thai peanut sauce

$1.75 recipe / $0.22 serving

I’ve been really digging Asian food lately. As I was deciding on my main entree and side dish for this week, I decided to give Thai peanut sauce a shot. I had never made it before so I looked at a good 20 recipes. Some recipes were simple and sweet with only about 4 ingredients, others were long and complex with 10-15 ingredients. I do like to keep things simple but as it turns out, I had a lot of those ingredients anyway. So, why not use them, right? Right. Well, I know a lot of you may not have all of these ingredients on hand so I will list which ingredients are optional or that you could probably get away with not using and still have a decent sauce. Here is the catch: the fewer ingredients you choose to use, the flatter and less complex your sauce will be. If you can, use all of them because this sauce turned out absolutely AMAZING (I wanted to drink it with a straw). Plus it’s versatile. I used it as a salad dressing, pasta sauce and a flavoring for rice pilaf.

Thai Peanut Sauce

Thai Peanut Sauce

5.0 from 4 reviews
thai peanut sauce
Prep time
Total time
Total Cost: $1.75
Cost Per Serving: $0.22
Serves: 8 (1/4 cup ea.)
  • ¾ cup natural style peanut butter $0.82
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (optional) $0.16
  • juice from ½ a lime $0.17
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled, grated (optional) $0.24
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.06
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce (rooster hot sauce) $0.05
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.03
  • ½ tsp sesame oil (optional) $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03
  • ¼ bunch cilantro $0.17
  • ¼ – ½ cup water $0.00
  1. Make sure your natural style peanut butter is thoroughly mixed before measuring (you don’t want to get all oil or all solids). In a blender or food processor combine all of the ingredients except the sriracha sauce. Begin with only ¼ cup of water and add more until you get the consistency you want (I used ½ cup total). Add the sriracha sauce a little at a time (blending between) until it is to your desired heat (I used about ½ tsp).
  2. Enjoy the peanut sauce on salads, pasta or as a dipping sauce!


NOTE: If you do not have sriracha sauce, you can use red pepper flakes. Again, begin with a small amount and add more until it is as hot as you’d like. Remember, when using dried spices, the sauce will get spicier as it refrigerates and the flakes rehydrate.

My recipe calls for 1/4 cup of coconut milk which is only about 1/8th of a can. If you are looking for something to do with the rest of it (because no one likes to throw stuff away, especially delicious coconut milk), you can make some Savory Coconut Rice with the remainder. It is also really tasty when poured over oatmeal with fruit and nuts. If you make smoothies, coconut milk will add a lot of creaminess and a tropical flavor!

When buying fresh ginger, don’t be shy about breaking off a small nub from the large roots they have at the grocery store. It is perfectly acceptable. I never use a lot of ginger so I always just break off an inch or two so that I’m not paying for more than I need. Ginger is easily peeled with a regular vegetable peeler and then you can grate it using the smallest side of a cheese grater.


  1. kyrsti says:

    Whats the shelf life for this?

  2. Finally, I have a hint I can share!

    You can load up on fresh ginger root when you see it for a good price and FREEZE it!! Yes, you can!!

    I just stick it in a zip-top bag and store it in my freezer, and when I’m ready, I run it across my microplane grater into whatever I’m making. It tastes just as fresh as when you bought it, and I’m pretty sure it keeps forever this way.

    Nothing beats the taste of fresh ginger in a sauce like this — or in your Sesame Ginger Dressing, which I would eat like pudding if my family wasn’t watching. ;-)

  3. Tonya C. says:

    WOW! I’ve tried many of your recipes and they’ve all been wonderful, so I shouldn’t be so surprised at how good this sauce is, but WOW! This stuff is dangerous. Mainly because I nearly sliced my tongue licking the blades of my food processor. (Don’t try this at home, kids.) All kidding aside, thank you Beth for sharing not only this but all your wonderful recipes. You’ve renewed my love of cooking!

  4. TinaPete says:

    I love you for saying that about ginger. I almost always break up the larger piece of ginger in the store but feel guilty about it; now I won’t! Thank you.

  5. How much lime juice? 1/2 of a lime?

  6. Needed to add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 3 more cloves of garlic and 2 more tbsp of soy sauce and this recipe is delicious! Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Heather Elissa says:

    What are some substitutes for coconut milk?

    • I really can’t think of anything that would be an appropriate substitute, unfortunately… The coconut milk is one of the major flavor elements here and what gives it that Thai flavor.

  8. Nicole says:

    Love it! I added a little more brown sugar though because I like sweet over spicy!

  9. Didn’t have any ginger or soy sauce on hand, but I still think it came out pretty delicious.

    Coconut milk, why have I not tried you sooner? So creamy…

  10. Steph – I think the sauce would taste quite a bit more sweet and won’t have as strong of a peanut flavor… that being said, it might still be tasty :) I say give it a shot!

  11. Beth,
    How well do you think this will work with regular ol’ Jif? I normally buy natural pb but am visiting my boyfriend right now and want to buy the fewest ingredients possible!

  12. I have made peanut sauce before, and my kids liked it decently. I made this recipe tonight, and was shocked,.. SHOCKED when my 3 year old devoured his dinner. I served it on whole wheat pasta and mixed in some steamed broccoli. Now, these are things that he will eat, albeit somewhat reluctantly…. Tonight, he asked for seconds and polished off every last bit. I am sold.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This looks so simple and tasty, I can’t wait to try it!

    Tip: Easiest way to grate ginger is to scrape with a spoon. That way you can get into all the crevices easily

  14. sarah m. says:

    YUM! So delicious and so simple. Your tip to use the remainder of the coconut milk for rice was spot on – a perfect combo. Thanks!

  15. Anonymous says:

    This was so good and so simple! Thanks for posting!!
    Found you on Pinterest. :)

  16. Anonymous says:

    what about shredded coconut?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I just made this sauce this weekend….WHOA! I pulled out all of the ingredients you have listed here and started with your proportions but then added a bit more of certain things here and there. Also, I used honey instead of brown sugar. YUM! It’s AMAZING!!! I’ve been putting it on EVERYTHING but the tastiest thing I’ve made was thai peanut coleslaw… I just bought bagged coleslaw mix and used the sauce instead of mayo. So Delicious!

  18. Anonymous says:

    You can try ‘coconut cream powder’. It’s a dry version of coconut milk (mix with water, or just put straight into your sauce). Therefore, you won’t have to waste that can of coconut milk or open a whole can just to make this =)

  19. I am reserving a bit of coconut milk from today’s meal just for this recipe. I’ve made a variety of peanut sauces, and I must say, none of them have failed–surely because my husband and I are peanut fiends. But I love to try your recipes, as they are always right up my alley!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I use honey instead of brown sugar
    add a pinch of red chilli flakes

  21. Kitty says:

    I made this last night, and while it was very peanuty, it was lacking some flavor. I forgot to add the 1 tsp of hot sauce while cooking, but afterwards my husband and I had to add a lot of hot sauce onto our noodles to get that kick. I even added extra coconut milk to make it creamier too. Not sure what went wrong, but next time I may add some fish sauce and more(!) hot sauce to it as well.

  22. You have never, ever failed me. This was delicious!!! I cannot wait to consume this all week long for lunch :)

  23. Anonymous says:

    This does freeze great! I got it passed on to me in a freezer meal swap and my family all loved it. We had it hot over noodles and then ate the leftovers as a cold pasta salad.

  24. I just made a batch of this, and one dunked finger convinced me that it is the loveliest peanut sauce I have tasted outside Asia! I did add a wee bit of fish sauce though, and a wee bit more coconut milk than required, but YUM> :-)

  25. This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it!

    On a side note, if you don’t want to buy just a small chunk of ginger root, just keep the unused portion wrapped in saran wrap in the freezer. It makes it much easier to grate and lasts for a long time. I go through a ton with my love of asian dishes. :)

  26. I would not keep it longer than 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Although I have not tried to freeze it, I bet it would work great!

  27. Vincent says:

    How long will this keep?

  28. I just made this- very interesting and very good!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I used to be a total chicken with fish sauce too. I hate the smell of it but it really does add a wonderful flavour. I have to admit that I usually only use half the amount called for though.

  30. i know… i know… let me tell you a secret: i have a bottle of fish sauce in my cabinet that i contemplated using in this recipe (a lot of recipes that i saw had fish sauce) BUT i have never used it and i’m a little bit intimidated by it… so i left it out. i need to just dive in and use it in something so i can get acquainted the flavor!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised there’s no fish sauce there :)

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