Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai sweet chili sauce
The Spruce
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
566 Calories
0g Fat
135g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1/2 cup
Amount per serving
Calories 566
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4633mg 201%
Total Carbohydrate 135g 49%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 3g
Calcium 55mg 4%
*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.)

Thai sweet chili sauce is known as nam chim kai in Thailand. It is sold in bottles and available in Asian food markets, but instead of buying sweet chili sauce, try making this easy recipe. It only takes a few minutes to put together, and you can find everything you need in your pantry or at your local supermarket. There are no added preservatives or fatty ingredients in this homemade version, so it is also healthier. And since you control the ingredients, you also control the amount of sweetness and heat.

Thai sweet chili sauce makes a superb condiment for many Thai dishes and is excellent with chicken and fish as well as seafood. It is also wonderful as a marinade for grilling or as a dip for finger foods. Try it with grilled fish, classic Thai fish cakes, Thai crab cakes, chicken wings, vegetarian egg rolls, and Thai spring rolls.


Click Play to See This Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe Come Together


  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry (or cooking sherry)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried crushed chili pepper (or red pepper flakes; or 1 tablespoon makes spicy-hot sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cool water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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  2. Place all ingredients—except the cornstarch and water—in a saucepan or pot.

    Thai sweet chili sauce ingredients cooking.
     The Spruce
  3. Bring to a rolling boil.

    Boiling Thai sweet chili sauce.
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  4. Reduce heat to medium and let boil for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. (Note that the vinegar will be quite pungent as it burns off—rice vinegar is less strong than regular white vinegar.)

    Simmering Thai sweet chili sauce.
     The Spruce
  5. While the mixture is boiling, dissolve the cornstarch into the cool water in a small bowl.

  6. Reduce the heat of the pot to low and add the cornstarch-water mixture. Stir to incorporate and continue stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens about 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and taste-test.

  7. Pour sauce into a small bowl or jar and serve as a condiment, dip, or marinade.

    Thai sweet chili sauce.
     The Spruce
  8. Enjoy!


  • When you are taste-testing, you should taste sweet first, followed by sour, then spicy and salty notes. If the sauce isn't sweet enough, add a little more sugar. If it's not spicy enough, add more chili.

Recipe Variations

If you don't have all of these ingredients on hand or just want to jazz things up a bit, feel free to make some changes:

  • Try using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar.
  • Port, Madeira, and masala wines, as well as apple, pineapple, and orange juices all make good sherry substitutions.
  • You can also use arrowroot instead of cornstarch.