thai chili sauce I chose honey as sweetener (maple syrup can be substituted to make vegan sweet chili sauce). And instead of thickening the sauce with cornstarch, tapioca or arrowroot, I let it simmer until it had reduced down to the desired thickness.
Tips for how to make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- You can play with the spice level of the sauce by adjusting the amount of seeds you leave in the chili peppers. I like to make it fairly mild so my whole family can enjoy the best sweet chili sauce – so I leave the seeds of only half a chili pepper.
- If you are afraid of chili burns, hold the chilis with a kitchen glove, towel, or plastic baggie while cutting and removing seeds.
- Process the chili sauce ingredients to a coarse texture. You still want some flecks of chili and seeds.
- In addition to the yummy garlic, I also like to add a little grated ginger. It makes for a great complex flavour but is optional
- White wine vinegar is milder than the traditional white vinegar and isn’t made from grains (although distillation technically makes white vinegar gluten free). Another milder gluten free option is rice vinegar
- When reducing the sauce to thicken it, keep in mind that it will thicken even more as it cools
- If you don’t want to wait the 20 or so minutes it takes to reduce and thicken the sauce through simmering, feel free to add a starch slurry (1 tbsp starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water)
Kitchen Items I Used to Make this Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
- I used a food chopper to combine the sauce ingredients. A food processor or even an immersion blender will work too – just be sure to pulse only until still coarse in texture
- White wine vinegar is my preferred vinegar to give this Asian sweet chili sauce a touch of sour flavor.
- I store the finished sauce in a mason jar in the fridge.
Uses for Thai Style Sweet Chili Sauce
- Baked sweet chili chicken or salmon
- Meatball or wing sauce
- Dip for anything from bacon wrapped hot dogs or chicken bites, to spring rolls and even pizza
Related Homemade Condiment Recipes:
- Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- Vegan Caramel Sauce Recipe
- Thai Peanut Sauce – paired with spaghetti squash here, but it’s just as great with spring rolls or other dippable foods
- 7 great stir fry sauce recipes
Thai Sweet Chili
- 2 fresh long red chilli peppers like red jalapeño (in Thailand I used spur chilies)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup mild honey or replace with maple syrup to make vegan
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cut the chilli peppers in half and deseed them, except for 1/2 pepper. Chop coarsely and place in a food processor or chopper.
Add minced garlic and grated ginger together with water and pulse a few times.
Add mixture into a small saucepan and add vinegar, honey and water. Stir and bring to a boil on high heat.
Then lower to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens. This takes about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Fill finished sauce into a covered container to store in the fridge.