The Very Best Peanut Sauce Recipe - Skillful Cook
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The Very Best Peanut Sauce

68 reviews / 4.2 average

The Very Best Peanut Sauce! Smooth, drizzle-able, garlicky, and gingery with a good spicy sesame kick. Perfect for noodles, salads, protein, or as a dipping sauce!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for... easy delicious sauces for summer!



Let's get real for a second. When it's summer and you're grilling more and going to the farmer's market sometimes and getting gifted things from neighbors gardens or CSA boxes, sometimes “regular meal prep” doesn't cut it. Sometimes what you really need is just a good sauce or two to get you through the week - be it for dipping, drizzling, salading, spreading, or dunking with all your freshly grilled, roasted, or chopped up summery stuff.

Enter: the very best peanut sauce!

Peanut sauce on tofu with rice and veggies.

This peanut sauce. Wow oh wow oh wow.

It * is * the * very * best. Did I already say that?

This peanut sauce has been around the block a few times here on Skillful Cook - it started with these zoodles, re-purposed its way into these firecracker lettuce wraps, and resurfaced briefly for a dressing application in that quinoa crunch salad. Over the last few years it has become THE ESSENTIAL PEANUT SAUCE of this blog and/or my life.

What's different about it from normal peanut sauce:

  • It's smooth and drizzle-able.
  • No, but seriously. This is important. It's NOT thick and gloppy. No peanut sauce glops allowed!
  • It uses fresh garlic and ginger, yes, but most notably, it features a hefty pour of sesame oil! which makes the flavor, well, the very best.

Everybody goes in:

Peanut sauce ingredients in a food processor.

And the very best peanut sauce comes out:

Peanut sauce blended in a food processor.

Ways I love to use this sauce:

  • Noodles
  • Rice Bowls
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Sauteed Tofu
  • Salad Dressing
  • Dipping Sauce

Just try throwing some in a skillet with some chicken or tofu for a little trick. The way it gets browned and crispy and beautiful (like what's in the pictures here)?

YES. You are right to think that it's life-changing.

Drizzling peanut sauce on rice bowl.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Peanut Sauce:

Print
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Creamy peanut sauce in a bowl with a spoon.

The Very Best Peanut Sauce


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups (6 servings - 1/4 cup each) 1x

Description

The Very Best Peanut Sauce! Smooth, drizzle-able, garlicky, and gingery with a good spicy sesame kick. Perfect for noodles, salads, protein, or as a dipping sauce!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (toasted or dark)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek or chili paste (this is where the “spicy” comes in, so add to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar, honey, or agave
  • a small knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • a clove of fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup of water

Instructions

  1. Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a small blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  2. Find everything in your house that can be dunked in this ridiculously good sauce and then get to work.

Notes

VEGAN: No adaptations needed.

GLUTEN FREE: Use tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.

SUB FOR PB: You can use almond butter! It's delicious.

FREEZABLE: Yes!

KEEPS IN THE FRIDGE: About 1 week.

CAN I SKIP THE SUGAR: Sure. I prefer it with sugar but you can skip it.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired

Keywords: peanut sauce, thai peanut sauce, easy peanut sauce


Drizzle This Peanut Sauce On:

Spicy Sesame Zoodles

Sesame Zoodles wiht Tofu in a bowl.

Firecracker Vegan Lettuce Wraps

Vegan Lettuce Wraps on table.

Quinoa Crunch Salad

A colorful mix of veggies and quinoa in a bowl with peanut dressing and cashews.

Crispy Tofu

Pieces of tofu cooked with peanut sauce.

One More Thing!

19 sauces that make everything better.

This recipe is part of our Sauces That Make Everything Better roundup. Check it out!

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157 Comments

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sounds super tasty! Thanks for the recipe. Do you think instead of classical Chili paste gochujang would work as well? I was thinking the Smokey flavour might complement the peanuts well.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    LOVE this!! You wont believe the first time I had a savoury peanut butter sauce was – when I tried your recipe for soba noodle salad. I have lost count of how many times I have made that for dinner!! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I agree that this is absolutely the best peanut sauce! Adding a squeeze of lime juice makes it extra good.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sorry, but this is but a very pale imitation of the best Chinese Peanut Sauce by Nina Simond. Published under the Rainbow Noodles recipe in Asian Noodles, also on the internet, this is wildly delicious, piquant, and better than sex. I generally enjoy your recipes, but you struck out this time.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We all have different taste buds- Just because you didn’t care for it, doesn’t mean she will strike out for the rest of us. It looks delicious to me!!! yum!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Are you advertising your own blog post under this recipe?! The recipe you cite has almost the exact same ingredients…people on the internet 😮

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Three is no link to or mention of her blog. Additionally, while the ingredients are mostly the same, the differences are crucial. Chinese black vinegar in place of a sweet rice vinegar, much more garlic, and the addition of Serrano chili can make a big difference in flavor. Personally, I think both versions look delicious and I can’t wait to try them.

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          This is what ChatGPT told me 🙂

          The difference in taste between the two recipes for peanut sauce can be attributed to the type of vinegar used. Each vinegar imparts its unique flavor profile, which will affect the overall taste of the sauce.

          Rice vinegar: It is a mild, slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice. This vinegar has a subtle, delicate flavor, which can brighten the peanut sauce without overpowering it. Using rice vinegar in the recipe will result in a lighter, more balanced sauce that allows the peanut flavor to shine through.

          Chinese black vinegar: This vinegar, also known as Chinkiang vinegar, is made from fermented grains such as rice, wheat, and millet. It has a complex, rich, and slightly smoky flavor. Using Chinese black vinegar in the peanut sauce will result in a deeper, more robust flavor profile with a hint of smokiness.

          Worcestershire sauce: This is a fermented sauce made from ingredients like vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, and various spices. It has a tangy, savory, and slightly sweet taste with a hint of umami. Using Worcestershire sauce in place of Chinese black vinegar will also result in a more robust sauce, but with a different flavor profile, adding a unique savory and tangy twist to the peanut sauce.

          In summary, using rice vinegar will give you a lighter, more delicate peanut sauce, while using Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce will result in a bolder, more complex sauce with different flavor nuances. Your choice should depend on your personal taste preferences and the specific dish you’re using the sauce for.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    This peanut sauce looks incredible!! I’d love it on rice noodles 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Alia,

      Would you happen by chance to have a YouTube video of what your rainbow rolls look like? 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks so yummy! I was wondering what you could substitute for the chili paste. Unfortunately, I am allergic to corn and most of the time distilled vinegar comes from corn 😞and I haven’t found a chili paste yet that doesn’t have distilled vinegar or that uses another type of vinegar. Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Ashley,
      You can leave out the chili paste and it still tastes great. I do this all the time because I am allergic to the nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant).

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Which kind of peanut butter is used? The picture looks like natural peanut butter, the one that has the layer of oil at the top. Just making sure since natural PB has much less sugar and a different texture than the typical Jiffy variety. Excited to try the recipe!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        When you say “standard” peanut butter, do you mean JIF or KRAFT or Skippy (with added sugar & other ingredients), or do you suggest all natural PB without any added ingredients (peanuts and salt only)? I think the type of PB makes all the difference. Thanks!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi!! I was wondering if you used toasted sesame oil or plain sesame oil. I normally use toasted but I wasn’t sure if you thought 1/3 cup of toasted sesame oil would be too overwhelming.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this yesterday. Pretty darn good. Tip – be sure and use LOW SODIUM soy sauce as stated in the recipe. I did not and it came out way too salty. Prolly should’ve cut the SS with some water.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I really want to make this right now! Have you tried it using dried ginger? I’m all out of fresh!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    thank you for letting me know this is freezable! It is nice not to have to experiment. I just discovered a brilliant idea, I use a bistro chalk marker–erases with water–to mark the date contents of my dressings and sauces. I think I will use it on freezer items too and write on the front of the freezer (in the garage) what yummy things are inside. thank you!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Peanut sauce is the BEST type of Vietnamese/Thai sauce there is. Hands down. Fish sauce better watch its back. But anyways, my friend always told me that the secret to the best peanut sauce entail nailing the ratios every single time. Peanut butter, soy sauce, everything. This looks like such a killer recipe and I am certain it is one of the best out there!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was super yummy! I used it with some pan-sauteed tofu (gotta practice making it crispier!)
    Bet it’d be awesome with chicken too!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      If you coat the tofu in some cornstarch first it will come out crispier. Just make sure you’ve pressed as much water out of it as possible. Set a plate with something heavier on top of it and set that on another plate or I use my cutting board because it has a rim that will catch the extra water.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is the first recipe I tried, and I didn’t even do a good job. I was making tilapia bowls and I usually make a sriracha cream sauce for the top. But…somebody cleared out the sriracha, so I had to find a quick backup. I didn’t have any rice vinegar or chili paste, so I used water instead. It was still killer, bowl licking yummy. Can’t wait to try the recipe as written, at least once a week!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Came here to fix a peanut sauce recipe I found off another blog (one of the first google search results). Added the rice vinegar and sesame oil, what a difference they make! Will def check here for everything first now, haha.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can confirm- this is THE VERY BEST peanut sauce! I didn’t add sugar because my pb already had sugar in it. Otherwise made as directed–and it was perfect!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m sorry to say this didn’t do it for me. It’s missing something or the quantities are not right. I feel bad saying that but it’s what I think.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    What food processor do use? I have been looking for one and it seems like yours works great!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    There’s 2 kinds of peanut sauce I’ve had: one is the amazing sweet kind they have at Thai restraints & one is that stuff out of the bottle that sucks. This is the recipe for the kind out of the bottle. 🙁