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thai peanut sauce recipe in a bowl sprinkled with cilantro, dried chili, and cucumbers on the side
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Thai Peanut Sauce

This easy recipe for Thai Peanut Sauce has fabulous authentic flavor thanks to a jar of red curry paste! This is the BEST recipe I have ever tried. Peanut butter and coconut milk combined with lime juice, garlic, vinegar, and subtle Thai spices (from the curry paste) come together to make the most amazing dipping sauce. Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce can be made as an appetizer, or served as a main dish with this Thai Cucumber Salad!
Course Sauce
Cuisine Eastern European
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 215kcal
Author Karen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter*
  • 1 (13-oz) can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 clove garlic smashed and minced
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/2 cup water optional

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients: 3/4 cup peanut butter*, 1 can coconut milk, 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste,** 1/4 cup sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, the zest of 1 lime plus all the juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. If you would like a thinner sauce (for drizzling consistency) add up to 1/2 cup water. (I left the water out entirely, and you can see from the photos that the consistency is thicker, the better to dip into.)
  • Whisk it all together over medium heat, breaking up the peanut butter. 
  • Once the mixture reaches a low boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer lightly for 3-4 minutes, until thickened some. Remove from heat and let cool. Peanut sauce is traditionally served at room temperature.
  • Serve with Chicken Satay and this Thai Cucumber Salad! Or see post for more ideas for how to use this sauce!
  • Store leftover sauce in the fridge. It will keep for up to two weeks. The leftover sauce with solidify in the fridge; gently heat on low (or microwave it) and add small amounts of water to reach the consistency you want. 

Notes

*Authentic Thai peanut sauce is made with ground up roasted peanuts. Use natural peanut butter (the kind with no sugar, where the oil separates) if you want to get this authentic texture (the result won't be as smooth). Instead of adding 1/4 sugar, increase it to 1/2 cup sugar, or even up to 3/4 cup sugar. Taste it to see what you like.
**You can see in the photo above that I used curry paste from the brand "Thai Kitchen", which is the most common red curry paste found in US stores, at least in California where I am. Leela recommends this Thai Red Curry Paste from a brand called Maesri. I haven't tried it (couldn't find it), but reviews say it is a little more spicy, so if you use Maesri, cut out the red pepper flakes called for in the recipe, and add to taste if desired.
This recipe is adapted from Leela Punyaratabandhu's Thai peanut sauce, found on her website She Simmers. Leela also has several Thai cookbooks that I'm totally interested in buying! If you are interested in authentic Thai cooking, definitely check out her work!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 444mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 911IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg