Homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce recipe uses 6 simple ingredients and takes just 10 minutes to prepare. It’s a flavorful healthy sauce that contains just a fraction of the sugar in store bought options!

Once prepared, use Thai chili sauce to make sweet chili salmon, grilled cedar plank salmon or crock pot chicken thighs.

Thai sweet chili sauce dripping from a basting brush.

I’m no stranger to making homemade sauces and dressings like this peanut sauce or Asian salad dressing. They take minutes to prepare, contain no preservatives, and can be made far healthier than their store bought alternatives.

For example, this Thai sweet chili sauce recipe contains no refined sugar and is heat adjustable for a tastier and healthier version of your favorite Thai chili sauce.

It’s sweet and sour, tangy, with a kick of heat, and makes for a delicious condiment or dipping sauce. Now you can learn how to make Thai sweet chili sauce at home with just a few all natural, affordable ingredients and just 10 minutes of prep time!

Thai sweet chili sauce stored in a jar.

What Is Thai Sweet Chili Sauce?

Also referred to as Asian sweet chili sauce, Thai chili sauce or nam chim kai in Thailand, it means “dipping sauce for chicken” and pairs perfectly with almond crusted chicken or crispy coconut chicken.

Sweet chili sauce commonly may contain red chili paste (or sambal oelek), rice wine vinegar, sugar, and sometimes ginger and fish sauce. My version is a simplified version with easy to find ingredients plus it’s refined sugar free, gluten free and vegan.

Maybe I’m a little biased, but I honestly think this is the only Thai sweet chili sauce recipe you’ll ever need. It’s the best!


One of the best parts about this homemade Thai chili sauce recipe is that all ingredients listed below are affordable and easy to buy organic if desired.

  • Maple syrup: This chili sauce recipe relies on maple syrup rather than using tons of refined white sugar. You could alternatively use honey, agave, or brown rice syrup, but each will affect the flavor and sweetness.
  • Vinegar: Rice vinegar is naturally milder and on the sweeter side, so it works perfectly.
  • Garlic: I use just one clove of garlic, but feel free to adjust the amount to personal preferences.
  • Red pepper flakes: I used regular red pepper flakes but feel free to swap this out with other chili varieties.
  • Cornstarch: Needed to thicken the sauce. You could also potentially use arrowroot powder or tapioca starch, though I haven’t tried.
  • Water: To thin the sauce, adjust to preference.
  • Salt: To enhance taste.
Maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, cornstarch, garlic, salt.

How to Make Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Only a few easy steps and this healthy Thai sweet chili sauce is ready to use!

  • Add the ingredients to a pan: Add all the Asian sweet chili sauce ingredients to a pan and whisk until well combined.
Maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic and cornstarch in pot on stove.
  • Thicken and reduce: Bring the chili Thai mixture to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low, and simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until thickened. Then, use immediately, transferring any leftovers to a clean glass jar.
Sauce boiling in a pot on the stove.

Before transferring to a jar, give your Thai sweet chili sauce a quick taste test and adjust any elements if needed. For example, more chili for heat, more maple for sweetness, or a little more vinegar for tang.

Can I Use A Sugar Free Substitute for Making This Sauce?

Yes, you could make this with a sugar free alternative like granulated erythritol, but it won’t be quite as sticky. You could also try a liquid monk fruit or a sugar free syrup alternative. The flavor might differ.

Can I Use Fresh Red Chillies?

Yes, especially if you desire your Thai sweet chili sauce to be a more red color similar to those found in store bought bottles. Use Thai red chillies if you can find them and be aware they are more spicy so you may want to remove the seeds before you process them into a paste.

Alternately, you could use sambal oelek which is a pickled chili paste. You may find you need to use less rice vinegar with this option.

I find that using a combination of red pepper flakes and rice vinegar is comparable to both of these, plus I always have them on hand!

How to Add an Umami Taste?

With it’s sweet and spicy ingredients, balancing Thai sweet chili sauce with umami flavor adds depth of flavor. While this sauce does already have garlic (another umami ingredient) you could add 1-2 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten free option) that will add additional savory taste.


How can I adjust the heat of Thai sweet chili sauce?

Simply swap out the type of dried chili flakes used (Chinese or Korean chili flakes are usually very mild) and the amount used. Note that the less you use, the less of a gorgeous orange/red color the sauce will be.

You also might be able neutralize the spice slightly with the addition of extra sweetener.  

What other vinegars can I use in homemade sweet chili sauce?

I recommend using other milder, sweeter options like white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Can I use honey in sweet chili sauce recipe?

Yes you can, but note that it’s sweeter than maple syrup and has a stronger flavor, so less would be needed.

What else can I add for a more authentic Thai flavor?

You can add 1-2 teaspoons grated ginger for more depth of flavor and slight heat or 2-3 teaspoons fish sauce.

How Do I Use Thai Sweet Chili Sauce?

When I say that the food serving options for this sweet chili sauce are endless, I mean it. Here are just a few of the ways I like to enjoy it.

Let me know in the comments your favorite way of enjoying this homemade sweet chili sauce!

How Long Can It Be Stored?

You can store Thai sweet chili sauce in the fridge for between 2-3 weeks. It may thicken, just reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of water to reach desired consistency.

I recommend freezing the sauce in smaller ‘portioned’ amounts in a silicone ice-cube tray for 2-3 months. The sauce won’t freeze solid, which is why it’s best to use a silicone tray for easy removal.

More Must Try Thai Inspired Recipes

Thai chili sauce dripping off basting brush into the jar.
Thai sweet chili sauce on basting brush.

Healthy Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce recipe that contains just a fraction of the sugar in store bought options.
4.92 from 34 votes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 40
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes



  • In a small saucepan, add maple syrup, water, vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, salt, red pepper chili flakes and whisk until combined.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  • Transfer to a glass jar to store. Use this sauce to make sweet chili salmon, cedar plank salmon or slow cooker Thai chicken thighs.



  • Store: Refrigerate for up to a few weeks.
  • Freeze: Freeze in smaller ‘portioned’ amounts in a silicone ice cube tray for 2-3 months.
  • Sweetener: Honey, brown rice syrup, or agave may work, but taste may be sweeter.
  • For umami taste: Add 1 – 2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free). 
  • Deeper red color: Use fresh red Thai chillies that have been deseeded and made into a paste. Alternately, use sambal oelek (pickled chili paste). 


Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 195mg | Sugar: 8g
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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  1. 4 stars
    I just happened upon your site in a search for making my own sweet chili sauce as my new diet prevents using any store bought ones. Other than the cornstarch which I can sub with arrowroot, this is perfect for me. I’ve been checking out your recipes and I am so excited to start trying them, especially the Thai ones. Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes and I just can’t eat it anymore as it makes me sick due to the questionable ingredients in the sauce. Thank you.

    1. That’s great! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  2. 5 stars
    Usually use “that ONE brand” when I need sweet chili sauce, but we’re out.

    I made the Crock-Pot Thai chicken thighs and those are still crocking, but I tasted this and it’s fantastic! Love that I don’t have to buy sweet chili sauce anymore if I don’t want to

    We can’t wait until dinner and to try on other protein. Thanks for sharing both recipes!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious, easy recipe. I added soy sauce and ginger and next time I will put a little more garlic. Served it with basmati rice and asparagus. Really tasty!!!!!

  4. I am following a 30 day program and the only vinegar I can have is apple cider vinegar. Do you think that would work with the flavor profile of your recipe?

  5. 5 stars
    I love how simple and versatile this recipe is. I whipped it together to use with some egg rolls and it was the perfect accompaniment.

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious recipe! The best salmon recipe I’ve tried! I paired it with brown jasmine rice. Amazing!!!

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