Savory, sweet, and silky smooth, this easy Thai-style Peanut Sauce recipe is perfect for fresh rolls, rice bowls, stir-fry, noodles, salads, and satay. Simple 5-minute prep.
What's the Story on this Peanut Sauce Recipe?
Condiments are important, and this tasty, versatile peanut sauce is one of our favorites - we try to keep it on hand at all times! This easy 5-minute peanut sauce recipe is perfect for dipping fresh rolls and satay, dressing a fresh salad, or pouring over soba noodles for a quick meal.
While I won’t pretend for a moment that this is an authentic peanut sauce recipe handed down from someone’s Vietnamese grandma, I do live in a town bursting with Southeast Asian restaurants and food carts, founded by first and second generation immigrants. I’ve eaten buckets of peanut sauce over the decades, and I've made a lot of it, too.
With time, the distinctions between Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian peanut sauces have intermingled, both in my town and on my palate. As a result, this recipe is an amalgamation of my experience, rather than being specific to any one culture; although if I had to categorize it, I'd say it most closely resembles a Thai-style peanut sauce. The flavor is a slightly less sweet than standard Vietnamese satay sauce, and can best described as savory, sweet, mildly spicy, and so addictive you'll lick the bowl clean.
Peanut Sauce Ingredients
- Peanut butter: We prefer using creamy peanut butter; however, crunchy peanut butter works fine, too.
- Tamari: (or less-salt soy-sauce) Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce made without wheat, while traditional soy sauce contains wheat.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar gives the best overall flavor as a sweetener.
- Seasoned rice vinegar: The vinegar lends some tanginess and acidity to the sauce.
- Lime juice: Gives a little more acidity, along with bright, fresh flavor.
- Garlic: We use garlic powder in this recipe because it speeds up the process a bit. Fresh garlic also works great!
- Ginger: While we usually prefer to use fresh ginger, powdered ginger works well in this recipe, and speeds prep up a bit, too.
- Sambol oelek: Sambal oelek is a Indonesian red chili paste, and a flavorful, spicy condiment for Asian-inspired recipes!
- Coconut milk: This give the sauce another layer of creaminess, and adds flavor and depth. You can also use warm water.
How to Make 5-Minute Peanut Sauce
Measure the peanut butter, tamari, brown sugar, seasoned rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, ginger, sambol oelek, and ¼ cup coconut milk (or warm water) into a blender cup. Blend until smooth.
Add the remaining coconut milk a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
If desired, garnish with chopped unsalted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds.
You can also mix this up with a whisk; it just won't be quite as smooth.
- Peanut butter: Any nut butter (almond, cashew, hazelnut, etc.) will work. This substitution will have a big impact on flavor. Tahini (sesame butter) will work if you avoid tree nuts.
- Tamari: You can sub in regular soy sauce (more salty), or coconut aminos (less salty and sweeter).
- Brown sugar: You can also use coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup.
- Seasoned rice vinegar: Use regular rice wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- Sambol oelek: Sriracha or gochhujang paste are both excellent substitutes for sambol oelek in this recipe.
- Gochujang Paste (Korean Red Chili Paste) is a savory, sweet, spicy fermented condiment that has about the same consistency as a thick hoisin sauce or tomato paste, but is much stickier. I often sub it in this recipe, as I like the sweet, mild heat that it brings to the sauce.
- Coconut milk: You can omit the coconut milk entirely and use water. This will change the consistency and flavor, but it will still taste delicious.
- Gluten-free Peanut Sauce: Be sure to use a certified gluten-free tamari.
If you have one, we recommend using an immersion blender to make this peanut sauce.
Small batch recipe ingredients can get lost in a big standard blender cup, and that's where an immersion blender comes in handy. Immersion blenders are great for creaming soups, pureeing fruits and veggies, emulsifying dressings and dips, making whipped cream or mayonnaise on the fly, and whipping up a cold smoothie in no time flat. Cleanup is minimal and easy.
- Refrigerate: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The sauce will thicken as the fats in the sauce chill.
- Freeze: Freeze in ice cube trays and then pop the cubes into an air-tight container or freezer bag. Peanut sauce lasts 2-3 months in the freezer.
- Reheat: Reheat in the microwave in 30 second blasts, stirring in between. Thin as needed with hot water.
Taste the sauce and season to your personal tastes!
The the spice level of this peanut sauce recipe is intentionally mild: it's always easier to heat things up than cool them off. Stir in more gochujang, Sriracha, or sambal oelek a little at a time to increase the heat to the level you want.
Likewise, because the amount of sweeteners in peanut butter vary wildly from one brand to the next, you can adjust the level of sweetness by adding to or decreasing the amount of brown sugar or other sweetener.
More Asian-inspired Recipes
If you love the flavor of peanuts, check out our authentic Virginia Peanut Soup (with 21 Topping Ideas)!
Serving & Pairing
Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy this easy peanut sauce recipe.
- As a Condiment:
- As a Salad Dressing:
- Dress simple greens and chopped veggies for an easy, zesty, lunch-worthy salad. Add some chopped chicken and avocado for a more robust, satisfying meal.
- Try it with Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga).
- As a Dip:
- Serve peanut sauce with fresh bell pepper strips, broccoli, snow peas, and other crudité for a refreshing snack, or as part of a charcuterie platter.
Easy Peanut Sauce
- 1 Immersion Blender or beverage blender
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons tamari or light soy sauce, or coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon sambol oelek or gochujang paste, or Sriracha
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- warm water as needed
- Measure the peanut butter, tamari, brown sugar, seasoned rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, ginger, sambol oelek, and coconut milk into a blender cup. Blend until smooth.
- Add warm water to the mixture a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
- If desired, garnish with chopped unsalted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
Thank you for visiting the Good Hearted Woman. Remember to bookmark this site, and come back soon!