There may be 1000 different ways to make peanut sauce, but this is the first and, frankly, the best version I’ve ever made. I use to make this mainly as a dipping sauce for cold spring rolls and grilled chicken satays, but over the years I have used it in both obvious and unconventional ways. The perfect Thai peanut sauce is both creamy and rich, exalted by the addition of lime and rounded out by the incomparable umami of  the fish sauce. The ingredients are easy enough to find in most major grocery stores, so don’t be intimidated by the curry paste or the fish sauce.

Makes 4 cups

2 cans of coconut milk (900ml)

3 tbsp Thai red curry paste

1 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsp fish sauce

Optional: 1-2 tbsp garlic chili or sriracha

  • Pour one can of coconut milk into a saucepan over medium and whisk in curry paste.  Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 min.

  • Place the roasted peanuts into a food processor and pulse until you have finely ground nuts.

  • Add the second can of coconut milk along with the peanuts and bring back to a simmer, cooking for another 15 min and stirring occasionally.  Make sure the peanuts do not stick to the bottom of the pot.

  • Whisk in brown sugar, lime juice and fish sauce and cook for another 2 min.  Remove from heat to cool.

    Tip: For a spicier peanut sauce, add 1 – 2 tbsp chili-garlic or Sriracha along with the lime juice and fish sauce.

5 ways to use Thai peanut sauce

No matter how you choose to use it, the final dish always benefits from a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a scattering of freshly chopped cilantro or basil.

  1. Toss peanut sauce with cooked noodles (rice, spaghetti, udon, soba) and serve hot or cold with any variety of protein and vegetables.

  2. Brush the sauce over grilled meats, like chicken, pork or beef.  Add the peanut sauce close to the end of the cooking time.

  3. Spread on to sandwiches or wraps, or use on a pizza crust as the base for a Thai-inspired pizza.

  4. Mix a couple of tablespoons into pureed soups, like roasted squash, cauliflower or sweet potato.

  5. Drizzle over power bowls or grain salads.

Download a printable version of this recipe here.