Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
June 7, 2022 | Updated on March 15, 2023

This easy sweet chili sauce recipe is one that I keep in my back pocket. It’s versatile, tastes better than the bottled version, additive free and will likely be a staple in your home.

If you are looking for the perfect pairing for this Thai sweet chili sauce recipe, then check out my Crab Rangoon, Pork Lumpia Shanghai and Chicken and Shrimp Lumpia recipes, next!


This content contains affiliate links which helps WhisperofYum.com to provide free recipes. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support of the blog, Whisper of Yum!

Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

This sweet chili sauce recipe is a household favorite. I always have a 20 ounce jar of this goodness stashed in my fridge, ready for drizzling or dipping.

Growing up, our pantry was never without a bottle of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce; it was like our version of ketchup. It wasn’t until I was order that I wanted to make a homemade sweet chili sauce and I haven’t gone back to the bottled version since!


Why This Chili Sauce Recipe Works

  • Easy to make. All you need is 20 minutes and this sauce is yours.
  • Minimal ingredients. 8 ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand.
  • No Additives. Yes, the bottled version is tasty, but most contain additives. Why not go for a clean version made with ingredients you know.
  • Store for later use. What’s great about sweet chili sauce is that it will store in the fridge for up to 1 month!

What is Sweet Chili Sauce?

Also known as Thai Sweet Chili Sauce or nam chim kai in Thailand, is a popular condiment typically made with chili pepper, garlic, rice vinegar, and sugar.


How to Use Sweet Chili Sauce

This sweet (and sometimes spicy) condiment is is used as a dipping sauce or drizzled over foods to add a layer of sweet and umami flavor.

If you have not tried sweet chili sauce before, then you are in for a treat. This highly versatile sauce is great for dipping or drizzling over vegetables, salmon, tofu, chicken, shrimp, stir-fry dishes, roasted meats, and so much more.

My husband and always go for a ramekin of sweet chili sauce whenever I make my Lemongrass Roasted Chicken and Pork Lumpia Shanghai recipes.

Is Sweet Chili Sauce Spicy?

Typically, no. But what’s great about the homemade version is that you can adjust the heat to your liking.

Want more of a kick? Just add more cayenne pepper.


Ingredients You Will Need

Just 8 ingredients and you are on your way to making the best sweet chili sauce.

  • Red bell pepper – While traditionally sweet chili sauce is made with red chilis, I have found that using red bell peppers is a fine substitute.
  • Cayenne pepper – Just enough is added for subtle heat. Don’t worry, the sauce is not spicy, and for those who want to crank up the heat, just add more.
  • Garlic – 8 cloves of garlic, and trust, it’s not too much.
  • Sugar – Cane sugar is used to lend this chili sauce its sweetness.
  • Rice vinegar – Adds a subtle tang that balances out the sweetness.
  • Tapioca starch – Mixed with warm water to make a tapioca starch slurry that is used as a thickening agent. You can also use cornstarch.
  • Kosher salt – I always use Diamond Crystal brand.
  • Water – A small amount is added to even out the consistency.

How to Make Sweet Chili Sauce

I was not kidding when I said this sweet chili sauce recipe is easy to make. In 20 minutes, you’ll have this delicious sauce ready for drizzling and dipping.

  1. Add finely chopped red bell pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper, sugar, rice vinegar, tapioca starch, kosher salt, and water to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer the mixture for 4 minutes.
  3. Mix tapioca starch and hot water in a small bowl, then slowly add to the sweet chili mixture.
  4. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  6. Serve with your favorite eats!

How to Store Sweet Chili Sauce

Once sauce is cooled to room temperature, store in a sterile, refrigerator safe container for up to 4 weeks.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use finely chopped ingredients. Be sure to prepare red bell pepper and garlic into minced or finely chopped pieces as you don’t want big chucks in your sauce. You can also use a food processor to help with the job.
  • Do not overcook. After adding the tapioca slurry, bring the mixture to a boil then lower to a simmer for one minute. Overcooking will affect the viscosity of the sauce.

Watch How to Make This Recipe

Looking For More Good Eats?

Then check out my childhood favorites that are also beloved by many:

This Recipe Is a Household Favorite!

Are you loving this Thai sweet chili sauce, too? Leave a comment below and share your love for this recipe on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Happy eating!


Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

This easy sweet chili sauce recipe is one that I keep in my back pocket. It's versatile, tastes better than the bottled version, additive free and will likely be a staple in your home.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 ounces
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Sauce
Cuisine Asian


  • ½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, Diamond Crystal brand

Tapioca Slurry

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, or cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons hot water


  • Add all ingredients except tapioca starch and hot water to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 4 minutes maintaining heat level at a simmer.
  • Mix tapioca starch and hot water (slurry) in a small bowl. Stir until combined then slowly add slurry to the sweet chili mixture.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before transferring to a sterile container.
  • Store leftover sweet chili sauce in a sterile air-tight container. Keep refrigerated. Sauce is good for up to 4 weeks.


If using a food processor to chop red bell pepper and garlic, pulse until ingredients are minced in texture. 
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @whisperofyum on Instagram and hashtag it #whisperofyum!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

Recent Yum