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Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe

I don’t remember when I first tasted Thai peanut sauce, but I know for sure that I have been obsessed with it since childhood.

thai peanut sauce with gado gado salad

Seriously, Thai peanut sauce is a top contender for my desert island food. I mean, what better to have on your desert island than a sauce that could make sea kelp or even sand taste delicious?

It’s salty, sweet, savory, and a little (or a lot, up to you. I like a lot!) spicy. Nutty peanut butter, simmered with creamy coconut milk, a touch of brown sugar, a splash of lime, a little fish sauce, and a dollop of a complex Thai curry paste.

This is a dipping sauce for satay or spring rolls, a dressing for a cold noodle salad, or a sauce to put over rice or anything else you fancy. I could seriously eat it on just about anything. Or on nothing at all, just straight from the pot with a spoon (I actually do this. A lot.)

spooning thai peanut sauce onto gado gado salad

How do you make an authentic Thai peanut sauce?

A while back, I asked my Thai friend Tew, to teach me how to make a really good Thai peanut sauce at home. Her recipe was amazing, but it was a bit too fussy for me to make as a regular thing.

First off, it required several specialty ingredients that I had to go to various special markets to find. Second, it required a somewhat tedious process of soaking tamarind pulp, removing the seeds, and pushing it through a fine-meshed sieve to strain it.

The second problem can be solved by finding tamarind paste (which is different from tamarind concentrate), but, again, I had to go to yet another special market to get this.

thai peanut sauce ingredients including coconut milk, fish sauce, curry paste, brown sugar, and limes

And so, because I am lazy, I modified Tew’s peanut sauce recipe. My recipe substitutes lime juice for tamarind. I also substitute brown sugar for palm sugar.

I also use a store-bought, no-sugar-added creamy peanut butter (It’s funny to note that I left this key ingredient out of the above ingredients picture!)

What kind of curry paste do you use?

Kang kua curry paste (pictured above) is what gives the sauce the distinctive flavor I love. I have to buy it either at a Thai market or online, but it is worth it. If this is too much trouble for you, you could substitute another curry paste, like a basic Thai red curry paste.

thai peanut sauce mixture of coconut milk, brown sugar, and curry paste

While it isn’t totally authentic, my Thai peanut sauce recipe is still delicious. With my modifications, it takes only a few minutes to make.

What do you put Thai peanut sauce on?

Enjoy it on Thai Satay, beef satay, or marinated grilled tofu, or as you see it here, on a gado gado style salad of steamed and raw vegetables and hard-cooked egg. I can also assure you that it is delicious eaten straight from the pot with a spoon.

thai peanut sauce on platter with gado gado salad
Yield: 2 cups

Thai Peanut Sauce

spooning thai peanut sauce onto gado gado salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 (16-ounce) can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kang kua curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, curry paste, and fish sauce and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week and warm before serving.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 190Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 532mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 6gProtein 3g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.


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By on June 26th, 2017

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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9 thoughts on “Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe”

  1. I have subbed soy sauce with good results. My Thai friend says just sub salt. You could also try Braggs aminos or coconut aminos if you like those.

  2. Welcome to Yum Goggle! We are following you on FB and if you are on other social media, please follow us so we may follow you back and tag you when we promote your posts – although upon approval it is always tweeted with a photo and pinned. Kelli at YG!

    • I don’t know why peanut sauce would be bright yellow. I have never seen that. Maybe the ones you are used to have turmeric or curry powder added?


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