Tangy Thai Sauce for Glaze, Marinade, or Dip

Fried chicken wings with sauce
Supajittra Ngarnnitigumtorn/ EyeEm/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
43 Calories
0g Fat
10g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 43
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 201mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 27mg 2%
*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.)

This tangy Thai sauce recipe can be used as a marinade, glaze, side sauce, or dip. It's great as a glaze on chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, and other shellfish, as well as tofu. It also makes an incredible marinade for grilling and dipping sauce for appetizers.

This sauce has a balance of sweet and sour, spicy and salty, as is typical of the best Thai cuisine. It infuses foods with loads of flavor without adding a lot of extra calories. If you would like to make the sauce vegetarian, instead of the fish sauce add 1 tablespoon Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce, or increase the soy sauce to 1 1/2 tablespoons.


  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or another type of vinegar such as white, white wine, or apple cider)
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies (minced) or 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan or pot. Stir and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cooks and become tangy—a mixture of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. (Depending what kind of vinegar you use, the smell as the vinegar burns off can be quite pungent, although rice vinegar is milder than other types).

  3. When the sauce has been reduced by 1/3, remove it from the heat. Taste-test the sauce and adjust it according to your liking. For a sweeter sauce, add a little more sugar. If it is not spicy enough, add more chili. If it's not salty or flavorful enough, add a splash more of fish sauce.

  4. You can use the sauce right away, or refrigerate it until it is needed. (It stores well in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.) 

Recipes Using Tangy Thai Sauce

Once you've tasted this sauce you will want to use it again and again! Here are some recipes that include this delicious tangy Thai sauce.