Quick and Easy Thai Peanut Sauce

Before I begin, a quick note about an update to a very popular post on my blog. Several of you have asked for a quick visual on how I shape my bread dough into loaves in the comments of my step-by-step whole wheat bread post (the simple technique has changed a little over the years since the original post). I added a quick, 2-minute video to the very end of that bread making post in case you are interested. Because the video wasn’t preplanned, please bear with my little sidekick (and the quirky editing – I had to cut out the part where she threw a tantrum when I wouldn’t give her one of the bread pans).

If you’re the type that often digs into the condiments at a Thai restaurant with a spoon (are you looking at me?), you are going to love, super love, this recipe.

It’s not fancy, it doesn’t call for a million unpronounceable ingredients, but it is simple, fast and totally delicious.

Think of it as the cheater’s way to make a really great Thai peanut sauce. I’ve been whipping this up for weeks now and keeping it in my refrigerator in a mason jar. I pull it out when we feel like our fresh veggies need a little dipping action or when I want a more-than-PB&J-lunch or for a quick dinner (grilled chicken, rice or noodles and drizzled peanut sauce). As the saying goes: the options are endless.

Lately, for lunch, I take my friend, Lesli’s advice (she’s the one who sent me the recipe), and sauté up some cabbage, onions and maybe some chicken sausage with a bunch of other vegetables thrown in, like peppers and broccoli and kale, and drizzle it all with this peanut sauce. Lunch heaven, baby.

Quick and Easy Thai Peanut Sauce

Keep in mind this is a Thai-style version of peanut sauce which can be different in flavor from peanut sauces in Chinese or other cuisines. It’s sweeter (even though I cut the sugar down considerably from the original) and creamier and perfect for, say, a Thai chicken satay dish which usually requires a little peanut sauce for dipping.

Because I tend to skim instead of reading in-depth (it’s a bad habit), the first time I made this, I didn’t cook it at all – I just blended everything up. I’m not sure how I came to the conclusion that the recipe said that (since it clearly did not), but I made the peanut sauce this quick, blender way a good two or three times before glancing back at Lesli’s email and realizing that actually, it calls for the sauce to be simmered. Oops. The only reason I’m telling you this is to emphasize that the sauce is fantastic simmered and thickened (the flavors blend magically), but hey, if you’re like me and choose to just blend everything up and cut the prep time from a whopping five minutes down to a measly two, well, you’ll always be welcome in my house.

5-Minute Thai Peanut Sauce

Yield: Makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce

Add the curry paste according to how flavorful/spicy you want the sauce. Brands differ in heat - I often use the Thai Kitchen brand because I can easily find it in my grocery store and I use the full 4 tablespoons but I don't mind a touch of spiciness.

It's really important to use natural unsweetened peanut butter here. I've tried it using your every day creamy peanut butter (like Skippy or Jif) and the texture and flavor is overly sweet and just weird. You really want that natural peanut flavor to come through.

The recipe says to simmer the ingredients and that definitely deepens the flavor and thickens the sauce but as I mentioned in the post above, several times, I've skipped the stove step and just blended everything up and it's tasty, tasty.


  • 1 (13- or 14-ounce can) coconut milk, light or regular
  • 3-4 tablespoons red curry paste (see note above)
  • 1 cup natural unsweetened creamy peanut butter (see note above)
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often so it doesn't scorch, for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Let the sauce cool slightly. Transfer it to a container or jar, cover, and keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Recipe Source: adapted from a  recipe sent to me by my culinary fiend of a friend, Lesli (originally from SheSimmers)

25 Responses to Easy 5-Minute Thai Peanut Sauce

  1. Amy says:

    Would you be able to use this sauce in some of the recipes you have on your site? Are there any you would recommend?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t have any recipes perfectly suited to this because we mostly use it on salads or sautéed vegetables (cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower). Let me glance through my recipes to see if any pop out at me as good ones to sub this sauce in for.

  2. IFortuna says:

    I am confused. You say JIf or Skippy are too sweet but yet you add sugar or honey. This is a contradiction. Most people have these brands in their pantry. So, I will nix the sweetener or sweeten to taste using Agave or other other sweetener like stevia. I also use Tamari (no wheat). Otherwise looks great. Thanks! : )

  3. Nicole says:

    This Thai peanut sauce is amazing!! I typically reduce the sugar amount but absolutely love the flavour. Great receipe!

  4. Barb Davis says:

    What moderation??

  5. Barb Davis says:

    Is the rice vinegar sweetened?

  6. Candice Berger says:

    Tried this tonight for the first time – it was YUM!! I’m a diabetic, so I skipped the sugar, and used agave instead – worked like a dream.

  7. Ellen says:

    ohhh myyy….I simply don’t have words for the deliciousness of this sauce.
    Thanks for yet another great recipe.

  8. Davy Yee says:

    Mel – My husband and I LOVE your website. Your website is the only one that we continually come back to and love. I am starting to refer to you as Mel in our home and grocery shoppping just like you are our friend! LOL. Quick question – how long does the peanut sauce stay good in the fridge?

  9. Jackie says:

    Is there something that could replace the curry? Not a fan of it at all. But I love Thai sauce!

  10. Lindalee says:

    I used honey instead of sugar – Angels were dancing on my tongue! So easy, so delicious, so versatile!! Your recipes are ALL amazing! Mahalo Nui Loa!!

  11. Cheryl R. says:

    I just made this for lunch. Another name for it should be Awesome Sauce!

  12. Sarah says:

    Simply fabulous. Kids and adults loved this with pasta. We are eager to try it on chicken, veggies, etc.

  13. Peg S says:


    The Thai peanut sauce is delicious. I made it yesterday and my family loved it. My husband, who lives with a bunch of rice lovers, and he is not, mentioned that the peanut sauce made eating rice tolerable. Thanks…

  14. Beth B says:

    Mel – I plan to make this sauce right away and have a question about the sugar in it. I, too, like to reduce the sugar in a recipe. Is the 1/4 c. sugar here the amount you reduced it to or do you add even less? Thanks so much!

  15. Kim in MD says:

    Oooh…I love Thai peanut sauce! The recipe I make requires lots of ingredients, though. I’m so excited to try your simplified version! Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family, Mel!

  16. Renay says:

    Hi Mel, I love your site! Thanks for all the great bread recipes and tutorials, I love bread. I just wanted to share a tip I got from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Ken Haedrich, who is also responsible for my favorite bread recipe, double oat bread. He says the secret for a tall loaf is to put enough tension in the dough so it springs up in the oven and not out. He recommends the jelly roll method: After punching down the dough and giving it a 5-minute rest, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a tapered oblong about 12 inches long and about as wide as your pan (kind of like a guitar pick with the narrow part pointing at you). Don’t flour your surface or the dough will not be sticky enough to get a good seal. Starting at the narrow end, roll the dough up like a jelly roll, keeping tension on it, but not so much you tear the dough. Pinch the seams together and tuck under the ends slightly. Then lay in your pans seam side down, pressing them down slightly with the palm of your hand. Try it, It works!

  17. Marlene says:

    Amazing – wonderful taste – love your salad lunch idea !! Also look forward to grilling out soon and pouring it all over chicken kabobs – fresh peppers – onions and rice!!! Soon I hope ……warmer weather is right around the corner here in Northern Michigan !! Really love your site Mel

  18. Lesli says:

    Great minds think alike: I’ve been making this with less sugar too! So glad you liked it.

  19. So quick and easy! And yummy! Love this one, Mel!

  20. Sheila says:

    I absolutely love how “real” you are! Rushed over to the video and I think it is your best. And I think most of us can identify with “skim” reading and not such good results with recipes. I always make your bread into rolls but this is good to know. Sauce ingredients sounds delicious and the method is so easy. Another exciting recipe to put forth to the family. Thank you for all the hard work behind the scenes to produce such a worthwhile, informative website.

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