Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (2024)

Home All Recipes Thai Thai Peanut Sauce

By Jess Smith


Published Feb 05, 2016Updated Jun 14, 2023

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This easy 5-ingredient Thai peanut sauce is rich, creamy, has a hint of curry spice, and takes just 10 minutes to make. Make this recipe ahead, and use it on everything from chicken skewers, to fragrant noodle dishes, or enjoy as a dipping sauce. There’s nothing this sauce can’t do!

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (2)

If you haven’t tried making Thai peanut sauce, prepare to become obsessed. Not only does this popular sauce hit just about all of the flavor notes (salty, sweet, umami, spicy), but it’s incredibly creamy. This is probably a good place to mention that this recipe for Thai peanut sauce is a “classic Thai peanut sauce with coconut milk”. If you’re looking for a recipe without coconut milk, check out this peanut dipping sauce.

Now, back to the sauce! Making this sauce with ultra fragrant Massaman curry paste gives this classic peanut sauce the most delicate spice flavors that taste amazing with the creaminess of that rich, thick coconut milk. All you need to do is combine the ingredients in a pan, heat on the stove for a few minutes, and you will have the most delicious tasting sauce.

When you make a Thai peanut sauce, you open a world of meal possibilities. Use it for satay on chicken or vegetable skewers, dunk your spring rolls in it, try it with Pad Thai or other noodle dishes, and more. It’s also a super easy dipping sauce to whip up if you only have 10 minutes to get something on the table. Oh, and the creamy, nutty flavor is kid friendly too. Drizzle it over a salad and watch those veggies disappear!

What is Thai Peanut Sauce?

Thai Peanut Sauce, also sometimes called satay sauce, is a nutty, salty, spice-filled sauce with just a hint of sweetness and umami flavor. There are a few different versions of this sauce, but they all start with a base of peanut butter, and then combine ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and a curry paste to achieve a unique taste. Classic Thai Peanut Sauce, like this version, also includes coconut milk.

Peanut sauces are used in many global cuisines including in the foods of Indonesia, China, Malaysia, and, of course, Thailand.

How to Make It

  1. Combine the ingredients. Heat the coconut milk and curry paste over low-medium heat. Whisk constantly to combine, then add peanut butter, brown sugar and fish sauce.
  2. Thicken the sauce. Simmer for about 4 minutes, while continuing to whisk.
  3. Adjust for taste. Adjust with extra sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Enjoy while warm.
Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (3)


  • Unsweetened Coconut Milk – For a thick, velvety texture use regular unsweetened coconut milk, rather than “light” coconut milk. There’s just no substitute for the slightly sweet, and super creamy taste of regular coconut milk.
  • Massaman Curry Paste – A mild spice that works well with the peanut flavor, without overwhelming it. Most Asian markets will have Massaman curry paste on the shelves, but you can also purchase it online. Red curry paste is a good substitute, but it will be a tad spicier.
  • Peanut Butter – Creamy or chunky peanut butter can be used to make this Thai peanut sauce. You can also use homemade peanut butter, conventional, or natural. Store-bought conventional brands tend to have added salt and sugar, so you may need to adjust the taste with extra fish sauce for balance.
  • Brown Sugar – Dark or light brown sugar is our sweetener in this recipe, and its hint of molasses gives the sauce a touch of warmth.
  • Fish Sauce – Fish sauce adds an irresistible umami flavor to the dipping sauce. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free tamari. Soy sauce works too.
Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (4)

How to store

Thai peanut sauce with coconut milk can be made up to 3 weeks in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Mason jars, salad dressing bottles, and condiment jars work well. Reheat the sauce slowly over a low heat before serving. The sauce will freeze for 3 to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature, then carefully reheat on the stove.


  • To prevent the sauce from separating while it’s heating, keep the stove at a low heat to prevent boiling. A nice, slow simmer is the way to go.
  • Using unsweetened natural peanut butter makes adjusting the sweet and salty flavors easier.
  • Room temperature peanut butter quickly melts into the other ingredients for a super smooth sauce.


  • Make it spicy – Adding red pepper flakes, chili garlic sauce, or sriracha will give this sauce a little kick of heat.
  • Use a natural sweetener – While brown sugar seems to yield the best results, you can also use maple syrup or honey to sweeten this delicious sauce.
  • Go peanut-free – To accommodate peanut allergies, substitute almond butter for peanut butter.


Can I make this without coconut milk?

Yes! But you’ll want to change the ingredients around a bit. Use my recipe for peanut sauce without coconut milk.

What do you use peanut sauce for?

If you’re entertaining, use peanut sauce as a dip for a veggie platter, with fresh spring rolls, or as a quick, flavor-packed salad dressing. Weeknight meals like pad Thai, soba or udon noodles are transformed when tossed with this creamy peanut sauce. Use this recipe to marinate chicken, pork or tofu, then serve over rice.

Is Thai peanut sauce vegan?

Make vegan Thai peanut sauce by substituting soy sauce or tamari for the fish sauce. Using gluten-free tamari makes this Thai peanut sauce vegan and gluten-free.

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (5)

Recipes to Serve with Peanut Sauce

  • Thai Chicken Satay
  • Crispy Baked Spring Rolls
  • Pad Thai
  • Miso Noodles
  • Crispy Tofu

Pin this now to save it for later

Pin It Now

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (6)

4.17 from 18 votes

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe

This easy 5-ingredient Thai peanut sauce is rich, creamy, has a hint of curry spice, and takes just 10 minutes to make. Make this recipe ahead, and use it on everything from chicken skewers, to fragrant noodle dishes, or enjoy as a dipping sauce. There’s nothing this sauce can’t do!

Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and serve it tossed with noodles or as a dipping sauce for satay or other meats.

Makes approximately 1.5 cups

Prep: 5 minutes mins

Cook: 10 minutes mins

Total: 15 minutes mins

Servings: 8

Save RecipePin RecipeCommentPrint Recipe


  • Whisk

  • Saucepan


  • 1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (regular, not "light")
  • 5 tablespoons massaman curry paste (substitute red curry paste)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (it's great with creamy or chunky versions)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, dark or light
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (substitute soy sauce or gluten-free tamari)


  • Combine coconut milk and curry paste in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, whisking constantly as it begins to warm up.

  • When the mixture begins to simmer, whisk in peanut butter, brown sugar and fish sauce (or soy sauce / tamari).

  • Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly and has a smooth consistency, about4 minutes. (Note:If the sauce starts to boil or simmer vigourously, reduce the heat. Cooking the sauce over high heat can cause it to separate.)

  • Taste the sauce and adjust with extra sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Serve warm.

  • Peanut sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Reheat it slightly before serving.


Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 283mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1477IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef

Cost: $3.00

Calories: 182

Keyword: dipping sauce, DIY Thai, easy Thai recipe, gluten free, peanut, peanut dipping sauce, Thai sauce

Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

Categorized as:
All Recipes, Sauces and Dressings, Thai

About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

Read More About Me

Rice Noodle Salad

Thai Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (2024)


What is Thai peanut sauce made of? ›

Mix together peanut butter, coconut milk, water, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, hot sauce, ginger, and garlic in a medium serving bowl until well combined. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

What is the difference between satay sauce and peanut sauce? ›

Although commonly associated with Thai cuisine, peanut sauce actually originated in Indonesia (source). What Americans know as peanut sauce is more commonly referred to as satay sauce (or bumbu kacang) in Indonesia, because it's most often served with the popular Indonesian dish, satay (skewered, grilled meats).

What goes with peanut sauce? ›

Here are some ways you can use this creamy sauce that go beyond your standard noodle dishes or salads.
  • Dip your veggies. ...
  • Dress up some tacos or lettuce wraps. ...
  • Toss with chicken wings or “cauliflower wings” ...
  • Craft a unique and flavorful chicken burger. ...
  • Use as a base for soup or stew.
Dec 1, 2022

How can I thicken my peanut sauce? ›

How to thicken peanut sauce. If you accidentally add too much water to your peanut sauce, simply whisk in small amounts of peanut butter to adjust the consistency, You may also need to add other ingredients to maintain the flavor balance. Peanut butter powder also works in place of peanut butter to make this adjustment ...

Do you have to refrigerate Thai peanut sauce? ›

Simply keep it in a cool, dark place. Generally, an unopened bottle of peanut sauce will last about a year if it's stored correctly. While it's a good idea to keep the “use by” date in mind, it's usually just fine for a few months after that date. Once the bottle is opened, you'll need to keep it in the refrigerator.

Do they eat peanut sauce in Thailand? ›

It's so good that you can put it on anything you like, but FYI, in Thailand, this peanut sauce is only used on satays. No, Thai people do not put peanut sauce on everything despite what you might have been led to believe!

Why is peanut sauce so good? ›

Peanut sauce reached its sophistication in Indonesia, with the delicate balance of taste acquired from various ingredients according to each recipe of peanut sauce; fried peanuts, gula jawa (palm sugar), garlic, shallot, ginger, tamarind juice, lemon juice, lemongrass, salt, chilli, pepper, sweet soy sauce, ground ...

What to use Thai peanut sauce for? ›

Ways I love to use this sauce:
  1. Noodles.
  2. Rice Bowls.
  3. Grilled Chicken.
  4. Sauteed Tofu.
  5. Salad Dressing.
  6. Dipping Sauce.

What does Thai peanut sauce taste like? ›

It's salty, sweet, acidic and bold — a sauce like no other. For the uninitiated, Asian peanut sauce is a puree of peanuts, soy sauce, ginger, sesame, spices and often garlic, lemongrass and lime.

Does peanut sauce taste like peanut butter? ›

It has an amazing creamy texture, with a nutty, bright, and spicy flavor from peanut butter, lime, and sriracha.

How healthy is peanut sauce? ›

While most peanut sauces do contain nutrient-packed ingredients, they're also high in calories and fat, making them healthy choices -- but only in moderation. There are certainly more nutritious and lower-calorie alternatives to peanut sauce, but if you stick to small servings, the sauce won't harm any diet plans.

What is peanut sauce called? ›

Satay sauce, also known as Peanut Sauce, Bumbu Kacang or Sambal Kacang is an Indonesian sauce made from ground roasted or fried peanuts, widely used in cuisines worldwide.

What is hoisin sauce made of? ›

Ingredients. The key ingredient of hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste. Some hoisin sauce ingredients include starches such as sweet potato, wheat and rice, and water, sugar, soybeans, sesame seeds, white distilled vinegar, salt, garlic, red chili peppers, and sometimes preservatives or coloring agents.

Why is my peanut sauce not smooth? ›

If the oil is separating from the sauce a bit (this can happen from the oil in the coconut milk and the peanut butter, but it's easy to fix!), add water a few drops at a time and whisk until it comes smoothly back together.

What if I add too much soy sauce to peanut sauce? ›

Too salty? You probably added too much soy sauce. Counteract this by adding more peanut butter, sugar, or water.

Is peanut butter and peanut sauce the same thing? ›

Several different recipes for making peanut sauces exist, resulting in a variety of flavours, textures and consistency. A typical recipe usually contains ground roasted peanuts or peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), coconut milk, soy sauce, tamarind, galangal, garlic, and spices (such as coriander seed or cumin).


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5498

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.