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Sweet and Spicy Garlic Chili Sauce

The first time I bought garlic chili sauce for a recipe I fell in love with it. Sweet, salty, sour, and spicy – all in perfect harmony. However, like most store bought condiments, the delicious flavor comes with a price. High fructose corn syrup or lots of white sugar, preservatives, thickeners, artificial flavors. Thankfully it is unbelievably easy to make at home. If you are fond of Asian food like me, your pantry is probably already stocked with these staples, making it inexpensive as well. But if not, you can find them for the best price at and Asian grocery store.

Thai chili peppers from my container garden.

A word on peppers. Last year, I grew Thai chili peppers in my garden. I was excited, but honestly a little scared of them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them because they rate high on the Scoville scale (much hotter than jalepenos). I ended up freezing a bunch of them, and finally pulled them out to use in this recipe. I’m so very glad I did! Hot peppers are extremely easy to grow in containers, and they are prolific producers. One plant (about $3 from a nursery) would give you enough for about a dozen batches of this sauce over the growing season. However, if you can’t find this variety fresh, you can use dried Thai chilies from your local Asian grocery. You could substitute your favorite hot pepper. Serrano is a good option for those who like a milder heat, although even with the Thai chilies this sauce is more sweet than hot.

Note: Always protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves when cutting hot peppers! If you do get burned by them, soak them in diluted rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to stop the burning. Sounds crazy but (unfortunately) I know from experience that it works.

Here are a few recipes where you can use this recipe:

Sweet and Spicy Garlic Chili Sauce


Kim @ onceamonthmeals.com

Fish sauce and rice vinegar are Asian cooking staples.


  • .5 cup rice vinegar
  • .5 cup honey
  • .5 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • .5 tablespoons Thai chili peppers (up to 1 tablespoon if you like it really spicy), minced


Stir together all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10-15 minutes or until reduced by half and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool to serve.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until reduced by half. The vinegar will give off a pretty pungent smell as it cooks off.

Freezing Directions:

Store sauce in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Store in freezer bags or other air tight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Servings: 1/2 cup of sauce


**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann

6 Responses to “Sweet and Spicy Garlic Chili Sauce”

  1. mommylisa says:

    A twitter friend grew GHOST peppers. I think I should get me a pot of thai chillis….hmmmm.

  2. Jami says:

    I don’t see any of the garlic that is in the title. How much should there be?

  3. Hollie says:

    Could you suggest something to substitute the Thai chili? Would a Shiracha sauce work?

    • kim says:

      You can use any hot chili pepper. On the milder end would be serrano or jalepeno. If you want to go hot you could choose poblano or habenero. However, you’ll get the most authentic Asian flavor with the Thai chilies. The others might give it more of a Spanish/Mexican flavor.

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