Made with only 5 ingredients, this recipe for Sweet Chili Sauce is easy to make, more affordable, and better tasting than store-bought Asian Chili Sauce. This copycat sauce is a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and can be used in a variety of ways.
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is the perfect complement to Asian recipes like Instant Pot Pot Stickers, Baked Veggie Egg Rolls, and Asian Spring Rolls. But don’t stop there. Chicken Strips are delicious dipped into this sauce and it is delicious when added to Fried Rice for extra flavor.
What is Sweet Chili Sauce?
Sweet Chili Sauce is an Asian condiment made with sugar, vinegar, and red chilis. It reminds me of a sweet and sour sauce, with an added kick.
There are many brands on the market, but a lot have added red dye and the price per ounce is much more than when you can make it at home–using commonly found ingredients.
Ingredients Needed for Sweet Chili Sauce
This recipe for Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is made with only 5 ingredients–6 if you count water. While most recipes call for dried red chilis, they can be hard to find at most local grocery stores and take a bit of time and effort to rehydrate and process for this sauce.
Instead, I opt for using Sambal Oelek, which can be found in the Asian section, next to soy sauce, at most grocery stores. It is an affordable condiment that can be stored in your refrigerator for several months and is much easier to find than dried red chilis. It is also delicious when added to stir-fries or in marinades.
How to Make Copycat Thai Chili Sauce
This recipe comes together quickly–very quickly.
First, you want to prepare a cornstarch slurry, which is simply water mixed together with cornstarch until smooth. The cornstarch will help to thicken up the sauce, making it the perfect consistency for dipping.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, water, Sambal Oelek, vinegar, and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil just until the sugar is dissolved. This should only take a minute or two.
Once the sugar is dissolved, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, and cook until the mixture is thickened, whisking constantly. It should only take a minute.
Allow to cool, and then transfer to a container or jar to store in the refrigerator.
Storing Sweet Chili Sauce
This recipe for Sweet Chili Sauce can be doubled or tripled easily and can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 1 week.
I do not recommend freezing this sauce, as the texture will change after it defrosts.
Substitute for Cornstarch
Many people have an allergy to corn products. In place of cornstarch, use equal parts of tapioca starch. This is another great reason to make this sauce yourself so that you can make it suitable for your dietary needs.
How to Use Sweet Chili Sauce
The options for how you use this sweet and spicy condiment are endless. Here are some of my favorite uses.
- Sweet Chili Sauce is the perfect dipping sauce for Egg Rolls, Pot Stickers, and Spring Rolls.
- Instead of classic buffalo flavored chicken wings, toss Instant Pot Chicken Wings or Boneless Chicken Wings in the sweet chili sauce after cooking.
- Use this sauce as a dip for Baked Chicken Tenders or Oven Baked Fries.
- Top grilled meat or sauteed tofu with a tablespoon of the Sweet Chili Sauce, for a flavorful, simple dish.
- Use for seasoning Asian Lettuce Wraps or in place of the soy sauce in Stir-Fried Chicken and Bok Choy.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons to Fried Rice for extra flavor.
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1/3 cup water + 1 tablespoon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of the water until dissolved. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, 1/3 cup water, Sambal Oelek, vinegar, and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil just until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, and cook until the mixture is thickened, whisking constantly. It should only take a minute.
- Cool the sauce and then serve immediately or transfer to a storage container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This sauce does not freeze well.
- In place of cornstarch, use equal parts of tapioca starch.
- If the sauce thickens up too much as it sits, simply add a splash of warm water and whisk well or microwave for 10-15 seconds and then whisk.