Satay Peanut Sauce

Satay peanut sauce alongside chicken satay

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 1 1/2 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
201 Calories
16g Fat
10g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 201
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 502mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 222mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Satay sauce is a slightly spicy peanut sauce. While it's popularly associated with Thai cuisine, it's enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia and has Indonesian roots. It's best known as the sauce for satay, a tasty appetizer of marinated meat (often chicken, pork, or beef) grilled on a skewer.

Making a delicious satay sauce from scratch is quick and easy. There's no cooking involved with this recipe; you'll simply mix all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, adjust the seasoning, and you're done.

Most Western versions of satay sauce are made with peanut butter. This one starts with dry roasted, unsalted peanuts—and you'll taste the difference. Peanut butter often contains salt, sugar, and/or oil. By using whole peanuts, you avoid those additives and have complete control of all the ingredients.

The fish sauce adds an umami saltiness, brown sugar makes it sweet, tamarind paste brings in a sour aspect, and cayenne gives it that signature spiciness. These flavors come together to create a spicy, salty, tangy peanut sauce that's customized to your taste and useful in many ways.

0:39

Click Play to See This Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted fresh dry roasted peanuts

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste, or 1/2 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce, more or less to taste

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for satay peanut sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

    Peanuts in food processor
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Blend or process until the sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk. Taste, and adjust as needed.

    Peanut sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature with chicken, pork, beef, or vegetarian satay, or your favorite recipe. Enjoy.

    Finished bowl of satay peanut sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Tips

Finding the balance in this sauce is key. To adjust the flavor, blend in one of the recipe's ingredients until it's to your liking:

  • Add more fish sauce or soy sauce if not salty enough.
  • Make it spicier with more cayenne.
  • When it's too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  • If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
  • To make it vegetarian, use soy sauce instead of fish sauce. 
  • This sauce tends to thicken as it sits; add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out as needed.

What Do You Serve Peanut Sauce With?

The peanut sauce can be used for all kinds of things beyond satay. Satay sauce is excellent as an all-purpose Asian salad dressing and a dip for fresh spring rolls. Use it to make a delicious cold noodle salad or as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu. It's also a great dip for a snack of fresh raw veggies.

How to Store and Freeze Satay Sauce

This satay stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. It can also be frozen in ice cube trays then transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag or container for up to 6 months.