The great thing about sweet chili sauce is that it’s very multi-purpose. So it’s surprising that it isn’t at the top of everyone’s grocery lists. We get it; here, the condiment is mainly stuck in the realm of lumpia. But sweet chili sauce isn’t just for dipping. You can use the condiment as a marinade or a stir-fry sauce, among others. (Though it does work magic as a dip for fried stuff.) It works with meat, seafood, or even just toast.
As its name suggests, sweet chili sauce is sweet and spicy; though it also has sourness as one of its major flavor profiles. Most bottled versions in the supermarket lean towards the sweet side, having little to no heat. This version strikes a balance, making the spice more obvious through a mix of sriracha and chili flakes.
How to Make Sweet Chili Sauce
Making sweet chili sauce only takes 10 minutes. And it requires just a couple of ingredients you probably have in your pantry (if you don’t have sriracha, chili flakes, or garlic powder—know that you’ll need them here). There are three parts to this recipe: adding everything to the pot, making a slurry, then boiling the mixture to make the sauce. That’s it.
Start by whisking together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. A slurry is a concentrated starchy liquid made to thicken liquids like soups, sauces, or gravy. It acts almost like a roux in this way. Set this aside.
Next, combine all the ingredients (saving the slurry for last) in a pot. Just a small saucepan will do!
You can use other sweeteners for this recipe, but it might change the taste and texture of your sauce, especially if you opt to use honey or corn syrup. Brown sugar is a good alternative.
We used sriracha for this recipe because it gives a good amount of heat. Plus, it brings a distinct Thai flavor to the sauce. If you don’t have sriracha, you can substitute it with other chili sauces. But depending on the flavor, you’ll likely have to adjust the vinegar and sugar.
Most sweet chili sauce recipes use minced garlic, but this one opts for garlic powder. It gives it a stronger flavor and removes any large chunks. Though, if you’d rather have that, feel free to substitute the powder with 2-3 cloves of garlic.
You can adjust the amount of chili flakes depending on how spicy you want your sauce. The sriracha might be enough for some people; if so, feel free to take out the chili flakes completely.
Add the slurry to the pot, then bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until thickened.
This sauce will yield a light-ish red hue. So if you want a darker color, add a few drops of dark red food coloring.
Once you have the right consistency, transfer it to a bottle or a jar (or whatever container you want). Let it cool before storing it in the fridge; you can keep it for up to a week. Alternatively, you can use or serve it directly after cooling.