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Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili and garlic go together perfectly to enhance all kinds of dishes – and a good homemade chili garlic sauce recipe is an absolute must-have.

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Chili garlic sauce recipe

Garlic and chili are one of cooking’s greatest and most iconic couples. They go together perfectly to enhance all kinds of dishes- and a good homemade chili garlic sauce recipe is an absolute must-have.

It is particularly popular in Asian food recipes- especially Chinese and Vietnamese food. However, there are no rules about what you can and cannot spice up with this winning combination.

When you have a good garlic chili sauce on standby, every meal becomes an adventure.

Rice and meat dishes, noodles, stir fry dishes, fried food, and just about anything else can benefit from a hit of chili and garlic.

Luckily- it is exceptionally easy to make and doesn’t require many ingredients. In fact- the whole thing only takes about half an hour to make!

Here is my favorite recipe for chili garlic sauce you can whip up at home in no time.

The Benefits of Making your Own Chili Garlic Sauce

You can buy all kinds of garlic chili sauce- but finding one that perfectly suits your tastes can be tricky. When you make your own, you don’t have that problem!

If you prefer a very spicy chili garlic sauce, you can up the number of chili peppers. A big fan of garlic? Chuck in an extra clove!

Your homemade chili sauce with garlic can taste however you want it to taste.

I personally love chili garlic sauce with a good bit of heat and an Asian flavor profile, but you can also go for a smoky taste or something with a bit of zing.

Another reason to make your chili garlic sauce yourself is to control what goes into it from a health perspective.

Most shop-bought sauces have additives, artificial coloring, and preservatives that can be bad for the body.

Making it yourself removes most of the bad stuff- leaving a fresh, delicious, and healthy chili garlic sauce you can enjoy guilt-free.

Dried chili pepper on table

Fast and Easy Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce Recipe: Ingredients and Step-by-Step Instructions

Here it is- my homemade chili garlic sauce. It is a basic starting point for a great base, but you can take it any way you want.

Once you have made it a couple of times, you will get to know what suits you best and works with the dishes you like to cook.

The only equipment you need is a food processor and a heat-proof bowl. It means no fuss, minimal mess, and a super speedy prep time.

Other than the peppers themselves, there is very little prep involved- and zero cooking time required!

Remember- this is a guide to start from, and the possibilities are endless for how you can edit the recipe to suit your taste buds.

I have added a few alternative ingredients to consider if you want to mix things up and try a few different variations. Really, you can experiment with anything that appeals to you.

A Few Notes Before You Start

When making any kind of chili sauce, it is important to remember skin and eye safety. We are working with chili peppers here, and depending on what ones you use, they can seriously sting!

I recommend wearing gloves whenever you handle a hot chili pepper- and possibly protective eyewear if it is an especially spicy specimen.

Furthermore- beware of the fumes! When you handle the peppers, avoid breathing heavily through your nose, as they can irritate your sinuses.

This recipe calls for dried peppers, but you can use fresh peppers if that is your preference. If so, choose your peppers wisely- and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

To give an example- sriracha peppers are quite strong, so you may need to use a little extra sugar and don’t need as much fish sauce.

Sambal Oelek peppers are also a great choice, but they are quite sweet- so you can reduce the sugar- and could add a splash of vinegar to balance the flavor.

Finding the perfect balance could require some trial and error- but the payoff is more than worth it when you master your dream chili garlic sauce.

It took me a few tries to find the combination that works for me- and I hope it works for you too.

You will need a food processor or blender to make this sauce- as well as an air-tight container to store it in afterward. A glass jar with a tight lid is one option- or you can buy a hot sauce bottle cheaply online.

Brown sugar in bowl

Possible Ingredient Substitutions

You can add a splash of chili oil if you want to switch up the texture of your sauce. It also adds a little extra heat. Other possible oil additions are avocado oil and sesame oil.

If you want a Vietnamese chili garlic sauce (one of my favorites), add some lime juice and substitute the dried peppers for some fresh Thai chiles.

In fact, you can swap in any chili pepper you want. If you do, use half a cup of steamed fresh peppers for this recipe.

Sometimes, I mix in toasted sesame seeds for a bit of bite and an alternative flavor. Another wildcard that can take your sauce to a new level is star anise (Chinese food fans should consider this option).

Two other recipes that are loved by many are our red lobster pina colada sauce, and seafood boil sauce recipe.

Boiling water on stove


When it is this easy to make chili garlic sauce, there is no reason not to!

Having the freedom to edit the ingredients to make the perfect condiment for your taste preferences is a winner with chili garlic sauce- which is why I never go shop-bought anymore.

Master your homemade chili garlic sauce recipe, and you will never eat a boring dish again! Elevate your Asian recipes, spice up your fried foods, and add a zingy kick to all kinds of meats.

Fish sauce on cutting board
Yield: 12 tablespoons

Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili and garlic go together perfectly to enhance all kinds of dishes, and a good homemade chili garlic sauce recipe is an absolute must-have.

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 15 dried whole chili peppers
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced (whole cloves if you want to save time)
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar


  1. If you are using dried chiles, you need to soak them before you start preparing the chili garlic sauce. Put the whole chilis in a bowl (heat-proof bowl), and then pour in boiling water. They need to be fully submerged, so pour enough water to cover them with around an inch to spare, and pop a plate on top to keep them in there. Soak the chilis in the water bath for half an hour before straining through a colander. Press each pepper with the back of a spoon (I think a wooden spoon works best) to squeeze out any remaining water. Leave for a couple more minutes on some kitchen towel paper to make sure all the water is gone. Finally, remove the stems.
  2. Put the prepared chili peppers into a food processor together with the minced garlic cloves and blend well.
  3. Slowly pour in the rice wine vinegar one splash at a time, pulsing the mixture as you go. If you feel the mixture is still a little thick for your liking by the time all the vinegar is gone, feel free to add in more until it has the consistency you want.
  4. Add the sugar, a tiny bit of salt, and the fish sauce. Be careful not to add too much salt at this stage as the fish sauce is super salty as it is, and you don't want to overpower the flavors. Pulse several times to make sure everything is evenly mixed through.
  5. Try your sauce and add whatever you feel it needs. Could it use more heat for your palette? Is it salty enough? Do you want to add in an additional ingredient such as lime juice or garlic? Now is the time to get creative!


  • You don't necessarily need to mince the garlic if you are pressed for time. If you are trying to cut down, just throw the cloves in whole. I usually mince beforehand to release the oils and get the most out of the garlic flavor.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 28Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

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