How to Make Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

thai sweet chilli sauce
If someone asked me what I would choose as the one single dish to have as my last meal on earth, I would, of course, have a hard time coming up with an answer. However, I am surethe incomparably magnificent combo of hot-off-the-steamer Thai sticky rice, Thai-style grilled chicken, and this beloved Thai sweet chilli saucewould be hovering through my mind as one of the top five contenders. Thai sweet chilli sauce has been a quintessential part of my life. A life bereft of it is simply unimaginable. In fact — and please don’t tell anyone — this post was inspired by a movie which I recently saw wherein the protagonist’s existence revolved around hummus to the point that he even used it as toothpaste. This Thai sweet chilli sauce is to me like what hummus is to that guy in the movie.

The heat is mostly in the veins and seeds of chilli peppers. Customize your sweet chilli sauce according to your heat tolerance.

Short of smearing it on my face in lieu of facial cream (but that’s only because chilli sauce lacks SPF to protect you from UVA/UVB), I use this dipping sauce in, and with, everything, even things I shouldn’t use it with: fresh spring rolls, fried spring rolls, crispy wantons, crab rangoon, fried chicken, grilled chicken, steamed chicken, fried calamari, lumpia, etc. I mix this sweet chilli sauce with some aïoli and turn that into a dip for Belgian fries — a practice that probably makes the whole country of Belgium weep bitterly. I brush this sauce on grilled chicken wings and grilled corn cobs. I doctor it up with other ingredients and turn it into various dressings for different things. The list goes on ad infinitum. If you like Asian cuisine, I promise that having a vat of this highly versatile sauce in your refrigerator will make your life much more pleasant. (Most Thai people have a jar of this in their refrigerator. I know a few who don’t. They’re weird, though.) Be sure to double, triple, quadruple the recipe; the sauce keeps for a month, refrigerated.

Tips on how to make this sauce for low-carbers or diabetics.

5.0 from 10 reviews
How to Make Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sauce, Condiment
Serves: about 1 cup
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 red Jalapeño or Serrano peppers, deseeded (See note #1 below.)
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch (See note #2 below.)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. In the blender, purée together all the ingredients, except for the last two.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic-pepper bits begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  3. Combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer one more minute. The cornstarch will help the sauce to thicken slightly thereby causing nice suspension of the garlic-pepper bits; otherwise, you get a thin sauce with all the little pieces floating on the surface.
  4. Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate.
1. I keep the chili seeds in, but your mileage may vary, so adjust the heat accordingly. More seeds = more heat. Keep in mind, however, that the heat is the strongest the day you make the sauce and starts to dissipate gradually. This sauce keeps for a long time, and after a couple of weeks, you can’t even taste the pepper. 2. If you want to make a large batch of this sauce (more than half a gallon) — and you certainly should since this sauce lasts a long time — the best thickener to use is pre-gelatinized or “pre-gel” starch which is both acid- and heat-stable (corn or potato starch is not). It’s marketed under the brand name Clearjel®. Your chilli sauce will remain viscous and maintain the nice suspension for the entire duration of its shelf life when thickened with pre-gelatinized starch. Traditionally, Thai sweet chilli sauce is not thickened with starch; the syrupy consistency is achieved through cooking the sauce containing lots of sugar down until it’s thick enough to create a good suspension of the garlic-pepper bits. However, if you notice, bottled Thai sweet chilli sauce normally contained a starch thickener. You can go either way. I personally prefer the version that contains less sugar which is this one.

Other places where this recipe is mentioned or reviewed:

  1. That’s interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Although I’m staying in Thailand, I never cooked this myself. I just went out to the convenient store and got one.

    • Hi Leela

      Am in the process of making your recipe for Sweet That Chilli Sauce and have a question. I quadrupled your recipe and followed it exactly, using powdered Clear Gel I bought off Amazon. My sauce is almost cool but is not setting up, ie the consistency is too thin. Any tips on what I can do to achieve the thicker consistency I seek? Cook it longer, add more Clear Gel?

      Thanks – David

      • David, yes, add more until you get what you want. You don’t even need to boil the sauce again when you add Clearjel, because pregelatinized starch is already cooked and won’t give you the bitter, raw taste that cornstarch or any type of flour will. (If you’re sensitive to the starch taste and can detect that still, you can always reheat the sauce to get rid of it. Clearjel is heat stable, so it will still retain the consistency.)

        Keep in mind that for this sauce you don’t want it to be jam-like. The thickener is used here just to achieve a nice suspension (meaning to ensure that the pepper-garlic bits are thoroughly dispersed instead of floating on the surface). To check for consistency, put maybe a cup of the sauce in a glass Pyrex cup or any clear container (emoty jam jar) that allows you to see its composition. If the pepper-garlic bits suspend nicely from top to bottom, you’re good. There’s no need to thicken more beyond that point.

  2. Hello Khun leela,

    Just following the link you posted on my blog! What an excellent read! Thanks for sharing this! – (BTW – answering your question regarding Damnoensaduak – I have never been there, so I don’t know!)

  3. You must try this sauce mixed in with your raw eggs when doing scrambled or omelets, or mixed in with the cooked yolks for deviled eggs, or in egg salad, tomato soup, mushroom soup, etc etc. I’m fully addicted to this sauce, as you can see.

    • Your recipe is amazing. I have used it countless times in a crockpot with meatballs for parties at work and the Superbowl. Always a hit. Thank you for your recipe.

    • Oh, Leela… There’s a restaurant called The Yardhouse (it’s a microbrewery if you like different beers – Google it to see if there’s one near you) that has a deviled egg appetizer. Theyuse a Thai sweet chili sauce and a spicy tomato sauce that puts these things over the top and makes them crazy delicious!! I’m just sayin’

      Cheryl :)

  4. Leela-
    I have been thoroughly enjoying your site, and having just found it a few days ago, already tagged a dozen posts to go back to, including this one! Thanks for the recipe; I have just run out of my giant bottle of store-bought stuff and will be making it soon. I wonder what you think about using dried chiles? I have a ton of dried birds-eye chiles staring me in the face…

  5. Welcome Lydia and thanks! :)
    This particular dipping sauce is traditionally sweet and sour with bright, vibrant flavor (and color). You won’t get that from dried chilies whose smokiness, though delicious, will prevent your sauce from achieving those characteristics.

    However, in the Northeast, another kind of dipping sauce, Jaew, is more prevalent. It’s made out of fish sauce, dried chili flakes, lime juice, and sometimes sliced green onions or some other fresh indigenous herbs. Jaew isn’t as sweet and no attempt is made to thicken it. It’s just a very simple dipping sauce in which smokiness is preferred. You may want to try that.

    In fact, if you buy traditional grilled spatchcocked chicken on the streets of Bangkok, the vendors usually stick into the chicken bags two kinds of dipping sauces: the sweet one which I blogged about and the Northeastern Jaew which some people prefer.

  6. Leela–thanks for the wisdom! Jaew is actually my second favorite Thai condiment (after the chile sauce you blogged about), I just never knew the name of it! I spent my teenage summers with my Thai stepmother and siblings, and they were from Chiangmai. Wonderful wonderful food memories. Look forward to more of your inspiring posts!

  7. I love it! My family and I purchase warehouse sized portions of sweet Thai Chili sauces, so I’m anxious to try making your version. If it compares, I’ll have to quadruple it and pass it around!

  8. Wonderful recipe – my family enjoys the lumpia rolls I make but we often have to settle for bottled sauces or my lame attempts make a soy sauce and vinegar dip. This is perfect!

  9. I’m so glad to have found this! I love Sweet Chili Sauce but have been buying it because I had no idea how to make it. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again!

    I love this as a dipping sauce for fried calamari! Mmmmm.

  10. Hello,

    I’ll definitely be making this sauce, but I actually wanted to ask you the name of the film that inspired the post?

    All the best.

  11. Hi Bert, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” is the movie I was forced to watch … Silly and crude for the most part and definitely not PG, but there are a few funny moments. :)

  12. Thank you so much for posting this! I became addicted to this while I was living overseas and I have yet to find one in America that was half as good!

  13. Leela! I love this! I love this! I love this! There is a restaurant with a couple locations around Orlando, Florida called Dexter’s. They serve “cha cha” chips (sweet potato chips) with a sauce almost exactly like this. I tried several other recipes, but this is by far the best!! I won’t be trying any other recipes, that’s for sure. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Do you think you can substitute the sugar for a swetener? Would it change the consistency?

  15. Hi Anonymous – Unfortunately, I have never tried making this sauce with artificial sweetener. I figured with some tweaking it *could* be done.

    The sugar adds to the total liquid output and makes the consistency of the sauce syrupy, so I think the absence of sugar will affect both the consistency and the volume of the sauce.

    A good compromise is the Splenda blend (for baking?) which contains both Splenda and sugar. Would that be a viable option for you?

    But if you want to eliminate sugar entirely, you may want to add to the garlic-pepper mixture the amount of artificial sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar, then increase the amount of water from 3/4 to maybe 1 cup or 1 1/4 to make up for the loss of moisture in the absence of melted sugar. You may also want to increase the amount of cornstarch in the slurry to increase the viscosity of the sauce to make up for the lack of the syrupy consistency. The end result would most likely resemble gravy more than honey/gravy. In other words, it will be goopy and viscous but not as sticky as it should be.

    This would be an interesting experiment. If you would kindly come back and let us know the result of your tweak, I would be grateful.

    • Honey. You can substitute with honey or with agave. You will like. I like. I like sugar, too…but honey, it works also. Good.

  16. Late last night, my wife and I picked up a pack of coconut shrimp with Thai Chili sauce. But we soon ran out of sauce. Your blog came through with the lifesaving answer, as well as providing somethging great to read aloud as the sauce was made. Thanks!

  17. My mother made this sauce and called me to let me know about your site and in particular this recipe. She said this was the most amazing sweet chile sauce she’d ever had. I’m tempted to make my own, but Ive never made anything like this before. Would it be possible for you to post step by step pictures to go with this recipe so I would feel more confident making this without you or my mom in the kitchen? I also have an Asian girlfriend I want to impress and I don’t want to screw it up. Thanks a lot in advance.


  18. Thanks for the comment, Joe. Next time I make a batch of this (I make about half a gallon at a time, so it will be a few weeks before I run out of this current batch), I’ll be sure to take some pictures.

  19. Anonymous – My last batch lasted 4 months. The amounts of sugar and vinegar added are large enough to help the sauce keep for a long time in the refrigerator. But I also:
    1. Sterilize the jars in which I store it.
    2. Never leave the sauce out at room temperature for a long time. I spoon out of the jar just as much as sauce as I need at a time. If there’s any left (never), I don’t pour it back into the jar.
    3. Never dip food right into the jar or use anything but an immaculate clean utensil to spoon the sauce out of the jar.
    4. Keep the jar(s) in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is the lowest.

    I’ve never had a batch that goes bad or grows mold in the fridge before 4 months.

  20. You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for a recipe for this. I can just give you a BIG virtual hug you right now. As much as I love the store bought kind, I’d rather make it at home. =)

  21. I bought a jar of this at my grocery store after having it with fried calamari when my husband & I were in Maryland last month. We both loved it, and after paying over $3 for a 7oz. jar I thought I’m sure there must be a recipe for it-the ingredients were simple. I went on line and in less than 2 minutes found your site. I can’t wait to make a batch-we absolutely LOVE this stuff-Thanks Sooooo much!!!

  22. Anon – It’s supposed to have the consistency of maple syrup and though not completely clear, not too cloudy. Try cooking it a bit longer or thin it out a bit with water next time to see if the sauce becomes clearer. Cornstarch and tapioca starch when completely cooked should be clear.

  23. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve just made my second batch :) I also included some chopped up onion pieces to mix it up a little! My first batch was nice but i overdid the starch and it turned into jelly overnight!! Batch 2 is currently of liquid condensity and hopefully will stay that way!! Thanks again 😀

  24. that is a gorgeous photo! i ran across this on google, looking for a thai chilli sauce to put atop salmon. i’ll give this a try, and i think i’ll add a little lime zest as well. thanks!

  25. A friend suggested your blog and I am really enjoying it. I’ve taken many Thai cooking classes and enjoy your take on the recipes. Especially the banana pancakes – delicious.

  26. Anonymous _ Hmmm … Have you tried Hispanic grocery stores in your area. I almost always find red jalapenos there. In fact, I bought a bunch the other day from Super Target. But if you really can’t find red jalapenos, you can try letting green jalapenos ripen on your kitchen countertop for few days until they turn reddish. I’ve never done that, but I’ve been told it works. Your green jalapenos may not get completely red, but it’s probably a better solution than to use the green jalapenos.

    I figure you could probably make an acceptable sweet dipping sauce with green peppers, but the flavor will definitely be off. It’s like how green bell peppers taste different from red bell peppers.

    • Bit late but you can write been green jalapenos into red jalapenos by putting them in a paper bag and leaving them on your counter. The red ones are just fully ripened green ones.

  27. You saved my dinner. We love thai food and bought a thai sauce in a local store that was pretty disappointing. Found your sweet chilli sauce post, which rescued my cooking efforts. Its a stunner. Love it. Thank you.

  28. 1) Great photos!. Really nice…
    2) I’ve just finished making the sauce: perfect.. while cooking it, it smells like being in Thailand. Easy, simple, quick, and tastes and smells absolutely fabulous… Thanks!

  29. Hi Leela, Thanks for the recipie

    This may be a little difficult to answer as you always make big batches, but using your standard recipe as set out above, how many liters or Fluid OZ do you think you would produce.

    Also, would you say your recipe is hotter or milder than a bottle of store bought.

  30. Hi South Oz, this recipe yields approximately 10 fluid ounces. As far as heat level, I usually remove all of the pepper seeds, so it’s quite mild – just as mild as most of the Thai brands you find at Asian markets (Mae Ploy, Pantai Norasingh, etc.). You can adjust the heat by leaving in some or all of the pepper seeds. More seeds = more heat. But as I stated in the post, the longer you let the sauce sit, the less hot it becomes. Eventually — I’d say after a day or two — the sauce loses most of its heat. If you start off with very hot sauce, by that time it becomes only faintly hot. If you start off mild, without the red color, you won’t even know there’s chillis in there after a couple of days.

    Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions. :)

  31. I love the sauce a lot, but it was way too spicy for me. Can you tell me how I can make the sauce with same color and flavor, but much less spicy?

  32. Anonymous – Here are a few options:

    *Since the heat dissipates over time, you may want to try making the sauce 3-4 days before you want to use it. Freshly made sauce can be strong for those with very low heat tolerance.

    *Remove all of the seeds and membranes from the peppers as that’s where the capsaicin is found in greater quantities. The flesh and skin will be enough to give you the color and flavor without much heat.

    *To make the sauce extremely mild — like cough syrup, zero-heat mild, use only one pepper instead of two and remove all the seeds and membranes. That should still give me some color and flavor.

    Make sure that the pepper that you use is jalapeno or serrano. Never use the small bird’s eye peppers as they are extremely hot. When it comes to peppers, the general rule is the smaller the hotter. This recipe calls for two red jalapeno peppers.

    Hope this helps. :)

    • Leela, I want to use the padi chilli. I love them. How many sh I use?
      Found your blog yesterday and am smitten! I’m a vegetarian so can’t make most of your recipes…..but have been lapping up your posts, like there’s no tomorrow :)

      • Radhika – Thank you!

        I personally would never use padi/bird’s eye chilies in this. They don’t have a lot of pulp to offer unless you use a lot in order to get the red color which means the sauce will end up being too hot (this sauce is not supposed to be hot). But if you want to use it, you need about 6-7 of them to replace each jalapeño. Note that bird’s eye or paid is 50,000–100,000 Scoville units and jalapeno is 3,500-8,000.

        • I’ve never seen red jalapeños in Singapore- only a large red, non spicy chilli, which add colour but no taste to dishes. Can I combine that with the padi chilli? I love them (the padi that is) and usually go through a packet in 2 weeks :)

          • Radhika – The recommendation for jalapeño is primarily for those living outside Southeast Asia. In your case, since you have access to the large red chilies, I would use those. You can use padi chilies or supplement the large red chilies with them if you must, but that’s usually not done in Thailand.

  33. I will try it again. Thank you for your help. I am looking forward to learning how to make Pad Thai from you soon!

  34. Ok yesterday I sent my husband to the store to get RED jalapeno or serrano peppers. well he still came home with GREEN. OMG anyways I had a bottle of Chili garlic sauce from Lee Kum Kee in my fridge and decited to experiment with that to get this sauce and it worked. I took 1 TBSP of the chili garlic sauce, 1/2 C sugar and 3/4 Cup of water boiled that together then added the cornstarch mixture and I got a good sauce that wasnt too spicy to use that night, even the kids loved it and they are picky as hell LOL. So for thoes of you who have color blind hubbys or the store doesnt have the red chili peppers then you can substitute the chili garlic sauce from lee kum kee just use the water sugar and cornstarch, the chili garlic sauce already has vinegar and salt in it.

  35. Anonymous – Is this because you can’t find any of those items in your area, dietary restrictions, or taste preference?

    Corn and potato starch is great when you make the sauce in small amount. If you make half a gallon at a time like I do, Clearjel is the way to go. Pre-gelatinized starch cooks clear and is heat and acid stable. All commercial brand names use it.

    All starch thickeners work, even all-purpose flour, yielding various results. Clearjel or Wondra Flour is the best. Corn starch yields much better results than other starch thickeners and that’s why I recommend it. But bottomline is, any thickener works.

    If you don’t mind a thin sauce with pieces of garlic and pepper floating at the top, you don’t even have to thicken the sauce at all. Thickening doesn’t affect taste.

    But if this is due to dietary restrictions, you can try making three times more sauce than you want then simmer it down to 1/3 the original amount. That way, you *might* get the sauce to be syrupy and thick without any thickener. I have never tried this, so I can’t guarantee whether it will work.

    Otherwise, you may want to explore other options such as invert sugar in the form of agave nectar or the much-maligned corn syrup. Honey might work too.

    In my opinion, though, if the issue here is unavailability of cornstarch and not due to any dietary restrictions, it’s probably best to go through the trouble of finding cornstarch than the trouble of experimenting with other thickeners or sweeteners.

  36. Anonymous – One more thing I forgot to mention: You *could* thicken the sauce with all-purpose flour, but the result will be more gravy-like. I personally don’t like that, but depending on what your reason(s) is/are, all-purpose flour is an option.

  37. I made this last night after finding your blog and it is amazing!! And so simple to make, I’ve never tasted anything so good. My brother keeps helping himself to it today. I’m worried what he’s going to resort to putting it on!!


  38. I have been looking for the Clearjel everywhere and can not find it. Where can it be found? I don’t live in a big city and our stores don’t seem to carry it.

  39. Anonymous – Clearjel can be found online,,, and several other online retailers carry them. Google is your friend. 😉

  40. Seriously this is awesome…we buy like bottles of thai sweet chili sauce and use it in almost everythin we eat!!love it!! :)

  41. Hope I’m not too late to enter this comment. I made this sauce over the weekend and it was better than any I have ever bought!!!

    I just wanted to say that I too am having trouble getting the red jalapenos. Bearing in mind you said that if you use dried chillies you won’t get the vibrant red colour – I experimented using dried chillies for the flavour and 1/2 an ordinary red bell pepper for the colour. The result was absolute perfection.

    Today I have to cook loads more batches for each of the dinner guests I had to have their own jar. Thankyou so much. I can’t even buy bottled sauce here in the heart of rural Spain so I just know this is one recipe I am going to be using over and over. Thanks again

  42. Aaah a recipe for my fresh peppers that just came from the plant outside :)
    Never thought they would grow over here (netherlands) but my plant produces peppers every week :)

  43. Ahhh, thank you!! I LOVE sweet chili sauce and, like the person who posted the recipe, like it on everything!! Can’t wait to make this.

  44. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks and sounds delicious. Just a few questions:

    Where in a supermarket would I find Corn/Potato Starch? Or is that a silly question lol? Or is there any substitution of this ingredient?

    And can the White Vinegar be substituted for another type of vinegar? I’m in France, and most, if not all, their vinegar seems to be alcohol based.

    Thanks, Charlotte :)

  45. Charlotte – Thanks. :) In the US, corn starch is often found in the same aisle as baking soda or baking powder. Potato starch is most likely found in Asian grocery stores. If you’re in Paris, Tang Frères is the place to go for that. While there, you probably want to grab a bottle of white vinegar that is heavily used in Asian cooking as well. It’s by far the best vinegar to use in this recipe. The only substitute that will not create a catastrophic result is perhaps apple cider vinegar. Yet, even that will create an off taste. All alcohol- or fruit-based vinegars, in my opinion, will pretty much turn the sauce into a completely different thing — for better or for worse.

    Check out Tang Frères if you live close to one. I’m sure they got everything you need there.

  46. Hi Leela thank you for your help :) Having looked on the internet I’ve realised US Corn Starch is what we call Corn Flour, which I already have some of luckily! Unfortunately I am about 4 hours away from Paris and have not heard of Tang Freres, but I am going up the shop in a minute and with a bit of luck they’ll sell some White Vinegar! Will let you know how it goes when/if I attempt to make this!

    Thanks, Charlotte :)

  47. I was wondering if I could use cayenne peppers instead of Jalapenos seeing as I have 5 cayenne plants producing tons of peppers.


  48. Jen – Certainly. You may want to remove the seeds and membranes, though, as cayenne is much hotter than red jalapeno. The former is in the 30,000-50,000 on the Scoville scale, whereas the latter is only in the 2,500-8,000 range.

  49. Leela,

    Thank you so much…I made it with 3 small cayenne peppers. It was very hot but it was exactly what I was looking for. The thought of making one of my favorite condiments in just a few minutes is worth it. Thanks again…love you blog!


  50. Jen – Glad to know it worked out. The heat should subside in a couple of days; that is, if you have any leftover sauce. :)

  51. This sweet chilli sauce is amazing. I made it tonight to use as a dip for the coconut prawns I made and it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely make this one again!!

  52. Hi, Leela. This looks like a great recipe, and I can’t wait to try it out! I’m curious whether jars of this sauce could be processed in a boiling water bath or pressure canner so that they don’t have to be refrigerated. I noticed that you have a jelly version of the recipe for canning, but I think I’d like the consistency of the non-jelly version better.


  53. brianc – The jelly version has been tested for pH, so I know for sure it can be processed in a water bath without the risk of botulism (the jelly version has a different ratio). I’ve never run the non-jelly version through the same test, however. Besides, the addition of starch may (or may not) affect the level of acidity. The best way is to do a pH test. In most cases, if the pH value is over 4.6, you’re good.

  54. Hello, just me again.

    I made the sauce but although I had to use Pimento peppers (as the shops over here in France are rubbish for fruit and vegetables!), it was mmm sooo good! My mum was equally as impressed, and we have since made several batches! We have used it as a dipping sauce mainly, but I have also used it for Sticky Chilli Shredded Beef which turned out to be a surprising success! Thanks for your recipe 😀

  55. Charlotte – Thanks. It’s feedback like this that makes blogging and sharing recipes worthwhile. Your sticky chilli shredded beef sounds really good! :)

  56. An amazing recipe. I just made it in 20 minutes to go with some squat lobster tails. For Brits: I had two organic green jalapenos to hand, but added two teaspoons of Very Lazy Red Chilis and then adjusted the sugar to my taste. 1 TBSP of corn flour made it go instantly to restaurant-quality thickness.


  57. So I made your incredibly simple with these substitutions:
    *fresh cayenne instead of serrano
    *korean hardneck garlic instead of commerical white garlic
    *brown sugar instead of white

    Very spicy, very tasty sauce for my chicken!
    Thank you for this.

  58. WOW just made my first batch of it this morning , excellent recipe !!!

    I am going to have with some shrimp for lunch

    Thanks for sharing this with us all

    Kind Regards Mark

  59. Anon – Cornstarch is a more common term in the US for corn flour, but both are the same. I’m assuming we’re talking about the second item on this list. But if by corn flour, you mean corn meal (semolina) — the stuff you make cornbread with — then no.

  60. Leela – Thanks for your answer.I didnt mean semolina.I live in UK where they call cornstarch corn flour, hence the confusion.

  61. Hi leela,

    Is it 3 garlic cloves or 3 HEADS of garlic. In the picture of the food processor, it looks like a lot more than the 3 cloves the recipe calls for.


  62. I used crushed red pepper instead of jalapenos. I also didn’t have cornstarch so I used some powdered sugar instead. Made me feel a bit creative but there’s not really enough cornstarch in there to make a difference, and I don’t like it enough to try replacing all the sugar with it.

    My garlic did turn blue-green, which I read is a result of a reaction between enzymes/compounds in garlic and trace amounts of copper found in vinegar, though some people have reported it from using other acidic ingredients. Really really weird, because I cook with garlic all the time and never had that happen – though I guess I’ve never used such a high proportion of vinegar before. Anyway, it was rather unsettling, so I strained it out.

    Delicious nonetheless :)

    I bet this would be good as a marinade if left unthickened, maybe with some lime juice..

  63. Thank you for posting the receipe… After came back from Hatyai… I feel anxious to make Gai Tod Hatyai with home made sweet chilli sauce rather buying at the Supermarket.

  64. Hi Leela and thanks for this great recipe!.
    I have just harvested some 30 jalapeños… I was wondering what to do with them. I made the Thai sauce, but there a still lots of peppers. I remember seeing in Thailand and old man cutting chilies with scissors in very thin slices. I just can’t recollect whether he was putting these slices in oil, vinegar or what… maybe you can suggest me what to do with them.
    Thanks a lot!

  65. I am loving your website and this sweet chilli sauce recipe! I made a HUGE batch and canned it. I just found myself eating the leftovers in the pan with a spoon! Thank you for sharing your marvelous talent!

  66. Kyli – Thank you! Be careful about canning this recipe, though. It has not been tested for pH value and I can’t guarantee that it’s safe for canning.

      • Yes, because pectin is not a preservative; its only function is to help the sauce gel. Canning, on the other hand, means you won’t have to refrigerate it. But since I’ve never tested the pH level of this recipe (necessary in preventing botulism), I can’t recommend canning this particular recipe.

  67. The one thing I need to know – what was the movie about the hummus-obsessed guy? I need to see it.

  68. Despite having some good Latin and Asian markets in the area, I haven’t been able to find red jalapenos or serranos, only green. Did you choose those peppers for authenticity or convenience? If convenience, then would Thai Bird’s eye chili be more authentic? I’m able to get those.

  69. Dan – Large red peppers (prik chi fa) are just as much a part of Thai cuisine as bird’s eye chilies (I assume that’s what you mean by authenticity). The main reason this type of pepper is used is because it’s not as hot as bird’s eye and gives you more pulp (which gives the sauce body) for the level of heat appropriate for this condiment. The amount of bird’s eye you’ll need to achieve the same amount of pulp will make for a much, much too hot sauce (this sauce isn’t meant to be suer hot). If you don’t mind that, by all means, use bird’s eye chilies. It’s not more authentic, but it’s probably less of a hassle to find. As for green jalaoenos, I don’t like the flavor of green peppers in this sauce.

  70. Mrs. B. – Oh, no. Sorry to hear. Bird’s eye chilies are way hotter than red jalapenos. We’re talking 50000-100000 versus 2500-8000 on the Scoville scale. Don’t throw the sauce away, though. Let it sit in the fridge for a week or so; the heat dissipates over time. Alternatively, you can make another batch without the chilies and mix it with whatever is left from this batch. That should result in a sauce that is not too hot.

  71. Ha, hadn’t heard that about the Zohan movie.

    I use capsaicin cream for my balky knee — maybe I should be using bird’s eye sauce!

  72. Hello,just found your page when i was looking for this sauce recipe,im currently living in Brazil and cant find it anywhere here.
    Thanks for sharing all the nice things here.
    I loving read your page,congrats wonderful job.

  73. We just made some of this, it tastes wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. Each one I’ve made I’ve been so happy with, and your narrative before your recipes are just as wonderful.

  74. Another WONDERFUL Thai recipe – THANK YOU! Just BTW, I used arrowroot instead of corn starch – it gives it a more glistening character, and I don’t THINK it changed the taste…? Again, thank you for all these terrific recipes and tips ☺

  75. Thanks, I’ll be using this again, but might use regular white vinegar rather than Frostbite (Chilli vinegar) next time. Very nice but very hot!

  76. I searched high and low for a good Sweet Chili Sauce recipe which I could make in bulk, using Xanthan Gum as thickener and the best quality ingredients I could find as I recently received a jar of Xanthan Gum as gift and thought it was ideal for this sauce. I found your recipe and the user comments the most useful and was able to adapt the quantities and ingredients and came up with the following. I am very happy with the results, wish I could send you photos, next time I would attemt to get better and maybe more chillies as the ones I used were weak and I like it very spicy. 11 cups Mountain Spring Water,
    8 cups Vinegar (1 ½ Cups Rice vinegar and 6 ½ Cups Grape Vinegar) or use all white vinegar,
    7 ½ Cups White Sugar,
    30 large long Red Chillies,
    Lemon Juice from 2 lemons (optional),
    10-15 cloves Garlic peeled and minced (to taste),
    Finger of Ginger peeled and finely grated (optional),
    7 ½ tsp Salt,
    6-10 tsp Xanthan Gum – thickened, stabilizer.

    Mix the garlic and ginger with the lemon juice and set aside. Half the chillies and place in a food processor with the Rice vinegar until fine – about 5 minutes. Add the lemon and garlic mix and process another minute or 2. In a large casserole heat the water, sugar and Grape Vinegar until the sugar is melted and starts to boil, stirring continuously. Add the processed mix and bring to the boil while stirring and cook on medium for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the Xanthan Gum by sprinkling one teaspoon at a time onto the surface and whisking vigorously by hand or using an electric mixer until the grains are dissolved. The Xanthan Gum will start forming a lovely clear suspension. Continue until the desired thickness is reached. The Xanthum gum will thicken slightly upon standing so don’t let it get too thick. If the consistency seems lumpy, heat again to dissolve the Xanthan Gum more, whisking further. Set aside to cool down. If you are familiar with canning, sterilize some bottles in boiling water, pour the hot mixture into bottles, place the lids on loose until it is cooled down then fasten the lids tightly. Store the bottles in a cool place and use as needed.
    Note: I like it hot and found the chilli variety I used did not give the desired heat. I then added 1 tsp ground Cayenne Pepper and 1 tsp ground Birds Eye Chilli powder. I was concerned it would affect the end product, but it gave just enough added heat to give a lovely end product.

  77. I can only thank you for your guidance. Your Blog is a great read and I look forward to trying some of your other recipes. Please keep educating us. I am from South Africa and we enjoy foods from around the world. Thai food is still new to us. Thanks again.

  78. thanks alot. I ll try it, but I think it s so sweet. I ll try it with a little bit sugar.

  79. Hello from a huge fan of your peanut sauce recipe. I have the chilli sauce one bookmarked to make, too, but didn’t you once have a paid download for a chilli jam recipe? I’m not sure if I’m imagining this, or if it’s just not here anymore. My husband is really keen to try it.

  80. ‘There is no secret ingredient.’ that line from ‘Kung-Fu-Panda’ crossed my mind making this sauce.
    It really tastes like the stuff I used to buy and I didn’t expect that because it’s so simple.
    Well, sometimes there is elegance in simplicity…

    Thanks a lot for this great recipe!!

    Greetings from Germany,

  81. Hi, Leela,

    I was searching for a recipe for sweet Thai chili sauce because my nephew who lives with me goes through a bottle of the commercial stuff in a week, and when I looked at the ingredients, it looked so simple and like it could be homemade very cheaply. Which your recipe proves, BUT
    even though you and several others talk about the vinegar in it, the recipe itself doesn’t specify how much vinegar to use. Or if it does, I just am not seeing it and I even ran a search for it.

    Can you tell me how much vinegar to use for the proportion of other ingredients in this recipe? Thanks.

  82. Anon – Omigosh, thank you so much! I would never have seen this without you. I must have deleted the vinegar by mistake when I was fixing a typo a while back. All fixed now. Thanks again!

  83. It should be noted that when you are mixing the cornstarch and the water- be sure that the water is cold, not hot. hot water will cause the cornstarch mixture to be lumpy, making it very difficult to mix.

    Cold water mixes best with cornstarch

  84. Hi, just found your website, it’s fantastic. I’m in the UK where I can buy simple white vinegar but just wondered if I should be using an Asian white vinegar like a rice vinegar ?

    • Jo – Thank you. In my opinion, simple white vinegar (the type people use to clean windows) is the best and that’s what’s used in Thailand. If you can find white vinegar that is made of rice, you can use that, though I doubt it will markedly improve the sauce or make it more “authentic.” The worst thing to use would be the kind of seasoned rice or brown rice vinegar that is used in Japanese or Korean cuisines.

  85. Sauce is awesome!!! Are you aware of a way to preserve it? I have a bunch of jalapenos about to become fully ripe and would love to make a huge batch and can it……even a jelly of some sort?

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  88. Thanks a lot for this recipe, l make recently sriracha sauce, but more spicy (you know, we are mexican, and love hot sauce), recently my son ask me about to make this thai souce, l check your blog, and l make the recipe this week, thanks a lot again, and thanks for share the recipe.

    Saludos desde Tijuana, Mexico El Profe

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  93. I just made this sauce and love it! I had my food processor out for something else, so I just blended everything in there instead. And I never have normal vinegar on hand, so I used a white wine vinegar and it still tastes great. Thanks for the recipe! I can’t eat xanthan gum which is in the commercially prepared stuff so I was about to have a breakdown if I couldn’t find a way to make it myself.

  94. Can’t wait to try this. Am just starting a fructose-free lifestyle change, but sweet chilli sauce is one of our “staples” that I didn’t want to give up. This recipe has pretty much the same ingredients as on the back of my current bottle so am hopeful for a similar tasting result (albeit with stevia & guar gum). Thanks!

  95. A couple of questions:

    Should the Clearjel be used in place of the corn/potato starch, or in addition to it?
    How much Clearjel should be added?
    If you use the Clearjel, should any of the other ingredient amounts change?

    Thanks, i love your website (and I have a garden full of red jalapenos that i am trying to find something to do with!)!!

    • Clearjel is to be used in place of the cornstarch or potato starch. Also, it can be (quickly) stirred right to the recipe without having to be mixed with water first, because being pre-gelatinized, it won’t clump up upon contact with hot liquid. This means, skip the 2 tablespoons water which the recipe tells you to mix with the cornstarch.

      For this recipe, if I were you, I would start out with 2 teaspoons of Clearjel and see if that achieves the consistency I prefer. If not, add more, one teaspoon at a time. With Clearjel, you can add it to the sauce when it’s still hot and what you see is what you get — it doesn’t thicken up more upon cooking down. Gauging the amount of Clearjel when making a large amount of this recipe is a little trickier. But the same rule applies: add less than you think prudent, check, add more as necessary.

      • Leela, as you can see I still haven’t been able to leave this page :) Another quick question, can I use tapioca starch to thicken the sauce? I’d bought it to make the sticky rice with mango and have loads left.

  96. Hi Leela, I’ve just grown loads of chillis at home and need to se them up. This recipe is perfect, although I think I’ll have enough sauce to sell to the supermarkets looking at how many chillies I have.


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  98. Hi

    I was wondering if you could use chilli powder?? I am having steak for tea tonight and i had a sudden craving for this ha ha :)

  99. I just found a couple of jalapenos in the supermarket that were half red – will be leaving them out to ripen more.

    But (maybe a stupid question) how big are the jalapenos you usually use? Or does it make much of a difference? The two I found are about 3″ long and very plump.

    I’m very excited to make this – like everyone else, I love this stuff, especially with homemade chicken burritos. I’m looking forward to trying some of the other suggestions on what to use it for.

  100. Hi,

    Made this sauce it is very good, will never buy any from the store again. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • No, I don’t. Half a gallon is 8 times this recipe, if that helps. So this recipe times 16 would give you a gallon. You’re going to have to work out the amount of thickener, though. For a large batch, I do not recommend cornstarch.

  102. This is outstanding – I’ve been making this sweet chili sauce every two weeks or so! I couldn’t find red jalapenos and the green ones never ripen, so I’ve been using some mild red chilies that the grocer said were near in taste to jalapenos (don’t know if they’re pimentos? – they’re smaller than jalapenos so I use enough to equal the weight of 3 jalapenos. This works great and the sauce is really red – very pretty.
    Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Thanks for the report, Rosie. Could those be Serrano peppers? I’ve recently made a batch with Scotch Bonnet peppers and it turned out very pretty in color as well — just hotter than usual (but the heat dissipated over time).

      • No, I know they’re not Serranos (I use Serranos a lot for mexican dishes) – they look like short, but plump red jalapenos. They are a little hotter than jalapenos, but not as hot as Serranos or Scotch Bonnet.
        Until I can find, or grow jalapenos, these red peppers work great.
        Pretty and delicious.
        Too bad I live in a rural area where people don’t know or like Thai food. I’ve been giving some out to friends, but they look at me like I’m from another planet :-}
        But that’s OK, more for me!

        • It’s possible they’re Fresno peppers; my store often carries those when they can’t get fresh jallies. If so, I agree they work great — I made this sauce for the first time this past Christmas by using fresnos. It came out wonderfully and went amazing with the lumpia I brought for dinner.

          • I’ll have to Google around a bit and see if I can definitely figure out what these chilies are. They may be Fresnos, but since Food Lion just dumps all their chilies together without labels (except Jalapenos and Serranos) and no one in the produce dept knows anything about chilies, I’ll have to do some searching. I now live in a rural area and there are very few people who know the different kinds of chilies or cook with them.
            But no matter which ones they are, the sweet chili sauce is fantastic when made with them, so I’ll just keep on with these mystery (maybe Fresno) chilies.

          • Yes, you’re right, they’re Fresnos. They have the same Scoville rating as Jalapenos.

            “Bright green, changing to orange and red when fully matured, Fresno chilies have a conical shape – about 2 inches long and 1 inch in diameter at the stem end. Similar to jalapeno peppers, but with thinner walls, they’re great in salsas. Fresnos are available in the summer. the hotter red ones come out in the fall.”

            This site has photos too, not just descriptions, which is the only way I could have identified them.

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  104. I havent tried it yet, but it smells good. Will it be okay if i added green jalapenos?


    • You can. It will taste and smell a little bit “green” (think green bell peppers versus red), but definitely not the end of the world.

  105. Leela,
    How much difference would it make if you didn’t add the salt? My husband loves sweet chili sauce but it has too much sodium for his diet so I would like to try and make it with less or none. Thanks

    • Pauline, the salt definitely makes a difference to me. Then again, I’m the type that can tell the difference between a cake that doesn’t have salt in it and one that does — and we’re talking 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the batter. I’d say, try making it without the salt and see whether it tastes okay to you. I don’t know much about a sodium-free diet, but would potassium iodine be an acceptable salt substitute? It could work here.

      • Thanks for the reply – I will try it with no salt and let you know. I am assuming that I could always add the salt after if it really doesn’t taste very good.

  106. Hi!

    I was looking for a nice sauce to go with shrimp balls and this one looks tasty.
    Does anyone have experience with freezing this sauce (e.g. in a ice tray). I don’t know how it will “survive” to the process? :-)

  107. I live in North QLD Australia,This is in a tropical area.
    I have many chilli plants. They start off green and go red, when mature, but are only about 2″ in length. They aren’t birds eye, but pretty hot.
    I don’t know what a jalapeno chilli is. Different names for things in other country’s, but haven’t seen these in our supermarkets or stores. Are they a large chilli, if so what size?
    I love paprika, could I use this in the recipe to add colour,or would it over power the taste?
    Thanks, Mel.

    • mel – You can, if you’d like. However, this sauce is known for its bright, clean, tart and sweet flavor and that’s why dried chilies aren’t used in it. Paprika which is smoky will alter this bright, clean taste. As for color, I’m not sure it needs any help. When made with red chilies, this sauce is already bright red.

    • Mel, if you go to a site like this:
      you can figure out what the scoville rating is for your peppers and see if that is close to the rating for jalapenos. It will also list all the different names that a pepper/chile might be known as.
      I also can’t get the ripened jalapenos in my area, but use Fresnos instead – the scoville rating is the same.

      • Thanks very much. These are I think Serrano peppers/chilli’s. I thought that maybe 6-8 larger ones minus seeds could be used for your recipe, what do You think? I will give it a go and let You know, and will try it with sugar, then honey. Probably won’t worry about the paprika as I do add it to most red and white meats when cooking any how.
        Keep well, Mel.

        • BTW, I weighed some jalapenos first (according to the size Leela suggested) and then use that when substituting other chiles with the same scoville rating. I work with 2 1/2 ounces per recipe no matter what chiles I use. Of course if you’re using chiles with a different scoville rating, that would change.
          Leela can probably give you better ideas on this. I’ve had success with doing it by weight and scoville rating – I make this stuff all the time (when I can get good chiles) and give it out to friends.
          You’ll love this – the taste is outstanding. I’m so glad Leela posted this recipe.

  108. Do you think it’s possible to hot water process this sauce like a preserve to help maintain its shelf life if I plan to give it as gifts?

      • Firstly for those that want a good Canadian source for Clear Gel, try Golda’s. They sell both in their stores and online.

        Secondly, you can preserve this sauce with no problems. That is what I do. However, when I don’t know the specific PH of a product, I always use my pressure canner. This ensures safe canning. With water canning the PH is essential for safe canning. In this case I would use pressure canning.

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  110. Just made this! Begged and borrowed 3 large chillies from my neighbour and added about 10 padi chillies. The colour and taste are divine. I love the spiciness!
    Thank you so very much.

  111. I just finished this recipe, and made another fermenting the chili and garlic together for about a month. Both came out excellent. The fermented version has more of a raw taste to it, but I suspect it may keep longer and is worth trying, IMO.

  112. My husband and I make this sauce fairly often, we absolutely love it. Our favorite use of it is to slow cook pork and make Banh MI (Asian Pork Sandwich) Absolutely pulls everything together.

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  115. I know that I am late, but I came across your site while searching glass bottles. I have never tried this sauce but it sounded pretty awesome. So I went to get the peppers and garlic as that is what was missing. This sauce was easy to make and the taste is WONDERFUL!! Thanks for sharing!

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  119. Live in England, used corn starch. Amazing result.

    Will never buy it again! Great consistency – didn’t remove the seeds as i like the heat. Made the recipe x4 and came out great!

    Will be checking out your other recipes. Thanks again

    • gaylene – I’ve never used instant Clearjel, but figured it would work just the same as the regular type. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it (as far as I know, you don’t need heat for it to work, but I have no idea whether heat ruins it).

  120. Leela, we sent our son 24 2 oz. Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes recently. He used Thai Sweet Chili sauce for dipping. He is still raving about this combo.

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