Thai Sweet Chili Sauce – Better than Store Bought! (VIDEO)

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My homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is so much better than the store bought version! It’s the perfect balance of spicy and sweet and easily customizable to your own preference! Best part is it’s shockingly easy to make at home – you’ll never need to buy Thai Sweet Chili sauce again!

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce in a jar.

Watch the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe Video Below!

What is Thai Sweet Chili Sauce?

Some people say Thai Sweet Chili Sauce was created in China but it’s usually described as being originally from Thailand. It rose to popularity as a dipping sauce for fried dishes, like fried chicken or egg rolls – Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is called “nam jim gai” in Thai, which literally means “dipping sauce for fried chicken”. Just like it’s name, the sweet and spicy flavors and thick consistency makes it perfectly complimentary to salty, crispy fried food!

While the store bought versions may be good, homemade is always better – you can control the ingredients to make it exactly how you like (sweeter or spicier, up to you!) and homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce doesn’t have any of the preservatives or additives that store bought versions have. My Thai Sweet Chili Sauce recipe uses two chili peppers to not only infuse maximum flavor but also have a kick of spice that is balanced by the sweetness!

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Ingredients

  • 8 red chili peppers (long red peppers) – These make up the bulk of the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce and gives it the ‘chili’ flavor; because of that, it’s important to use a milder pepper so the sauce is not too spicy.
    • I have noticed that some grocery stores call red chili peppers “long red peppers” and use the names interchangeably. Either will work for this recipe!
Long Red Chilies next to thai green chilies on a table.
  • 2 Thai chili peppers – Thai chili peppers are known to be very spicy; we are using these to add heat into the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.
    • I only used 2 in this recipe (for a “mild” level of heat). If you prefer a spicier Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, you can use more. If you are very sensitive to spice, consider only using 1 Thai chili pepper.
    • Thai chili peppers can be harder to come by. I only see them consistently at 2 grocery stores – 99 Ranch and my local Pavilions (owned by Albertsons).
    • If you cannot find Thai chili peppers, you can substitute with Serrano peppers. Because Thai chili peppers are 50k-100k Scoville heat units (SHU) and Serrano peppers are 10-25k Scoville heat units, substitute 4 serrano peppers for every 2 thai chili peppers.
Thai chilies next to serrano chilies on a cutting board.
If Thai chilies are hard to find, substitute them with a 2:1 ratio of serrano peppers
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup sugarThai Sweet Chili Sauce is on the sweeter side for sauces. Feel free to adjust this and use less or more sugar, based on your sweetness preference.
  • 1/4 cup water
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + ¼ cup water: this is for the cornstarch slurry, which will help thicken up the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce to the perfect consistency!
Raw ingredients for thai sweet chili sauce.

My Other Favorite Homemade Sauces & Condiments

If you’re looking for other homemade sauces and condiments, I know you’re going to love some of my other favorite recipes!

How to Make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

1. Heat the Sauce Base

In a small saucepan, add sugar, salt, water, and vinegar. Heat over medium heat and stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat.

Mix the cornstarch and water together to make a cornstarch slurry and set aside.

Mixing sugar and water in a small saucepan until dissolved.

2. Blend the Chilis and Garlic

In a blender or food processor, add the red chili peppers, Thai chili peppers, and garlic. Pulse until there are no large chunks visible – it should look like a paste.

Alternative method: if you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can use a knife to finely mince all ingredients. I recommend wearing gloves for this part, because if you touch your face after dealing with hot peppers, it will be very painful!

Key Tip

Heat (Spice) Level

The heat level (or how spicy) of peppers are measured on a Scoville scale (or Scoville Heat Units – “SHU”). It’s very helpful to use the Scoville scale to determine if a pepper may be too spicy for you – for example:

  • Long red peppers: 5,000 -30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
  • Thai chili peppers: 50,000 – 100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
  • Serrano peppers: 10,000 – 23,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

For reference:

  • Red bell pepper: 0 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
  • Jalapeno pepper: 2,000 – 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

For my Thai Sweet Chili sauce, I used 2 Thai chili peppers for a “mild” heat level.

  • If you are sensitive to spice, I would consider reducing this to 1 Thai chili pepper.
  • If you like spice, you could increase this to 3 or even 4 Thai Chili Peppers.

3. Combine the Chili Garlic Mixture with the Sauce Base

In the small saucepan with the sauce base, add the chili garlic mixture.

Stirring thai sweet chili sauce with a spoon.

Over medium heat, stir the mixture until the sauce has reduced by about half. Add the cornstarch slurry and mix well; you should see the sauce begin to thicken. Once the cornstarch slurry is incorporated well, turn off the heat and let the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce cool completely.

Thai sweet chili sauce simmering in a saucepan.

Transfer the cooled Thai Sweet Chili Sauce to an airtight container to enjoy!

COOKING Tip

Don’t Let it Burn!

When reducing the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, be careful not to let it burn (including the sides of the pot). Due to the high sugar content of the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, there is a high possibility of burning if you do not monitor closely. Burning will ruin the flavors of the sauce and will make it turn bitter.

Here are my tips to avoid burning:

  • Use the smallest burner on your stove to avoid over heating the pot.
  • Stir continuously while the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is reducing.
  • If the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce begins to boil (versus simmer), lower the heat immediately.
Finished thai sweet chili sauce cooked in a saucepan.

Storage Tips

You can store homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Here are some storage tips for your homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce:

  • Make sure your container is well sealed to prevent your sauce from spoiling.
  • Avoid dipping directly into the jar and only use clean utensils – any bacteria from food or used utensils will make your sauce go bad faster.
  • Don’t leave your sauce out – put it back in the refrigerator after opening or using.

What Should I Serve with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce?

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is called “nam jim gai” in Thai, which literally means “dipping sauce for Fried Chicken” – it goes perfectly with dishes like Japanese Fried Chicken Karaage, Chicken Katsu, or Mochiko Chicken! Nowadays, you’ll see it served with fried dishes like Egg Rolls, Coconut Shrimp or Panko Shrimp, and Fried Shrimp Balls! I love the flavors so much I even have a recipe for Thai Sweet Chili Wings – which you can use with this recipe!

I’ve also seen it paired with dumplings like Pork Dumplings, Pork and Chive Dumplings, Vegetable Dumplings, Shrimp and Chive Dumplings, and Shrimp and Cabbage Dumplings. I like to have it as a side with the fried wontons and Crab Rangoon Dip!

PRO TIPS

Why I love Making Homemade Sauces

I love making as many Sauces and Condiments at home as possible! It allows me to:

  • control the quality of my ingredients
  • avoid unnecessary additives or preservatives
  • I can customize it to my taste (I usually prefer sauces on the less sweet and more spicy side)

I would highly recommend you try making some of your favorite sauces or condiments at home as well!

If you tried this Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!

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Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (EASY)

Servings: 20
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce in a jar.
My homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is so much better than the store bought version! It's the perfect balance of spicy and sweet and easily customizable to your own preference! (Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Add the sugar, salt, water and vinegar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and turn off the heat.
  • In a blender or food processor, add the red chilis, thai chilis, and garlic. Pulse until no large chunks are visible.
  • Add the chili garlic mixture to the saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sauce has reduced by half.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry mixture and mix until thickened. Turn off the heat and let cool completely.

Notes

2 thai chilis creates a sauce with mild heat. Adjust to 1 thai chili if you are sensitive to spice or increase to 3-4 thai chilis if you want the sauce more spicy.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 43kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 0.4gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.004gSodium: 103mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 152IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Thai
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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