Satay Peanut Sauce

Satay peanut sauce alongside chicken satay

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 13 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 13 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
241 Calories
17g Fat
18g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 241
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 431mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 9g
Calcium 76mg 6%
*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.)

You may know satay as a tasty appetizer served in Thai cuisine that consists of small pieces of meat (often chicken, pork, or beef) marinated and grilled on a skewer. It's often served with a peanut sauce that tends to be a little spicy.

This satay sauce is different insofar as it uses whole peanuts, but it is still very easy to make. You 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, but this one starts with dry roasted unsalted peanuts—and you'll taste the difference. Using peanuts rather than peanut butter, which often contains salt, sugar and/or oil, enables you to really control all the other ingredients, such as the fish sauce (which adds an umami saltiness), brown sugar (sweet), tamarind (sour), and cayenne (spiciness).

This spicy-salty-tangy peanut sauce can be used for a variety of purposes beyond satay, and once you start using it, you'll want to use it for all kinds of things. It's also really good as an all-purpose Asian salad dressing and as a dip for fresh spring rolls. Or use it to make a delicious cold noodle salad or as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu. It's also great to serve alongside a snack of fresh raw veggies, as a dip.


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  • 1 cup fresh dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 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 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 Thai chicken satay, Thai pork satay or vegetarian/vegan Thai satay.  ​

    Finished bowl of satay peanut sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Use Peanut Satay Sauce

Chicken Satay


Finding the balance in this sauce is key. Here are some pointers.

  • Add more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough.
  • Add more cayenne if not spicy enough.
  • If it's too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  • If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
  • If you want to make the sauce vegetarian, simply substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. 
  • This sauce tends to thicken as it sits, so just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out as needed.

How to Store and Freeze Satay Sauce

This satay stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter in ice cube trays for easy use in the future, for up to 6 months.