Thai Barbecue Sauce

Thai sweet chili sauce in a bowl garnished with Thai basil.

 Paul Brighton/Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
81 Calories
0g Fat
20g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1143mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 19mg 94%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 277mg 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.)

Homemade Thai barbecue sauce, also known as sweet chili sauce, is easy to make and far superior to store-bought varieties. It's a dark, tangy-sweet sauce that can be used as a marinade, stir-fry sauce, or dipping sauce, and has just enough spice to give meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, ribs, veggies, or just plain old burgers a flavor boost. Brush it on salmon or shrimp while grilling for a taste sensation.

The sauce is made with common Thai ingredients like oyster sauce, fish sauce, and fresh or dried Thai red chili (bird's eye chili pepper) that can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores or at an Asian market. The beauty of this flavorful sauce is that its heat level can be adjusted by using more or less of the red chili pepper.

Double this recipe so you will have enough to drizzle over the finished dish before serving. It's also delicious over rice or potatoes.


  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup, or 3 tablespoons tomato paste plus 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons molasses, or 3 tablespoons Thai dark sweet soy sauce

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

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, grated

  • 1 fresh bird's eye chili pepper, minced, 1/2 teaspoon crushed chili, or 1 to 2 teaspoons chili sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oyster sauce, ketchup, molasses, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, garlic, ginger, and chili. Stir together until they are well blended.

  3. Taste the barbecue sauce, adding more honey if it is not sweet enough, or more lime juice if it is too sweet or too salty for your taste. Add more chili if desired.

  4. Use as a marinade, stir-fry sauce, or dipping sauce over meats, seafood (especially salmon and shrimp), and veggies.

  5. Store this sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

  6. Enjoy!

Chili Pepper in Thai Cuisine

The most popular pepper in Thai cuisine is the bird's eye chili, a small, slim pepper that is 20 times hotter than jalapeño peppers. Chili peppers, originally from the Americas, were introduced to Thailand by the Portuguese and Spanish in the 16th or 17th century and, along with rice, have become two of the most important ingredients in the culinary repertoire.

If you can't find fresh, crushed, or dried bird's eye chili, substitute fresh, crushed, or dried red cayenne pepper.