Asian Style Sweet Chile Sauce

Serving 1 Cup | Prep & Cook Time 15 Min

Serving 1 Cup | Prep & Cook Time 15 Min


  1. Combine 1/2 cup water, the rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and chile flakes in a small sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a cup or small bowl, make a slurry of the cornstarch and 1/8 cup water.
  4. After simmering the sauce for 5 minutes, slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry.  Bring the sauce to a boil and boil gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  If the sauce isn’t as thick as you want, boil for another minute.

The recipe for Asian sweet chile sauce below makes just short of a cup of sauce, is less sweet, and thinner than what I buy.  I find the store bought sauce too thick for my needs so I’m always adding water to thin it.  If you like yours thicker, then just add an additional teaspoon of cornstarch to the recipe below.

So far, I’ve made this Asian sweet chile sauce using three different blends of chile flakes.  Each batch yielded a slightly different flavor and color.  Darker chile flakes like chipotle, made a darker, almost brown sauce even though I used only a few flakes.  The flavor was nice, but not what I was going for.  Aleppo flakes with urfa biber was a nice combination with a great flavor but didn’t provide enough of a spicy kick.  I think a chile pequin or Bird’s eye chile would have taken it from great to wonderful.  My favorite batch was with hot New Mexico red chile and a chile de arbol, but then I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you at all. 🙂 So if you have some chile flakes or dried chile pods in your pantry, you could be making this sweet and spicy chile sauce right now.


  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed, minced
  • 1 ½ – 2 teaspoon red chile flakes*
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 ½ – 2 teaspoon cornstarch*

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Esmeralda Ruiz