Even people who aren’t familiar with Thai cuisine have probably tasted (and loved) peanut sauce. Making it is incredibly easy and a great way to add peanut flavor to an assortment of meals.
For another nutty dish, be sure to try these Thai peanut noodles.
How to Make Great Peanut Sauce
If you maintain a reasonably stocked pantry, you can use simple ingredients you probably have on hand to mix up this peanut butter sauce full of complex flavors. These ingredients are all readily available at any grocery store, though, if you don’t have them all in the cupboard.
Once you’ve acquired the necessary ingredients? All you need is a bowl to mix it in. There’s no cooking required, just a little mixing, and you’re off to the races with this deliciously nutty sauce.
Peanut Butter: Opt for a natural peanut butter that is unsweetened. I like to use chunky peanut butter, but you can easily substitute that with creamy peanut butter; it’s a personal preference, really. Almond butter could work, but the flavor will be substantially different.
Brown Sugar: Providing a little bit of sweetness to counter the savory flavors, brown sugar is the best option. Next best would be maple syrup or coconut sugar.
Fresh Garlic: Finely chopped garlic adds that spicy zing we all love so much. Peel the cloves and leave them whole. Can you use powdered? You could, but…
Fresh Ginger: Choose fresh knobs of ginger and peel if desired, though it’s not necessary. If you opt not to peel, just be sure you wash them well.
Soy Sauce: This ingredient is very salty, which is why you don’t often see salt used in recipes that call for soy sauce. You can opt for a low sodium option or gluten free soy sauce if you like. Gluten free people can also substitute coconut aminos.
Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice provides a little tang. No lime? Yes, you can use lemon juice.
Sesame Oil: A little bit of this oil goes a long way, but it complements the nuttiness of the peanut butter.
Rice Vinegar: Milder than other vinegar options, this offers a little tang without overpowering the sauce.
Red Pepper Flakes: This is what adds a little kick to the sauce. If you don’t like heat you can omit this ingredient. Like it hotter? Add more!
Making this Easy Thai Peanut Sauce
Start by prepping the garlic and ginger. If you have a microplane, you can use it to process both. Alternatively, use a garlic press or knife to finely chop the garlic. Ginger can be chopped finely with a knife. Once these two ingredients are ready, simply combine them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, adding the water last. Use as much water as you need to achieve desired consistency.
There’s no cooking required and you’ll only have one bowl to clean when it’s done. For even easier cleanup, make it right in a wide-mouth jar. Use what you need then screw on a lid to store.
Using the Sauce
Of course, this easy recipe is a must to serve with Thai chicken satay, but this is such a great recipe for adding flavor to any meal; don’t limit yourself to Thai food!
- Serve it as a peanut dipping sauce for fresh vegetables
- Toss with cooked noodles and grate in some fresh vegetables for an easy Thai noodle bowl
- Serve alongside fresh spring rolls
- Drizzle this flavorful sauce onto stir fries
- Add it to your buddha bowls
- Serve it with these lettuce wraps
If you have leftovers of this delicious sauce, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- ½ cup chunky peanut butter, unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2-4 tablespoons warm water
- Combine all of the ingredients except the water in a bowl and whisk together.
- Add a little water at a time, stirring until you reach the desired consistency.
Maple syrup or coconut sugar are suitable alternatives for the brown sugar.
For a gluten free peanut sauce, opt for gluten free soy sauce or substitute coconut aminos.
Stir a quarter cup of coconut milk into the sauce for a creamier version